The French Constitutional Court on Thursday approved legislation that would create a graduated-response program to copyright infringement. The goal is to enable copyright owners to halt illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing without suing individual consumers. Thomas Sydnor, Senior Fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation hailed the move, calling it a step forward for common sense and the rule of law on the Internet. “In America today, if a caregiver for my children used one of my home computers for illegal file-sharing, copyright owners would have to file a federal lawsuit and spend thousands of dollars—which they would then have to recover from me—just to alert me to the problem,” Sydnor added.
He said that as a consumer, he would far prefer the successive warnings that French law would now provide to the sudden financial devastation of an anonymous, “John Doe” lawsuit that American law now requires. “I thus urge American internet service providers and copyright owners to work together to provide American consumers with similar relief,” said Sydnor. But privacy advocates and critics of the recording industry have insisted that copyright holders that “John Doe” lawsuits better protect individual rights because they keep the content industry from obtaining personal information about consumers without due process.