Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 07:28:50 AM EST
I watched most of the debates at the Assemblée Nationale and I think my health suffered because of it. At first I was annoyed. Then I got mad. And then I was completely flabbergasted.
The opposition asked thousands of extremely well informed and technically pointed questions. There was at times a hundred time more people watching the video stream than usual. They got tons of emails, which their staff would parse, print and bring to them during the discussions. They mentioned that several times. The majority never ever did, just sticking to their ridiculous talking points or, towards the end, not even bothering to reply.
The law is unbelievable. Its entire purpose is to circumvent the judiciary and castrate any right to a fair trial, because as soon as a normal legal recourse is available, the sheer mass of defendants would topple the rotten thing instantly.
This alone explains the many bizarre provisions of the law. For instance, when you get (or not, there is no hard requirements of delivery) an email warning, it doesn't mention what you were allegedly (or actually, what your connection was used for) downloading. That's right, they don't tell you. They just say, on that date and time, your connection was used to pirate shit, make it cease now, and here's a nice list of legal websites.
The official purpose for this non-disclosure is because the download might be pornographic, and that might cause problems for families if, say, the spouse finds out. I'm not making shit up, that's what the retarded sponsor Frank Riestert (a car salesman) said, it's in the record. But the real purpose is so that you can't easily dispute the allegations. In fact, it's almost impossible to find out what's been reported against you at the "warning" phase, you can only do so when the decision to cut you off has been taken.
Furthermore, the law explicitly limits the possibility for the accused to find out who detected the alleged infringement and how. You get to know (eventually) the copyright holder, but not which private policing outlet it had mandated for that purpose. Obviously this aims to limit the possibilities of suing for libellous accusations, or at least delay so much as to make it useless and therefore remove the incentive for the victims to sue so that this is not a bottleneck.
Said outlets' employees will have to swear an oath to be truthful in their reports, but the law says nothing about any due diligence. In other word, as long as they don't blatantly lie, it doesn't matter if the evidence is as flimsy as a mere IP address being advertised in a Pirate Bay tracker. As you may know, it only takes one HTTP request to put any IP in there.
This whole thing is insane. It is extremely likely to be thoroughly censored by the Constitutional Council (~ Supreme Court in this case) but that doesn't mean the end result won't be a disaster. The only hope is in the European Parliament, and if they finally pass their anti-3 strike amendment, it's on the European Court of Justice.
For more information, head to http://www.laquadrature.net/en.