Copyright Law Online – Follow the Rules in France or Go Dark

It looks like the European Union is all over the copyright violations happening online. Right now they are going after Piracy downloads of music, and movies. Next, however they will be going after digital books (eBooks), and stolen news articles which are put onto blogs, or copied into Internet forums. The UK has also talked about this, and they too are making laws to prevent copyright violations.

In the United States we have a huge lobby in Hollywood, in both the record industry and the film industry which is trying to prevent unauthorized downloads. In France, the UK, and all throughout the European Union, as well as the United States, Internet laws are being introduced that will allow government officials and regulators to turn off websites who violate copyrights.

In some cases there may be a three strikes law, but one of the biggest fears of people who own websites is that there will be false complaint from competitors and their sites will be shut down unnecessarily. Yes, this could happen in the United States as well, and there have been things tried in the past to shut down websites which may have malware on them.

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We also know in the United States that the media companies, especially the newspapers which are nearly bankrupt have talked with the Federal Trade Commission and the Congress about the ongoing copyright piracy. Not long ago, there was a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal titled; “All Eyes on France As Officials in First New Anti-Piracy Law,” by Max Colchester which was published in the third week of October 2010.

The article states that in this new law in France warnings will be sent out to anyone who is suspected of downloading copyright material. In other words, Internet users could have their ISP turned off, which would mean they can’t even get e-mails if they are caught downloading stuff. Three-strike type rule – and basically you would receive a set of warnings according to the article;

“your Internet connection has been used to commit acts, recognized by police authorities, which could be regarded as a breach of law,” and at that point you would have to prove that you did or didn’t personally do this, and then defend your right not to lose your Internet service. That’s pretty scary isn’t it? It sounds rather draconian in many cases. To get a full understanding of this topic, I recommend you go to the Wall Street Journal website and read that article.

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