Three strikes and you're offline: The controversial tactic to cut off the internet access of repreat infringers is getting new friends in high places in Germany these days. German Secretary of Culture Bernd Neumann suggested this week that his country should look to France for ideas to increase the enforcement of intellectual property. In his own words:

"We should support initiatives that result in voluntary agreements between internet service providers and rights holders with the goal to fight copyright infringement. This issue has been addressed by the Olivennes process initiated by French president Sarkozy, and it has already been discussed by the European Commission as well."

France was the first country that came up with a three strikes rule against file sharers. The idea has since been championed by the music industry across the globe, but the results have been less than satisfying for the record labels. Sweden flatly rejected the idea in March. The plan received another blow when the European Parliament rejected calls to adopt three in all member states. The parliament instead passed an amendment that reads:

"Calls on the Commission and the Member States to recognise that the Internet is a vast platform for cultural expression, access to knowledge, and democratic participation in European creativity, bringing generations together through the information society; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness, such as the interruption of Internet access."

Conflicting with civil liberties and human rights: Can you word this any stronger? Judging from Neuman's statement, there's no warning strong enough.

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