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French Court Levies First Fine Under 3-Strikes Piracy Law

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 13, 2012 @04:46PM (#41327845)

    Apparently in France, it is a man's responsibility to police the behavior of his wife. After all, women are property.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 13, 2012 @05:00PM (#41328085)

      According to the 3-strike law, it's the responsibility of one who signs a contract for internet access contract to make sure that his/her computer cannot be used to breach law. The lady will not be fined because it's just too difficult for the Court to prove she downloaded the file (and not a neighbour or a relative on a visit). But the guy can be fined, because the contract was in his name, and it can be proven that his connection was used to download a song illegally.

      • because it's just too difficult for the Court to prove she downloaded the file (and not a neighbour or a relative on a visit).

        Yeah, due process is pretty hard. Why don't we just get rid of all of it? Just throw people in prison based on mere accusations.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        According to the article, his wife admitted to downloading the two songs, and even gave the court (a police tribunal actually) a written statement saying so.

  • Good job France! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dyingtolive (1393037) <brad,arnett&notforhire,org> on Thursday September 13, 2012 @04:46PM (#41327849)
    France, out of nowhere, is suddenly showing surprising competitiveness in the "Passing dumbass laws so the rest of the world can see what a bad idea they are" department.
    • Re:Good job France! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2 @ a n t h o n y m clin.com> on Thursday September 13, 2012 @04:52PM (#41327955) Homepage

      What do you mean "out of nowhere"? France was the first country to pass 3-strike laws for copyright violations and has been pushing this crap for years. /. covered this extensively 4 years ago... [slashdot.org] and I'm pretty sure it was on here even before that, but I'm too lazy to do more Googling.

      I'm just surprised it's taken them this long to enforce the law.

      • Well, yeah, but the lack of enforcement up to this point left me kind of assuming (hoping) it was just an empty platitude.
      • by rtb61 (674572)

        It was that little slug Sarkozy getting blow jobs from his RIAA/MPAA wife foe legislation. Don't be surprised if the law isn't revised to death before too long. He would keep trying to force the law through and it was continually knocked back by the government, until the very end.

        Obviously the law is corrupt as it requires the level of expertise equal to degree in computer science with security experience to truly effectively defend against, rather than something the general user has any hope of managing

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @05:01PM (#41328097)

      France, out of nowhere, is suddenly showing surprising competitiveness in the "Passing dumbass laws so the rest of the world can see what a bad idea they are" department.

      A lot less dumbass than elsewhere: 150 euros is a slap on the wrist. I bet speeding tickets go for more. This is downright enlightened by G20 standards. In the United States, people get thrown in jail, or face hundred thousand dollar fines -- thus ensuring permanent poverty for life.

      • Please show me the US case where someone has been thrown in jail for downloading music or videos. (Except, of course, videos that are criminal to own, like child porn.)

        • Re:Good job France! (Score:4, Informative)

          by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @05:43PM (#41328655)

          Please show me the US case where someone has been thrown in jail for downloading music or videos. (Except, of course, videos that are criminal to own, like child porn.)

          They don't, not directly. What they do is get a judgement against you. Then the debtor repeatedly files motions to have you appear in court, which when they have a judgement against you, they can do, so the judge can assess your income, pay back plan, etc. The key word here is repeatedly, sometimes several times a month. Since these judgements are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, there's no hope for them to repay it. And as you might imagine, when you have an appointment two or more times a month for the rest of your life, sooner or later circumstances are going to arise where you miss your court date.

          And that is when you go to jail: For failing to appear, or contempt of court. The sentence in either is indeterminate; An increasing number of jurisdictions have laws in place saying you can't get out of jail until you repay any legally owed debts -- statutes originally intended to repay victims of actual crime, not civil cases. So you do forced labor, at minimum wage, in jail.

          God Bless America.

          • by DM9290 (797337)

            Please show me the US case where someone has been thrown in jail for downloading music or videos. (Except, of course, videos that are criminal to own, like child porn.)

            They don't, not directly. What they do is get a judgement against you. Then the debtor repeatedly files motions to have you appear in court, which when they have a judgement against you, they can do, so the judge can assess your income, pay back plan, etc. The key word here is repeatedly, sometimes several times a month. Since these judgements are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, there's no hope for them to repay it. And as you might imagine, when you have an appointment two or more times a month for the rest of your life, sooner or later circumstances are going to arise where you miss your court date.

            And that is when you go to jail: For failing to appear, or contempt of court. The sentence in either is indeterminate; An increasing number of jurisdictions have laws in place saying you can't get out of jail until you repay any legally owed debts -- statutes originally intended to repay victims of actual crime, not civil cases. So you do forced labor, at minimum wage, in jail.

            God Bless America.

            can you cite the case where this happened? it sounds a bit fishy to me. there is something called 'abuse of process'.

          • by niado (1650369)

            An increasing number of jurisdictions have laws in place saying you can't get out of jail until you repay any legally owed debts -- statutes originally intended to repay victims of actual crime, not civil cases. So you do forced labor, at minimum wage, in jail.

            I'm going with citation needed here...a quick googling only picked up one anecdotal instance of a judge sentencing someone to indefinite incarceration until he could raise a payment. This is obviously a questionable ruling but so was the source, which provided very little detail of the case.

            I can't find evidence of laws such as you describe in any US jurisdiction.

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              There have been a number of them, but the one that shows up most is where a person was jailed for contempt. He owed his ex lots of money, and claimed he lost it all. He was held in contempt for years, waiting for him to produce either the money or proof of where it went. The court didn't accept the assertion that he didn't keep receipts for so much money lost (and filed inaccurate IRS reports regarding the money as well).

              But not for a copyright case.
        • by Joce640k (829181)

          Why would they throw you in jail? Dragging you through the court system for years is far worse. Jail is easy time compared to that.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Except he got it for failing to "secure" his internet connection, not for copyright infringement. Imagine you're a building owner renting out the apartment to tenants with internet connection. They download, you get fined. That level of indirection is a new level of stupid.

      • France, out of nowhere, is suddenly showing surprising competitiveness in the "Passing dumbass laws so the rest of the world can see what a bad idea they are" department.

        A lot less dumbass than elsewhere: 150 euros is a slap on the wrist.

        Well, that doesn't make the law any less dumb. In theory, the fine can be ten times that, and can be accompanied with a one month suspension of internet access.

        Now, courts can't just ignore the law, but it just so happens that they have a lot of leeway about the effective penalty they pronounce (to the point that, very rarely, a person can be condemned without penalty). This is a case of the courts, not the law, being reasonable.

        Maybe the current government, too: the procureur (prosecuting magistrate) requi

      • by manu0601 (2221348)

        A lot less dumbass than elsewhere: 150 euros is a slap on the wrist.

        Tell that to someone that earns about 1000 euros a month...

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @05:18PM (#41328299) Homepage Journal

      France, out of nowhere, is suddenly showing surprising competitiveness in the "Passing dumbass laws so the rest of the world can see what a bad idea they are" department.

      doesn't sound quite as dumbass as fining him 2 345 423 dollars for it.

      150e doesn't cover the expenses generated by the proceedings though.. so I guess it's true french.

      • by Hentes (2461350)

        Neither does sentencing a murderer to jail. The point in both cases is deterrence.

      • by aaribaud (585182)

        150e doesn't cover the expenses generated by the proceedings though.. so I guess it's true french.

        Well, this is assuming that EUR 150 is all he'll have to pay.

        However, in France (just like in many other places and possibly even yours), the losing side of the trial may have to pay a fine (here, the 150 euros), but also bears the costs of the trial, or "dépens"), which I think are the proceeds you are speaking of.

        So I guess it (meaning your comment) is true... lacking in the fact-checking department. :)

        Hope this (meaning my explanation) helps, if ever so slightly, a lessening of broad-prejudice-bas

    • And not 2 bajillon dollar as it would be in the US.
  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Thursday September 13, 2012 @04:53PM (#41327975)

    Either marriage is very different in France or this is a bizarre ruling.

    • The law will punish who it likes and however much it likes. It doesn't matter out tortuously or illogically the law needs to be interpreted, it only matters who the defendant managed to piss off.

    • Either marriage is very different in France or this is a bizarre ruling.

      Er, both? In France, marriage is a private affair between the husband, the wife, and the personal trainer. And it's a bizarre ruling because nobody went to jail or had their lives ruined... which is common in both french marriages and file sharing cases.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      It's a mistranslation. The actual term is more closely translated to "domestic partner."

      The tell-tale sign is that they had been properly married, the man would have been fined $10,000 per song instead of a measly $150.

    • by godrik (1287354)

      I just read the story in a french newspaper. They are in divorce.

  • by julian67 (1022593) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @05:06PM (#41328155)

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/09/11/1740241/8th-circuit-upholds-220000-verdict-in-jammie-thomas-case [slashdot.org]

    In the USA it's $9250 per song. In France it's â75 ($190 US) per song.

    The penalty in France seems to me to be proportionate and sane. The person penalized did, or allowed to be done, something illegal but not especially malicious or very damaging. They face a penalty which will certainly be unwelcome and which will probably encourage them to act within the law. No huge court case, no lives wrecked, no lawyers riding the gravy train. *This is how a legal system is supposed to be.* That is the difference between "The Rule of Law" and "The Rule of Lawyers".

    • by Alan Shutko (5101) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @05:13PM (#41328245) Homepage

      Well, behaving within the law means the guy turned off his broadband completely. Needing to defend your home broadband against members of your family is crazy.

    • Until you've accidentally left a drive open containing your legitimate collection of 5,000 MP3s amassed over the last decade.

      We cannot excuse stupid laws by being hopeful that the sentence is lenient, or that the executive may have mercy.

      As to lawyers... while I do speak as someone with some legal education, if you honestly don't think you can get anywhere representing yourself then a lawyer's lied to you. (And, as you may be able to tell, having representation may not get you any further - indeed, it'll on

      • by niado (1650369)
        From what I can tell (IANAL, and am particularly unfamiliar with French law) this 3-strikes thing is not a 'per-song' deal. It's just a somewhat flat fine for failing to sufficiently police your internet connection. Pretty interesting concept, actually.
        • English familiarity, here, though US not wildly different. I know very little French beyond what's common to EU law - if you are right, it is interesting! though it would also be necessary to see whether French law admits multiple counts of the same offence spaced apart in time...

      • by julian67 (1022593)

        "accidentally left a drive open"????

        I use p2p applications such as bittorrent (Transmission and rtorrent clients) and ed2k (aMule). Since the demise of Kazaa and similar there hasn't really been a circumstance where the p2p user might have "accidentally left a drive open". If I get caught I will be pissed off but I won't really have a right to complain if the penalty is proportionate.

        I didn't make any claims about self representation, so your attempt to take me to task for this is a straw man argument.

        The

        • there hasn't really been a circumstance where the p2p user might have "accidentally left a drive open"

          Windows share? NFS? FTP? Vulnerable machine, perhaps not updated properly? We're assuming someone borrowing yer wireless, yes? It sounds like you're saying that there is no way a home user could leave files available to anyone within 100 metres unless he tries, and that just ain't so.

          I didn't make any claims about self representation, so your attempt to take me to task for this is a straw man argument.

          You are unnecessarily confrontational. I was making a general point that people should not feel helpless when confronting the law.

          Having said that, conspiracies about a gravy train for lawyers just disempower the individual. It

          • by julian67 (1022593)

            "Windows share? NFS? FTP?"

            Making these shared is a deliberate act.

            "Vulnerable machine, perhaps not updated properly?"

            That would be negligent. If I fail to maintain my vehicle and I crash it into your garden fence because the brakes failed I am still responsible. I can try "I forgot to check the brakes work" as a reason/excuse in the correspondence with the insurance company but it is doomed to failure, along with "the dog ate my homework" and "it was my twin" and "I thought the fence was communal propert

            • Making these shared is a deliberate act.

              Or maybe you misconfigured your server, or forgot that you had shared a folder which you later use for storage. Maybe you chose a password so obvious that it is effectively null, not thinking/knowing that a stranger could access your local network.

              That would be negligent.

              And you had said:

              there hasn't really been a circumstance where the p2p user might have "accidentally left a drive open".

              To clarify in English law: intent requires the outcome to have been your purpose in doing whatever. What you might be describing is subjective recklessness, i.e. you do something even though you are aware of a risk of the outcome. For example, if

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            You must "accidentally" leave open your wireless, as well as "accidentally" leave open an unsecured file share. It's an absurd assertion, and one not related to Internet file sharing, as you are talking about local shares, not Internet sharing, the *only* thing being talked about in the article.
            • No it isn't. Stop thinking like a perfect geek.

              • by AK Marc (707885)
                It takes work to make a share. Every WAP I see today in stores comes with encryption on. It takes work to fail so spectacularly in so many ways. The lazy and inept will, by default, have secured wireless and no open shares. It takes work to fail in the manner you suggest. So much so, that it's illegal, just like it's illegal to leave your car running with the keys in it. Stupid and negligent.
                • If by "lazy and inept" you mean "anyone who wants to temporarily give access to a group of other people" or "anyone who finds out that WiFi devices don't always interoperate with all the security turned on" or "anyone who doesn't buy modern equipment first hand" (my WiFi equipment from 10 years ago still works fine), then yes, "lazy and inept".

                  Since we're illegalising lazy and inept, can I bring a private prosecution against you for your lazy, inept argument? I was hoping you had something clever, but it tu

                  • by AK Marc (707885)
                    I mean anyone who goes out of their way to be an illegal idiot. It takes work to break the law. Nobody has to be an expert, but if you "fix" your car to let more people ride in it by modifying the seat to fit 4 rather than 3, it's not surprising when you are fined.

                    There's nothing about needing to be an expert required. Just be able to read the external packaging on a box, and the quick start guide (almost always a single sheet of paper these days, even if it fold out big). OMFG, requiring that someone
                    • if you "fix" your car to let more people ride in it by modifying

                      A WiFi router is not like a car. It is not a deadly box zooming around at 30+ mph. Its usage is not regulated by licence.

                      the quick start guide

                      Never seen a "blaming the victim" section in a manual for a wireless router.

                      OMFG, requiring that someone either know the law

                      Ignorance of the law is not being plead, merely its nitwittedness.

                      Yeah, I hope you hate it, we don't need any more arrogant pricks, we just got rid of Palin to tour the lower 48, and we don't need you coming up to fill the void of ignorance left behi

                      Hey, thanks for showing me how she managed to get elected in the first place.

                      You are a dullard. I shall not be reading any further response.

                    • by AK Marc (707885)

                      Its usage is not regulated by licence.

                      It is regulated by license (FCC), though not in France, as well as contract. It is the contract "license" that is in question.

                      Never seen a "blaming the victim" section in a manual for a wireless router.

                      The "victim" in this is the poor innocent media company who had their valuable works of art stolen by raping and pillaging pirates. When you accuse someone of blaming the victim, you should at least bother to identify the victim first.

                      Ignorance of the law is not being plead, merely its nitwittedness.

                      Yes, I understand you are pleading nitwittedness with every post you make. I can't dispute that. If the person understood the law, and their respon

  • I didn't follow what this three-strikes law is all about very closely but from what I gather from the article it doesn't sound nearly as bad as the crap that goes on over here in the US. You get three warnings and then they slap you with a $150 fine? Sounds way more reasonable than Jammie Thomas getting $80000 per song or whatever. Could someone who knows more be kind enough to explain the issue?
    • by niado (1650369)
      This appears to be an actual fine, not damages awarded in a civil trial. I'm not familiar with the French legal system, but this seems to be similar to a speeding ticket or other semi-trivial fine.
  • Where 100% of the intellectual property rights of the original owners is fully respected within the Louvre.
  • Using the Internet is similar to freedom of speech. Once a man is banned from the Internet, he is silenced.

    Of course, France maybe interested in free speech like the civilized world is.

    The people trying to push censorship on the Internet, try it in the US first, and if it fails there, they try and push it in other countries to see how it could be spread around the world.
  • Now people know that the law is being enforced they will quickly educate themselves on the trivial ways to avoid being caught, which in turn will make it virtually impossible to enforce and will give further evidence to the claim that these three-strikes laws are pointless and ineffective.

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