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France reverses 'three strikes' piracy law, will no longer suspend violators' internet access

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France is doing away with the controversial penalty of an anti-piracy law that allowed repeat violators' internet access to be temporarily suspended. Though support for the Hadopi "three strikes" law has been waning, France had initially hoped to take a hard line on digital piracy through the legislation, which could mandate that a person remain offline following their third copyright violation offense. Very few internet suspensions were actually handed out — and almost all of them had their length reduced or were dropped in favor of a fine. Only one person ever had the suspension carried out, lasting in their case for 15 days.

The French government is now shifting its aim from individual offenders to the websites that profit off of pirated content. France's Ministry of Culture and Communication now says that the internet suspensions were too strict and didn't make sense in the modern world, mirroring earlier statements from the country's minister delegate that cutting off internet was like "cutting off water." However, penalties for copyright violators aren't going away entirely. Offenders can still be fined, though TorrentFreak suggests the fines will only go as high as 1,500 euros. But while today's move has all but done away with France's graduated response system for dealing with pirates, such programs — albeit less severe ones — are only just getting started elsewhere in the world.