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French government considering new anti-piracy measures

By | Published on Monday 12 April 2021


New anti-piracy proposals were shared by the French government last week which could see the creation of a new blacklist that would seek to ensure piracy operations are not listed in search engines and would also struggle to sell advertising in the country.

Other proposed measures seek to tackle proxies that help people circumvent blocked websites, and to shut down unlicensed live streams, particularly of sporting events.

When the music industry was in the midst of its high profile battle against online piracy – and in particular P2P file-sharing – in the 2000s, lawmakers in France were among the first to introduce a graduated response system. That meant that individual web-users who shared content online without licence would receive increasingly stern warning letters with the ultimate sanction of having their internet access disconnected.

That anti-piracy system – and the government agency set up to run it, Hadopi – proved to be pretty controversial. Though, in the end, the most draconian sanctions for those that ignored the official warnings from the piracy police were rarely used.

More than a decade on, online copyright infringement has evolved, and the music industry in particular talks a lot less about its piracy woes. This means that the piracy conversation in political circles is now led more by the TV, movie and sporting sectors, something seen in another new proposal in France, that the aforementioned Hadopi be merged with the country’s broadcasting regulator the Higher Audiovisual Council.

That said, the music industry remains a big supporter of web-blocking, whereby internet service providers are forced to block access to piracy websites, and will definitely support any moves that make it harder to circumvent such blockades, and which pressure search engines to also stop linking to blocked sites.

The new anti-piracy proposals were presented to France’s Council Of Ministers last week, and will soon head to the country’s Parliament for scrutiny and debate.