France's government is gearing up for a new version of the controversial HADOPI legislation that would force ISPs to disconnect file sharers after three offenses. HADOPI's original version was struck down by France's Constritutional Council earlier this month because it enabled rights holders to police P2P networks without a judge's oversight. The council ruled that this procedure, also known as Three Strikes, was unconstitutional because it didn't guarantee suspected offenders a fair trial.

A new version of the law currently proposed by the French government would address these concerns by having a judge decide whether or not a file sharer should be disconnected. These decisions would however be made in a fast track trial that would only give a judge five minutes for each case on average. All in all, each case should require about 45 minutes of work, according to an official government study, is reporting.

That doesn't sound like much time at all, but it still adds up, especially if you want put a dent into the phenomenon of millions of users sharing files online. The original HADOPI plans called for 250,000 blocked Internet accounts per year. The new proposal is slightly less ambitious and only calls for 50,000 decisions per year. The government study still estimates that it would take 109 new full-time positions, including 26 judges, to deal with these cases. One can easily imagine the total cost to reach tens of millions of dollars.

We'll have to wait and see whether French politicians are still eager to support the bill with this price tag attached. France wouldn't be the first country to drop Three Strikes because it's simply too expensive. British regulators estimated earlier this year that implementing Three Strikes would cost about 2.5 million GBP per year. The UK government eventually abandoned the idea of Three Strikes and is now favoring solutions that would require less oversight.

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