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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
France takes on net pop pirates
The Eiffel Tower, BBC
French pirates face being cut off from the internet
France is stepping up efforts to stop net users pirating pop music.

The get tough policy is part of an agreement signed between French net providers and record companies.

Under the agreement net users who pirate music will be sent warnings and could face being cut off if they do not stop the illegal sharing.

To give people an alternative to free, pirated tracks, French music firms are increasing the numbers of legitimate tunes available to buy and download.

Series of steps

The agreement to do more to combat piracy was brokered by the French government and was signed by French net providers Free, Noos, Club Internet, Wanadoo and Tiscali France.

The charter calls on the net service firms to use an escalating series of measures to stop people pirating and sharing pop music.

The first step in the process will be warnings sent to subscribers identified by music firms as acting illegally.

Copyright violators also face having their net account suspended.

But the head of the French net service providers association and chief executive of Club Internet, Christine Levet, told the French news agency AFP that member firms would "cut subscriptions only upon the decision of a judge".

The net firms also pledged to act immediately to remove copyrighted tracks posted by subscribers when told of their existence and pass on subscriber details when asked.

The charter also calls on music makers to take legal action to track down persistent pirates.

Record firms have also committed to speeding up efforts to make more music available via legitimate download services. By the end of the year French music firms hope to have 600,000 tracks available compared to 300,000 now.

They also pledged to make sure prices on legitimate sites are "competitive".

France has yet to draft national laws that enact the EU Copyright Directive that should all member states should have adopted by December 2002.

Only two member countries met that deadline. UK laws enacting it came into force in October 2003.

The Directive outlaws efforts and technologies that circumvent copyright controls.

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