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First Frenchman Fined For Illegally Downloading Rihanna Songs

Alain Prevost, 40, is the first person in France fined  for 150 Euros under the country’s new anti-piracy law.

Accused of illegally downloading song’s of Rihanna, Prevost maintained that it was his wife who actually got the songs. His wife admitted under oath that she did it but the fine was still levied to him because he paid for the web link which his wife used to get the songs.

The government of France is set to go against pirates like him. There are 14 cases prepared against people that are suspected of pirating movies and music. The French government implement the “three strikes” law, in which the violators are warned three times. If they ignore the warnings their interne t connection will be cut off and face more consequences from a court.

Prevost was convicted in court because he admitted that his wife downloaded the songs through the ISP account he’s paying for. The French media described as a local artisan and said he is incapable of downloading anything, more so the Rihanna songs.

Prevost’s case has two complicating factors. First,  he cut off his internet connection after receiving two warnings from Hadopi, a French anti-piracy agency. The second is, he filed papers to divorce his wife.

Prevost reportedly sent a letter to Hadopi to contact his wife and ask her about the downloads but he got a reply from it telling him he could not receive any more.

By unintentionally ignoring the letters from Hadopi, he received summons to visit his police station, where he again admitted his claim that he did not download the songs.

According to PC Inpact, they were told by Prevost that he decided to go to court without a lawyer represent himself, thinking that the court will believe in his honesty.

Because of the implemented three strikes law, Prevost was supposedly be levied a 1,500-euros fine and disconnection of his internet connection for a month. After his testimony,  the 300-euro fine sought by the prosecution was halved.

When asked for a statement regarding the case, head of Hadopi Marie-Francoise Marais said the agency “was mainly a mission of education, not repression”.

Hadopi has been getting criticism after the election of French president François Hollande this year, even if the agency was started by the previous administration. Last August, the new French minister of culture hinted that the agency would most likely be shut down.

The Prevost case has earned the ire of French digital rights group, especially La Quadrature du Net. In a letter to Ars Technica, Jérémie Zimmerman of La Quadrature du Net said: “This is pure harassment and intimidation of this poor chap who doesn’t even know what happened to him, and shows the absurdity of the whole scheme. Actually, Hadopi cases are completely empty of any evidence, with only IP addresses collected by private companies that no judge could ever accept as valid.”

source: bbc | ars