photo: Ben Walther
I’ve argued many times on this blog that it is disproportionate for somebody to lose their internet access for copyright theft. Regular readers will know that France had passed a law which would mean people would lose internet access after downloading pirated material three times.
I argued that this was unfair – it stops somebody from participating in online shopping, banking, communications, etc. And it seems like the French Constitutional Court agrees with me by ruling the new law unconstitutional.
The judgement of the French Constitutional Court:
“Moreover, whereas under section nine of the Declaration of 1789, every man is presumed innocent until has has been proven guilty, it follows that in principle the legislature does not establish a presumption of guilt in criminal matters,” wrote the Council. This basic principle applies “to any sanction in the nature of punishment, even if the legislature has left the decision to an authority that is nonjudicial in nature.
“Freedom of expression and communication is so valuable that its exercise is a prerequisite for democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms and attacks on the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the aim pursued.”
So that’s great news for the people of France.
I feel it is very important that we begin to have electronic rights enshrined into law. Just as the right to free speech and to participate in society are fundamental tenets in modern society, our laws need to be updated to reflect the fact that electronic communications and technology play such a large role in our everyday lives.
To reiterate: I don’t agree with piracy or believe that copyright theft is a good thing. I believe that it is important that our rights don’t get eroded as society becomes digital.
Via Think Broadband.