Is internet access a fundamental human right? Or is it a privilege, carrying with it a responsibility for good behavior? That is the question confronting policy makers as they try to bring internet access to the masses while seeking to curb illegal copying of digital music, movies, and video games, reports the New York Times. The U.S. Congress held hearings last week on the growing problem of piracy, which the American entertainment industry says accounts for the loss of $20 billion a year in sales. Several lawmakers vowed to increase scrutiny of international markets where piracy is widespread. But if events in Paris last week are any indication, legislative solutions will not be easy. French lawmakers rejected an anti-piracy plan championed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, where the internet connections of people who ignored repeated warnings to stop using unauthorized file-sharing services would have been severed. Sarkozy said he planned to reintroduce the measure, but public opinion is solidly against the idea of cutting off internet users, and many politicians–not just in France but across Europe and elsewhere–are listening…

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