Are you downloading copyrighted files? You are out!

A proposal(*) backed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy: those people who download copyrighted material (using, for example, P2P networks) will get disconnected from the Internet by their ISPs.

“Like it or not, the total cost of Internet service will rise because French ISPs have signed on to the plan. They will now spend time and (tax) money enforcing copyright on their networks via expensive deep packet inspection (DPI) software that will monitor traffic on their networks and look for copyrighted content. Subscribers detected illicitly sharing or downloading copyrighted material will receive warnings, requiring additional administrative overhead. If the behavior continues, then Internet access would be guillotined. Most of this will be carried out by a government-funded independent authority overseen by a judge” (full post).

(*) I do not describe the proposal as being insane just for this reason: “Do not be hectoring or arrogant. Those who disagree with you are not necessarily stupid or insane. Nobody needs to be described as silly: let your analysis show that he is. When you express opinions, do not simply make assertions. The aim is not just to tell readers what you think, but to persuade them; if you use arguments, reasoning and evidence, you may succeed. Go easy on the oughts and shoulds. ” You may well understand to which category Mr. Sarkozy qualifies to belong.

6 Responses to “Are you downloading copyrighted files? You are out!”

  1. mike says:

    It could be an interesting challenge to develop protocols that disguise BitTorrent traffic as articles from Le Figaro.

    Honestly though, why do they need deep packet inspection? Couldn’t they just make it illegal to send anything upstream except ACKs and HTTP GET requests?

  2. That proposal may subordinate people to ruthless government control! This trend is pervasive: give up your rights because this is the only way your government can protect you (from copyright infringers? from terrorists?)

  3. Neal Lathia says:

    Do the warnings happen on a per file or per session basis? There is probably no point in even having warnings if its 3-files-and-you’re-out.

    Interestingly enough though, this is the first legislative response to the ongoing debate about DRM. The big tech companies have had plenty to say (let’s lock people into our legal technologies), as have all the major record labels (let’s sue people who download). Any ideas for alternatives? Should the government stay out of this completely?

  4. The alternative to DRM may come from Italy

    The working group is lead by Leonardo Chiariglione

  5. From what I understood about Chiariglione’s proposal (which seems quite blurry to me), the difference with present-day DRM is just that the encryption algorithms are standard. The encryption key is obviously still secret. For interoperability, there should be an entity that decides if your system is secure enough to obtain access to a certified key… And, if I’m not wrong, a single compromised certified item would be enough to tear all the DRM architecture apart.

  6. Matteo, you are right – they are still working on the proposal. Their discussion list is (in italian, unfortunately)