September 5, 2011 - Updated on January 20, 2016

WikiLeaks cable on progress of Internet piracy bill in France


A cable from the US embassy in Paris dated 24 April 2009, which WikiLeaks released on 26 August, describes a trick played by opposition Socialist Party parliamentarians earlier that month to delay approval of the government’s Internet piracy law (known as HADOPI), under which users can be denied Internet access after three piracy offences.

Ten Socialist Party parliamentarians hid behind a curtain in the near-empty chamber and emerged just as the the bill came up for a vote, thereby outnumbering the ruling party, which had failed to ensure that enough of its representatives were in the chamber. The cable said the Socialist Party would do everything possible to block the bill and, if it was eventually adopted, would refer it to the Constitutional Counci. (This is what the party did on 19 May 2011).

The cable also reported that US corporations were monitoring the bill’s progress closely. Robert Pisano of the Motion Picture Association of America had told the embassy that it was “very important” to the fight against online piracy. The Recording Industry of America had expressed similar views.