France set to cut off Internet access for file sharing

Per the BBC:

Is this a better approach to suing individuals and trying to scare the populace away from sharing? Is it overkill (akin to suspending the driving licenses of anyone who drove to/from a crime)? The article suggested that Sweden was on similar path (though it mentioned no details) — is this the next major push from the RIAA? Could something similar be enacted here?

I’m a bit stunned at what I consider a rather Draconian measure. While I’m not sure how things should shake out in a post P2P world, Internet access has become such an inherent part of day-to-day living that cutting it off seems a punishment far beyond the crime. Yes, file sharing—in aggregate—has a high cost, but the individual is not imposing that overall cost. Shoplifting too costs the retail industry (and the public via prices) a sizeable amount of money, but the penalties for petty theft still relate to the value of the merchandise. There are exceptions, of course (e.g., organizers of a theft ring, “shoplifting” a diamond ring), but overall the punishment generally matches the level of the individual crime.

(Oh, I’m perfectly aware that bajillions of people go about their day without ever accessing the Internet. I’m also perfectly aware that the Amish exist in a relatively technology-free world. That doesn’t mean that imposing a sentence that restricts someone to pre-industrial technology isn’t harsh.)

Sweden is notorious for hosting a slew of torrent sites, the most (in)famous being piratebay. The reasons are, among others, a high number of Internet users (over six million accounts in a country with six million households), a high percentage of broad band users shopping on a very competitive market which keeps prices low (a friend has 100 MB up and down for $20 a month with fixed IP, his condocomplex opted for fiber early).
Another, more important reason, is that there was a court case a couple of years back, where an uploader of a movie produced in Sweden was sentenced to a fine. That made it effectively a misdemeanor (sp?) and since then, cops can’t be bothered if movie or record companies file a complaint.

The new proposed law says that media companies may record logs of activity, go to court and demand to know the identity of the user of an IP number. The legal problem so far is that the defendant, for lack of better word, won’t be in court, having a say in the matter. The bill is up for vote sometime during the second quarter of '09.

Cutting off internet access is not draconian. Cutting off one or more limbs would be draconian. Flogging on the court house steps would be harsh. Amusing, but harsh.

I’m more concerned about the burden imposed on ISPs in what appears to be an unfunded mandate, and the privacy issues raised by requiring an ISP to monitor online activity.

In 15 minutes, there will be a “riot”, consisting of 3 college students, one angst Muslim Youth, and one or 2 French truck drivers/farmers.

The whole French government will be thrown into a tizzy, & back down.

It depends on how much due processes people get. Do you have the right to appeal?
What constitutes the standard of proof that you are actually sharing files that they do not have the right to share? If it is just the record companies saying so then it is terrible. They do not have a good track record of being correct about who is actually sharing what.

Wait, this means I’m going to miss my favorite French soaps? Mon dieu!

So long as we still get access to footage of that one hot French reporter.

For $40 Canadian a month I get, so far as I’ve found, unlimited up/download.

I’m a big fan of “piracy.”

I jokingly tell people that true artists don’t care about money they want their message out and N’Sync types give atrists a bad name so they deserve to get burned.

In reality though I live in a backwoods city and I don’t have tons of cash. Thanks to piracy I’ve been exposed to the work of literaly hundreds of people that I otherwise would not have an opportunity to experience.

Many movies I’ve downloaded I’ve gone on to buy because the movie deserved to be bought. Many times piracy has saved me money on yet another truly shitty movie that Hollywood has decided we’re going to love this year.

I know that this era will soon come to a close but I’m going to miss it, and I know I’ll be the poorer for it.


They’re gonna stop piracy?

Didn’t realize they could crack public key cryptography so easy.

Lemme know when they’ve got the bank of super computers crunching on some guy’s encrypted packets for the film “big butt bonanza 3: the bootilicious chronicles”.

They invent a new sword pirates invent a new shield.

How does public key cryptography allow for easy anonymous downloading of albums from strangers?

It masks your traffic so they don’t know what you’re downloading from strangers.

Here’s an example:

Short version pieces are spread through out the network to mask IP origin and traffic is encrypted to prevent ISPs from snooping. It’s goal is to facilitate free speech.

Then there’s old fashioned methods of making “friends” with people with large “collections” of files, or changing your mac address and going to a public internet access point.

Piracy isn’t going away. The French might as well try moving Everest one pebble at a time.

But how do you know what you’re downloading?

Another detail that’s missing from the report is how long the sentence lasts for. Lifetime? One year? Ten?

Like I said in the OP, there are plenty of Amish around who would agree that cutting off Internet access isn’t exactly crippling. But as the net becomes more and more plugged in (it’s still in its infancy) living without it is going to be socially more difficult.

I also don’t know how they’d implement it against one member of the family – say a teen – who uses the house computer. The whole house loses connection until the kid moves out?

I think what bothers me the most (trying to figure out why the equivalent of a parental grounding seems so off) is that in essence it restricts access to information. Of course there was information before the Internet, but the idea of a government cutting someone off from that source strikes me as a severe punishment.

This is just nonsensical political posturing. It stems from someone in government either not understanding the issues, or desiring to be seen to be doing something (even though they know it will make no difference).

I’m strongly in favour of protecting intellectual property rights, and as a publisher myself I know what it’s like to be cheated and ripped off by piracy. However, I live in the real world, and I know that trying to devise ways to prevent illegal file-sharing is like trying to disinvent the internet. You can put up newer, stronger and higher walls, but the pirates just relish the challenge of finding newer, stronger and taller ladders (or battering rams).

In the end, the best protection against piracy is to produce good quality material that people feel is fairly priced - if you do this, most people most of the time will choose to pay, even if they obtained a free/illegal preview. A common refrain heard around the internet is “yeah, I downloaded it for free but I liked it so much I then bought the album / DVD / TV series / whatever”.

And as others have said, for the movie industry to start preaching to the rest of us about honesty is a bit rich. I don’t condone any form of piracy at all, but I can understand why some people think ‘try before you buy’ is a safeguard against buying what turns out to be a pile of dreck.

As the only actual pirate living in France who has replied to this thread let me tell you that this isn’t just political posturing. It’ll certainly take sometime to get everything in place but with 100Mb fiber connections becoming available to most of the major cities this decision has taken about 2 years to be reached involving all the major operators.

People will receive a first warning if its found that they are sharing (not downloading) copyright material. Should they continue and have their access removed they won’t lose everything though as the law states that they can keep e-mail access.

The problem is that young people in France aren’t going to wait up to 12 months to see the new series of Lost in French when they can download a torrent version with subtitles hours after the US release.

From 1 month to 1 year - during which the pirate must continue to pay monthly fees on their current contract and the pirate is blacklisted to prevent switching to other Internet providers.

Yes, you can appeal but the deconnection process continues during the appeal. One problem will be that the police won’t have to indicate which files if any they detected that you were downloading.

Another problem I can foresee with this is that trojans and botnets will surely be used to share files over someone else’s connection without them knowing. This isn’t the way to fix things.

So release it in France at the same time and price.

That is not really how they find out if you are sharing files. What the copy right cops do is get on the filesharing networks and start downloading files. They then see where those files are coming from. Then they send a notice to whomever saying this IP address is sharing files. If I can share my file with anonymous strangers I have no way of telling if it is the copyright police of just some dude who want the new fresh sounds of today. They are acting just like a nomal peer on the network so they have the publicly shared keys.

Yea I was imprecise in my response. Check the data in the wiki link on freenet in my follow up post.

The way the network works is you have a share on your computer (or node) with (typically) 10 gigs of network data. When a file or webpage is shared it’s injected into the network over a encrypted connection. Pieces of the file are put on random nodes through out the network. Each node’s share is also encrypted in a way it’s impossible to know what a user is sharing without the keys. Only someone looking to get a file has the keys to the missing pieces.

Thus you can download files without knowing who shared them, what you’re sharing, or them knowing what you’re personally downloading.

It’s pretty clever.

All anyone has to do to avoid the penalty is simply not steal copyrighted material.
The pirates have no right to do what they are doing.

Couldn’t use that logic to justify any punishment? “don’t wanna have your balls bit off by Doberman don’t jay walk!” It’s hyperboyle but it’s the same logic.

The punishment has to fit the crime.

Computers have security holes, and it’s common past time among some crowds to scan for vulnerable computers and install zombie programs to host files.

Are you okay with a severe punishments because Microsoft dropped the ball and didn’t send out a patch in time?