The French Constitutional Council has overturned an article in the Hadopi Act, recently adopted by Nicolas Sarkozy's goverment, against illegal file sharing on the internet. According to the "Sages", as they are known in France, blocking internet access in case of illicit downloading (as the law provides) runs contrary to the spirit of the constitution. Internet participates "in the life of a democratic society and the expression of ideas and opinions," the sages intone. Consequently, "freedom of access to online communication services for use of the public" can only be terminated by a court ruling. This echoes an amendment passed by the European Parliament on May 6th that protects web users' fundamental rights. "A slap on the wrist for the government," French daily Le Figaro observes.