These were President Sarkozy’s words this morning as he oversaw the signing of an agreement between the content industries, ISPs and the French government. This agreement is the outcome of the Olivennes commission which was convened earlier this year to look into ways to diminsh online piracy. In Europe this may be looked back on as a defining moment in relationships between ISPs and content industries.
In short the French government is backing the creation of an Administration Authority which on receipt of complaints from content owners (or their chosen administrators) will send messages via ISPs to end users infringing copyright.
First message is a warning to cease infringing activity, second message results in suspension and the third results in the user having their internet account terminated.
The Administration Authority also has the power to sanction ISPs for not acting or to request they implement measures (such as filtering) to prevent further infringing activities.
The quid pro quo? One year after this process is set up and working the labels will ensure French catalogue is available for conventional download store sale without DRM (excepting subscription models I believe). An Online Piracy Observatory (!) will be established to monitor levels of piracy.
For the film companies they will be committing to diminish the release window between cinema screening and release of DVD which, let’s face it, mid-term will be their strategy anyway.
It is important to note that this undertaking draws a distinction between the professional pirate and the casual pirate and applies only to the latter.
Consumer groups, such as UFC-Que Choisir have spoken out against this, and it is true there are some issues about establishing an extra-judicial authority to do this kind of thing, but it does get the full weight of the law off the back of the consumer for copyright infringment whilst giving the content companies the roadbloack they want.
Definitely one to watch, but I’m surprised the BBC has missed this one. FT takes a neutral reporting position: