updated 10:38 am EDT, Fri September 14, 2012
Fine over Rihanna track piracy despite possible innocence
A court in France has made its first conviction under the country's three-strikes anti-piracy law. Alain Prevost of Belfort, eastern France, was fined 150 euros ($200) for pirating two tracks by Rihanna over his Internet connection. The conviction took place, despite testimony claiming his estranged wife was responsible for the downloads.
Prevost paid for the connection from his ISP, which he terminated after receiving the first two warnings from French agency Hadopi. As it was claimed his wife performed the downloads due to him being "incapable of downloading anything," he contacted Hadopi about this issue. The agency replied through e-mail, something he could no longer receive. For ignoring the messages, Prevost was summoned to his local police station, where he gave a statement explaining that he did not download the songs, and was instructed to have the files removed from the PC by a local firm. He then took the evidence to court after receiving another summons from Hadopi.
At most, Prevost could have been fined 1,500 euros ($2000) and had his Internet connection cut for one month. He instead received a 300 euro ($400) fine, which was then halved by the prosecution. Prevost's divorce proceedings are ongoing.
The three-strikes law has been suggested to be ineffectual in preventing the decline in music sales. Sales data showed a 3.9 percent drop over sales in 2011, two years after Hadopi had been enacted, despite the agency claiming infringing file sharing was down 66 percent in France. The first person disconnected under the law objected on the basis that he was not aware of how to download content illegally, and that his Wi-Fi was hacked and used by other people. He challenged the disconnection, and complained that he had to temporarily live in Paris, at his own expense, to dispute the ban. [via BBC]