The debate on the French "Creation and Internet" law has resumed at the National Assembly in Paris, after the bill was surprisingly rejected by deputies on April 9.

The draft law, which features a three-strike scheme to tackle illegal downloading, returned to Assembly today (April 29) and will continue to be debated and potentially amended by the Assembly and then the Senate. The ruling UMP party will mobilize its deputies to make sure it is not caught out during any vote by the opposition Socialist Party, as occurred on April 9.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who personally initiated the law and was reportedly infuriated by its rejection, said he expected the law to be adopted by May 14.

The vote will occur in a tense climate, with the bill's initial rejection giving strength to its opponents. Socialist and even some UMP deputies consider the law ineffective and damaging to public liberties.

The draft is also not in accord with a recent vote in the European Parliament, which re-introduced on April 21 an amendment in the telecoms package stating, "No restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users without a prior ruling of the judicial authorities... save when public security is threatened, in which case the ruling may be subsequent."

While this is being described as the end of the three-strikes scheme by MEP Guy Bono, who authored the European amendment, the French government claims it will not impact the "Internet and creation" law.

Meanwhile, a group of publishers, music and movie producers has supported the French government proposal by sending a public letter to the Socialist Party, which reads, "We feel the Socialist Party... decided to turn their back on the creative world and the industries of culture."

In a statement, independent labels body UPFI called for the French Parliament not get to "abused by those who brandish a threat on liberties in front of a text which is mainly educational, preventive and dissuasive."

Support for the law also came from the U.S., with the National Board of the Directors Guild of America having "unanimously passed a resolution in support of France's 'Creation and Internet' law, which seeks to combat the growing problem of digital piracy through an education and warning system that would ultimately result in a temporary discontinuation of Internet service for those people who repeatedly upload or download content illegally."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print