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InternetNZ welcomes French ruling on copyright

Media Release – 12 June 2009 - InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) welcomes a ruling by France’s highest constitutional authority that terminating Internet accounts of copyright infringers is unconstitutional.

The French law, adopted in May, would have seen a ‘three-strikes’ system implemented, with people’s Internet connections able to be cut-off based on mere allegations of infringement.

However, the Constitutional Council of France has ruled that the law contravenes Articles 9 and 11 of the 1789 Declaration, which enshrine presumption of innocence and the freedom of speech.

“It follows,” wrote the Court, “that in principle the legislature does not establish a presumption of guilt in criminal matters”. The Court also wrote that exercising freedom of expression and communication, including that performed over the Internet, is a prerequisite for democracy.

“Attacks on the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the aim pursued,” it said.

InternetNZ Executive Director Keith Davidson says the French decision is a victory for democracy and highlights the absurdity of such legislative cures.

“New Zealand too has a strong assertion to individual freedom of expression and human rights. The French decision serves as a reminder that enacting such draconian copyright law is both disproportionate and unfit for purpose.”

For more information contact:

Keith Davidson

Executive Director


+64 4 495 2112

+64 21 377 587


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