The music industry has voiced its approval after the French Senate adopted the “Creation and Internet” law by 189 votes in favor and 14 against. In the vote today (May 13), the Senate did not amend the draft voted by the National Assembly yesterday, thus ending the process in both Assemblies.
The law includes the implementing of a three-strikes scheme under which an independent administrative authority – called HADOPI – would be entitled to collect infringers’ data from their Internet Service Providers as requested by artists’ collecting societies, and other organizations representing rights holders, and to ultimately have their Internet access cut from two months to a year.
The law was largely welcomed by the music business – and there were signs of relief after 18 months of intense debate surrounding the controversial proposals.
In a statement issued today, labels trade body Snep expressed its “deep satisfaction” and thanked all the artists, music professionals and politicians who supported the law, starting with President Nicolas Sarkozy, who initiated it.
In a separate statement, French authors, composers and publishers society Sacem’s management board CEO and chairman Bernard Miyet said, “This law was long-awaited by authors and is welcome progress after years of laisser-faire.”
Speaking with Billboard.biz, Miyet said that once the law is implemented, “We will be able to see very quickly whether it has any impact on Internet users’ behavior and on the growth of legal services,” stating that it should enable the development of services which don’t undervalue the music price per unit.
Independent labels body UPFI greeted the law as an important milestone in the regulation of the Internet. “The law is a key measure of the rescue plan put in place by the government for the music industry,” said a statement issued today.
The three organizations are calling for the three-strikes scheme to be applicable without delay.
However, opponents of the law have already announced they would challenge it in front of the Constitutional Council, which has the power to rule out any parts it considers in violation of the French constitution. The council has one month to make its decision.
While very cautious, given the tense debates around the law, Snep director general Hervé Rony estimates that the bill – including any Constitutional Council potential amendments – should be effectively implemented into law by July. The government will then have to issue the decrees of application; key decrees are reported to have already been written, in response to the government’s will to act fast.
On Tuesday, UMP deputy Franck Riester, who carried the draft in front of the Assembly, said he expected the law to be applicable by this fall.
The HADOPI law is likely to face another political challenge, though, after the European Parliament reinstated on May 6 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.”
In a statement issued yesterday, Socialist French European deputy Guy Bono, who co-carried this amendment, said: “the [ruling] majority keeps pushing for a bill that they know will be in contradiction with the Community law.”
While the amendment has yet to be included in the final telecom package, several voices have stated that even if it does it will not have a direct legal impact on French law. “I have no indications about violations of European Community law in the French measure,” EC Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding was quoted by AFP.