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First victim of French three-strikes law likely innocent

updated 01:15 pm EDT, Mon July 25, 2011

France HADOPI law claims possible innocent

The first person known to have been disconnected under France's three-strikes law may well be an innocent person based on early reports. A 54-year old teacher, Robert Tollot of Loire, was banned from getting online after HADOPI enforcers gave him three warnings that his connection was being used to pirate material. He claimed to Numerama to not only be unaware of how to download content illegally, as he was accused, but to to have had his Wi-Fi hacked and to have been unable to secure his connection enough to stop attempts, even after the second notice.

Among the accusations are that he pirated Iron Man 2 as well as msuic from David Guetta and Rihanna. He contacted the HADOPI staff by phone to review security but wasn't flagged.

Tollot is challenging the disconnection with the Commission for the Protection of Rights and has suggested he might turn to the European Court of Justice if denied a challenge in France. He complained that a legal challenge was inherently unfair for the challenger since he had to temporarily live in Paris, at his own expense, to dispute the ban.

Officials haven't responded to the objections.

If innocent, Tollot may validate many of the fears that surrounded HADOPI when it was first passed in late 2009. The system uses automated scans and is only looking for IP addresses, not individual people. As such, the disconnections could occur for innocent people with unsecured or compromised networks as well as for those with family members and roommates who ignore the warnings. Targets get basic challenges to the claims, but much of the burden of proof is on them and not the enforcers.

The three-strike law has often been criticized for being effectively co-written by music labels hoping to legislate their existing business models rather than provide stronger incentives to use legitimate music. Although frequently dismissed as a conspiracy theory, some have suggested that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife, musician Carla Bruni, may have pushed her husband for such a law to protect her own music.


by MacNN Staff



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