The French government has come up with a new way to fight Internet pirates. The new system will use a "three strikes and you're out" approach, people who download and/or share illegal content on the Internet will first receive two warnings and if they still don't comply their Internet access will be cut off.
An independent panel supervised by a court official will be responsible for creating a system to determine when and how often a warning is sent to a file sharer.
According to the chairman of the French retail chain store FNAC, Denis Olivennes, music sales at FNAC has declined due to Internet file sharing. Olivennes believes large monetary fines and prison sentences -- current French penalties for copyright infringement -- are "totally disproportionate." He believes a ban on Internet is a more reasonable punishment, especially for the young people in the country. The Syndicat National de l'Edition Phonographique (SNEP), the French equivalent of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), claims music sales have plummeted 40 percent over a four-year period starting in 2002.
The deal was described as a "decisive moment for the future of a civilized Internet," according to French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "We run the risk of witnessing a genuine destruction of culture," he added.
The music and movie industry are happy with France's plan but other politicians and consumer groups fear the system could end up being too restrictive. The new system may make it a lot easier to punish Internet pirates but at least they won't get sued for $220,000.