In what can only be described as an epic PR fail for the copyright industry, they have threatened the parents of the most successful candidate of the French Pirate Party, Maxime Rouquet. All of a sudden, they have chosen an adversary who is both knowledgeable, determined and politically savvy in the matter.
This is an absolute nightmare scenario for the French copyright industry, which depends on threatening people who don’t know the law, don’t know the implications of their actions or nonactions, and don’t know how to defend themselves. One wrong target could mean that the entire HADOPI enforcement construct fails. Such a wrong target was apparently one of the first picked.
The situation is similar to when Danish courts established as firm precedent that if a person threatened by the copyright industry claims they have an open wireless network, the copyright industry has no case. After that precedent, the Danish copyright industry quit sending harassment letters for “protection money”.
Maxime Rouquet is the most successful candidate for the French Pirate Party (PPFR), collecting just over two per cent of the vote in the Yvelines by-election in 2009. While this may not sound like much, it is considerable given the shoestring budget.
As is often the case, Mr. Rouquet has set up and configured his parents’ network. He therefore knows that the wireless connection is secure, and is absolutely sure that the copyright industry has produced a false positive. On his blog, he vents his anger of the copyright industry’s ignorance of due process and the presumption of innocence.
Peu importe que vous soyez innocent, ça peut vous tomber dessus, on en a maintenant confirmation … Pas terrible comme image, non?
“(It is of) little importance if you’re innocent, the hammer can still fall, we now have proof of that. Not a bad public image, what do you say?”
French net activist magazine Numérama puts the situation in more context.
The entire existence of the HADOPI authority, charged with enforcing copyright on the net to the point of disconnecting citizens — which violates European law, common sense, and all dignity, but that is another matter — its entire existence depends on its credibility on being able to perform accurately, precisely and justly.
Very recently, some major figures have spoken out in confidence about the methods used to identify IP addresses collected and their subscribers. The continued existence of HADOPI depends on this… this faith. If the authority is found to jeopardize due process or presumption of innocence, the administrative courts can and will axe the entire construct.
It seems we have ourselves a golden opportunity to kill the utterly mad idea of disconnecting people for the foreseeable future.
Go, Maxime! Go, PPFR and every French activist!