Hadopi Strikes Again: Net User Fined For Not Understanding How A Program Installed By Someone Else Works
from the ignorance-of-the-technology dept
As we’ve reported, France’s “three strikes and you’re out” law, known officially as Hadopi, has been a joke from start to finish. For example, the law’s first victim was convicted because his wife had downloaded some songs, while the law’s first suspension was cancelled for technical reasons. Despite these setbacks, and a change of government, France is persisting with this benighted scheme, and Numerama brings us the latest installment of this uniquely French farce (original in French.)
It concerns an Internet user whose husband used the P2P file-sharing program eMule to download several films. He was spotted doing so, his wife received the first warning under Hadopi, and he stopped downloading forthwith. Unfortunately, he left the eMule program on his wife’s computer, and every time she started it up, it continued to share the films already downloaded. That fact was spotted again, and the owner of the PC in question was eventually taken to court. Despite her protestations that she was unaware of eMule continuing its filesharing activity, the court was unimpressed, she was found guilty and fined 800 euros (although the fine was suspended.)
Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of this particular case, it does raise an interesting issue. It is generally accepted that ignorance of the law is no defense, but what about ignorance of the technology? If you don’t understand what your computer is doing, are you really to blame when it does something illegal without any involvement from you? And if you are, does that mean that all the people whose computers get taken over as part of a botnet are responsible for the damage it causes?