French government reveals industry sponsored anti-piracy body

Saturday, November 24, 2007

After brokering a deal between record companies, film corporations, internet firms and itself, the French government has unveiled a new anti-piracy body formed to counter what President Nicolas Sarkozy has described as the growing use of the internet as a "lawless zone where outlaws can pillage works with abandon or, worse, trade in them in total impunity".

Internet service providers will be forced to monitor the activities of their clients, and will restrict access for users known to be partaking in file sharing of selected media. In some cases, ISPs will be instructed to either cut off internet access entirely or threaten to do so.

The French consumer group UFC Que Choisir criticised the deal as being "very tough, potentially destructive of freedom, anti-economic and against digital history".

Film companies have agreed to hasten the cinema-to-DVD process as part of their obligations under the deal, and record companies have indicated future support for the sale of Digital Rights Management-free media in their stores.

The body will be supervised by a judge.