A ‘three-strikes’ anti-piracy policy advocated by both the French and UK Governments was rejected in a majority vote by members of the European Parliament.
The proposed three strikes system aims to take away the right to internet access from those suspected of illegally downloading copyright material. The initiative would involve the participation of internet service providers (ISPs), which would be required to monitor user activity for excessive use of peer-to-peer file sharing sites or services, among others.
Current Irish law already requires ISPs in this country to store basic internet activity such as log-on and log-off times and email sent and received for possibly up to two years.
Although purely symbolic and in no way legislative, this vote in the European Parliament reflected the majority view of EU member countries that the ‘three strikes’ system is an infringement of both personal privacy and human rights.
A report presented to the European Parliament last Wednesday by French socialist Guy Bono stated that IP rules need a rethink in the face of digital piracy.
“Criminalising consumers who are not seeking to make a profit is not the right solution to combat digital piracy,” said Bono.
Meanwhile, the French Government plans to go ahead with its own three strikes law which provisionally will be introduced in May 2008 and has the co-operation not only of ISPs but also of the record industry.
The proposed law would involve the suspected pirate receiving a warning email, followed by account suspension and finally account termination.
By Marie Boran