Illegal Torrenting Traced to French Presidential Residence

By: Qichen Zhang on 3 January 2012
Posted in Europe, France

Reports that illegal torrenting traced to Sarkozy's Elysée Palace surfaced last month. French blog Nikopik recently revealed that six instances of torrenting were detected in the IP range (62.160.71.0 – 62.160.71.255) that covered the French president's residence in Paris. The torrented media included films such as "Tower Heist" starring Ben Stiller and "Arthur Christmas" as well as the Beach Boys' Greatest Hits album were downloaded from BitTorrent, with the IP address linked back to his residence.

Critics have accused the president of hypocrisy due to the fact that Sarkozy's government has championed some of the most strict anti-piracy laws in Europe with the implementation of its three-strikes rule. Enacted in 2009, France's anti-piracy HADOPI act sought to combat copyright infringement, and it cuts off any individual who commits three acts of illegal file-sharing from the Internet. Although the French Constitutional Council found the bill unconstitutional, another version of the law was passed quickly in the National Assembly in September of that same year, which addressed the concern that ISPs could cut off service without consulting a judge. Most recently, the law encountered criticism from the United Nations' Report on Freedom.

Although HADOPI has faced accusations of being a censorship tactic, Sarkozy adamantly stands by his enforcement of tough piracy laws in France, which some attribute to his marriage to musician Carla Bruni. And in light of the filesharing that violates a law that Sarkozy wanted to "go all the way" with, the six torrents traced back to his palace ironically makes him a double violator.

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