France's Online Activists Black-Out In Three-Strikes Law Protest

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After the New Zealand government dropped plans to force ISPs to cut off repeat piracy offenders following a mass campaign via social networking sites, France’s online activists are trying the same thing in face of a similar proposal.

The country’s National Assembly is considering a “graduated response” law that would cut off users for a year after their third recorded online copyright infringement. As Business Week reports, tens of thousands of websites and users have joined a “black-out” by changing their web pages or personal avatars to black in a protest organised by civil liberties group La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net).

The legislation has already been passed in the French Senate with a landslide majority of 297 to 15, though it faces greater opposition in the lower house particularly from opposition Socialists. The law was debated last Thursday and is likely to come back before the Assembly at the end of the month or early April. The European Parliament last year voted for legislation that would force ISPs to go to court before cutting off customers, but there’s little yet stopping France proceeding with its own, domestic three strikes law.

Supporters across the world joined the New Zealand black-out protest on Facebook, Bebo and Twitter and the legislation was delayed until March 27 — though the country’s Prime Minister said the law was delayed not because of people power but because it was badly drafted and because ISPs couldn’t agree on a voluntary code on how to deal with offenders in time (via Much to the annoyance of the music industry, the law may not be implemented at all if a voluntary code can’t be agreed. Meanwhile Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has added its considerable weight to the New Zealand row by opposing the copyright law in a strongly-worded document (pdf) (via

The search giant says the law “puts users

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stop STEALING music. let them black out their pages I don't want to see them anyway.

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