First judgment against pirate copiers in france

A 39-year-old man must pay 150 euros for illegally downloading songs by u.S. Singer rihanna over his connection. He had already received several warnings.

"That was my wife, but because the connection is in my name, I am responsible," the man told french news agency AFP on thursday. He himself hardly knows his way around the internet.

The so-called hadopi law allows judges to punish illegal downloading of movies, music or software with an internet ban. In addition, fines of up to 1,500 euros are possible. A recently published study concluded that the number of visitors to sensitive internet sites has fallen by 35 percent since the law came into force. More than one million internet users have since received a warning and around 100,000 a second one.

Critics of the law see the prosecution of pirates as an infringement on freedom of information and fear a permanent surveillance of internet users. Others complain that only the exchange of data between two computers is taken into account, even though the importance of the so-called peer-to-peer process has greatly decreased.