Sarkozy Memo Calls for Hadopi Push at Upcoming Conference

October 23, 2010 -

Next week France will serve as the host of a conference on online freedom of expression - a French-Dutch effort to draft a code of conduct against Internet censorship. Sounds good, right? However, a leaked memo from French President Sarkozy is undercutting the effort before it even starts. The leaked memo from the President of France urges the Minister of Foreign Affairs to push the country's anti-piracy legislation instead.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is a strong proponent of anti-piracy efforts. Earlier this year he had a major victory when he managed to get Hadopi - the three-strikes anti-piracy bill - signed into law. Opponents of the law have seized on the memo as evidence that the President wants to convince the rest of Europe that Hadopi is the right way to deal with piracy.

The memo was exposed by the advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.

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France Wants to Subsidize Music Purchases

October 15, 2010 -

While France’s three-strike "Hadopi" law targeting illegal downloaders of copyrighted material came across as harsh to some critics, the country has come up with a novel approach to cut down on music piracy—the government will partially fund the purchase of music.

France’s plan is to sell pre-paid cards to be used to purchase music, with the catch, according to the BBC, that cards valued at 50 euros will cost only 25 euros when bought. The government will pick up the other half of the tab.

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Bill Would Have French Govt Promote Dangers of Too Much Gaming

July 26, 2010 -

A proposed bill currently sitting in front of France’s Parliament seeks government assistance in promoting the risks that the overuse of videogames might have on that country's youth.

GP Reader Soldat_Louis pointed us towards the possible legislation (translated) and also broke down for us exactly how the bill made it from the country’s “Children’s Parliament” all the way to the real one:

French ISP Offers to Block File-Sharing, Exposes Users to Attack

June 15, 2010 -

In response to the implementation of France’s “Hadopi” or three-strikes law, which targets illegal file sharers, a French ISP began offering its customers a service that would block file-sharing on their connections, but the software came with its own problems.

Orange was the ISP offering the service, for the small price of two Euros per month, and it was intended to allow users to “control the activity of computers connected to your internet line” by blocking access to an unknown series of blacklisted sites and addresses.

Unfortunately though, according to Torrent Freak, the Windows-only software, as detailed by a techie named Bluetouff, communicated with a public server that still had the default username and password of admin/admin. Oops.

Torrent Freak that it was:

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Player Knifed in CS, Waits 7 Months, Returns Favor in Real Life

June 1, 2010 -

Seven months after being knifed virtually in an online round of Counter-Strike, a 20-year old French gamer tracked down his online assailer and stabbed him in the chest.

Julien Barreaux hunted down his victim, identified only as Mikhael, after falling under his knife in a November 2009 game of CS, according to the Telegraph. It turned out that Mikhael lived only a “few miles” from Barreaux, who visited the house and stabbed Mikhael in the chest when he answered the door, just missing his heart. Mikhael apparently survived the attack.

Barreaux was arrested within an hour of the attack and sentenced to two years in jail, and also will be forced to undergo psychiatric tests. The attacker was dubbed a “menace to society” by Judge Alexiane Potel, who added, “I am frankly terrified of the disproportionate reaction you could have if someone looked at you the wrong way in the street.”

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Bad Company 2 & French Army Ads Square Off

February 25, 2010 -

As part of a campaign designed to boost recruitment, the French Army introduced a new campaign that uses the slogan “Devenez vous-même” or “Be Yourself,” and directs interested parties to visit the website

The French Army ad appears to have caught the eye of Electronic Arts, as an article on LusoGamer (translated) points out that an ad for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 appears to have somewhat appropriated the French Army slogan. The similarities were not very difficult to notice as the giant ads appeared right next to each other (picture) in a French subway station. EA’s ad directed users towards the (inactive) website, which translates to “Be More Than Yourself.”

Army General Philippe Pontiès didn’t find much humor in the matter, telling French website Ecrans (translated) that:

We are clearly in a situation of abuse of slogan. So far, our campaign is working very well, we have very good returns.

The General also noted that the army has been advertising in videogames, with good results, and, ironically enough, has advertised in select EA game, such as NHL 10, NBA Live 10 and Need For Speed Pro Street. The General made it clear that the Army advertises only in racing or sports games, never army or military-themed games.

The ad appropriation issue has apparently been resolved through dialog between the Army’s agency and Electronic Arts.

Thanks Emanuel!


France One Step Closer to Net Filtering

February 18, 2010 -

Lawmakers in France have approved the draft of a law that would enable ISP-level Internet filtering.

Dubbed the Loppsi II bill, the measure passed a National Assembly vote in a count of 312 to 214 reports the Good Gear Guide. The bill will next be read in the Senate, which could be its final reading if no amendments are introduced, as the government has pinned an “urgent” tag on the bill.

Among the bill’s Internet measures are provisions to make online identity theft a crime and allow police to tap Net connections, in addition to allowing authorities to order ISPs to filter Internet connections to remove child pornography materials.

Critics of the bill are concerned that any Internet filtering could lead to more widespread government induced censorship online.

Other parts of the bill deal with “boosting the amount the police spend on ‘security,’ multiplying penalties for counterfeiting checks or credit cards, increasing use of CCTV cameras, extending access to the police national DNA database and authorizing the seizure of vehicles driven without a license.”

It’s estimated that the filtering technology would cost France €140 million (approximately $190.0 million U.S.)and would be “largely ineffective” against the distribution of child pornography, which experts say is done via P2P networks.

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Bureaucracy Delays France’s Hadopi Law

January 4, 2010 -

France’s controversial “three-strikes” law aimed at taking down illegal downloaders appears to have suffered a delay while the government seeks mandatory approval of the law from an independent authority.

France needs an opinion from the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) to enact the law writes Paid Content. So far, CNIL has chosen not to issue a decree, reports La Tribune, thus effectively blocking the implementation of the law, which was scheduled to be put into motion this month.

This bump in the road could mean a delay of three months until the law, also known as the Hadopi Law, is enacted.

Internet pirates will be warned twice under the law—once by email and once in a physical delivered letter—before a third strike is issued, which could result in fines, prison terms and/or the loss of Internet service.

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French Court Rules in Favor of Mod Chip Maker

December 7, 2009 -

In a ruling very similar to one handed down in Spain just last month, a French court has decreed that makers of Nintendo DS flash carts are not breaking the law.

French company Divineo was one of the defendants brought to court by Nintendo for making flash carts for the DS, which allow non-authorized games and media to be played on Nintendo’s handheld game system. The court ruled that the carts are legal and extend the usefulness of the DS, states

The court also apparently took umbrage with Nintendo for “illegally” protecting its system and locking out users and developers, though it should be noted that the MaxConsole site, according to various sources, is owned by Max Louran, the same individual that heads Divineo.

This is not Louran’s first brush with console modification enforcers either: a 2007 GP story indicated some relation between Louran’s Divineo company and a firm (Supreme Factory Limited) at the center of a mod chip raid in Hong Kong.

Assentek, a fellow defendant in the case and also a manufacturer of console modifiers, was pleased with the ruling, but cautioned (Google translation):

However, in our view, this is probably a first episode in the general confrontation between France and Nintendo players in the world of gaming consoles including Assentek in particular.

|Via TechDirt|


School Shooting Averted, Story Plays Up Link to Games

November 18, 2009 -

Authorities in Beauvais, France believe they have prevented a possible school shooting by a 13-year old “computer games enthusiast."

A TimesOnline story details the unfolding events under the unfortunate headline “Computer Games Fan ‘Planned School Massacre.’” Suspicion was initially raised when the boy, named Bastien, left extra early for school, eventually leading his parents to a blog post of his that read: “This is my last message because Tuesday November 17, 2009 will be the last day of my life. Sorry to leave you..."  Police were alerted and sealed off the boy’s school, Saint-Esprit. The teen apparently saw police at the school and avoided it, ditched a shotgun and 25 cartridges in a field along the way. He was found later at a cyber-café.

A friend of Bastien said that, “He always wanted to go into the Army. He loved battles. He was passionate about history, warriors. He played video games up to one or two in the morning...” Other buddies told reporters that Bastien was a World of Warcraft player.

Even the Mayor of Allone, Christian Sadowski, painted Bastien as a gamer, saying that he knew the boy was a fan of computer games, adding, “Many young people end up finding it difficult to tell the difference between dream and reality. He played his little fantasy on the net and then carried it out.”

The boy was anxious about an upcoming parent-teacher conference as a result of receiving less-than-stellar grades.

GP: Glad they caught him obviously, but the secondary focus on games in this article is gratuitous as is usually the case.  But as we, and Lorne Lanning, know, this is how the mainstream media rolls. At least they didn’t call WOW a “murder simulator.”

Update: GP reader Soldat_Louis rounded up and translated a handful of other stories and media outlets that played up the videogame link:

• "Considered as a good student coming from a normal family, the middle school boy, a video game adept, (...)" (Le Point)

• "According to a police source, 'bad grades could be the cause of the murderous intentions' of the student, a video game adept."  (France-Soir)

• "It's on his blog that the student, a video game fan, has published his intention to make a name of himself (...)" (Le Télégramme)

• "The kid is considered as a good student. He comes from a normal family. He is a video game adept and maintains his own blog. (...) [The attempted shooting] revives the memory of [the Winnenden shooting]. Perpetrated by  Tim Kretschmer, 17-years-old, also a video game adept, (...)" (La Dépêche)

Soldat_Louis also pointed us towards (and again translated the relevant part) a debate over “How to protect your children against the dangers of the Internet” that took place on French radio station RTL this morning.

Véronique Fima of the Action Innocence nonprofit group apparently came to the defense of games and gamers in the debate, while noting that in the case of the Beauvais story, the Internet played a positive role and assisted in stopping any violence.

On the point of videogames, she stated, “First of all, I wouldn't want them to be incriminated in the first place (...) rather than knowing that he was a video game aficionado, I would like us to ask the question : what was the deep discomfort that made this child act that way (...) All children and teenagers all play video games, yet they're not all mass murderers."


France Passes Hadopi Law, EU Kills Amendment

October 26, 2009 -

In light of France officially approving a tough, three-strike law against illegal downloaders, the European Parliament has exorcised an amendment to its Telecoms Package that would have made it more difficult to disconnect pirates from the Internet.

France’s “Hadopi” law was passed last week following a revision which added a provision that a judge must approve disconnecting a user from the Web. A first offense will result in an email, while a second infringement will result in a letter being sent to the person who illegally downloaded material. A third strike would result in disconnection, now subject to a judge’s ruling.

Amendment 138 to the EU Telecoms Package was dropped, meaning that “individual countries would be able to ask internet service providers to remove users deemed to be persistent pirates without needing a prior court order,” writes the BBC, which believes that this is a lead up to the UK introducing its own disconnection policy for pirates next month.

Forrester analyst Mark Mulligan thinks that any legislation is too slow to do much to affect pirates, “Technology just moves quicker. Already we are seeing around 20 different alternatives to peer-to-peer piracy.”

|Thanks Hreinn, Image via DeviantArt|

Posted in

Sacre Bleu: French Prez a Pirate

October 9, 2009 -

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a backer of tough new piracy laws in that country, comes off as a bit of a hypocrite after being accused of a pair of copyright infringements.

Sarkozy’s “Hadopi” law was passed just last month and features a three-strike policy for illegal down loaders. Unfortunately it would appear that Sarkozy is already down to his last strike, as he has been accused of two misuses—making 400 unauthorized copies of a DVD and copyright infringement related to his use of an MGMT song at a political rally.

The MGMT song misuse cost Sarkozy 30,000 Euros (approximately $44,112 U.S.). More galling may be the fact that the publisher of the DVD allegedly copied by Sarkozy only created 50 copies itself.

Via Boing Boing


Photoshopped Images Get a French Diss

September 24, 2009 -

The French Parliament wants you to know what you are looking at when you see images of hot models in ads.

According to an article in Britain's Telegraph newspaper, about 50 French politicians are concerned that airbrushed images are causing image problems and health issues for females. They want disclaimers on any airbrushed photo stating that it was touched up, although the debate on the exact wording continues. This would include images in newspapers and magazines, as well as any billboard advertising campaigns and product packaging.

Valerie Boyer, of France's UMP party, said:

"These photos can lead people to believe in a reality that does not actually exist, and have a detrimental effect on adolescents. "Many young people, particularly girls, do not know the difference between the virtual and reality, and can develop complexes from a very young age. In some cases this leads to anorexia or bulimia and very serious health problems. It's not just a question of public health, but also a way of protecting the consumer."

Boyer is advocating that violators get hit with a financial penalty of about 50 percent of the cost of the ad campaign. The proposed law was unveiled in Parliament last week.

In the video game industry, the issue of photoshopping screen shots has surfaced before. If a law covers ads, should it be extended to ANY type of media designed to influence the consumer? It would be interesting to see if game publishers would ascribe to any type of disclaimer.

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Group Lobbies for French Retro Gaming Museum

September 23, 2009 -

An association comprised of fans of classic video games and systems is lobbying the French government to establish a retro video game museum.

The group, dubbed MO5, seeks a National Institute of Digital Sciences where visitors could not only view, but play, the vintage collectibles.

According to the BBC, MO5 currently posses 30,000 games and 1,500 different game systems. The group is reaching out to the French National Library, a Paris Science Museum and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the French Minister of State in charge of developing the digital economy, in a bid to realize its museum dream.

The M05 website details the group's awesome collection of vintage machines and video game systems and titles.

Posted in

France Passes Tough Internet Piracy Law

September 16, 2009 -

The third time was the charm for French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as the French parliament has passed a law targeting Internet pirates in that European country.

Dubbed the “Hadopi” law, for the government agency that will monitor the Internet for piracy, the law will warn suspected pirates twice, first by email, then by physical delivery, before giving a judge the right to cut Internet access and issue fines and/or prison terms.

According to The Mail Online, the law is expected to begin being enforced before the end of the year.

In a battle of French celebrities, French First Lady Carla Bruni is apparently a proponent of the law, while sultry French actress Catherine Deneuve was against the law, even going so far as to issue the comment:

This law will punish the average amateur user, while the 'nerds' will find ways around it

Posted in

Homeless Crime Game Sparks Outrage in France

September 1, 2009 -

A free, online game which parodies homeless people has prompted protest from French advocates.

UK newspaper Telegraph reports that Clodogame, which translates to "Trampgame," puts the player in control of a homeless character with the goal of dominating the mean streets:

Users are invited to progress from being a penniless homeless person in Paris to becoming "king of the streets", the most "talented tramp in Paris" and eventually move in to the Palace of Versailles.

Players are invited to "attack other homeless people", become a "peerless pickpocket", steal from sweet machines, public toilets and laundrettes. They need to learn to play an instrument, choose a pet liable to increase their begging skills, and keep control of their alcohol intake.

Not surprisingly, advocates for the homeless were outraged. Red Cross spokesman Jean-François Riffaud commented: 

It's a disgrace, it's degrading, it's humiliating to make the homeless the butt of derision. The image portrayed is exactly the one against which we've been trying to fight.


Old Gay Bashing Game Resurfaces, Sparks Eastern Euro Controversy

July 20, 2009 -

A Flash game in which players must shoot naked men in order to avoid being sexually assaulted has sparked controversy in Eastern Europe.

As reported by The Observers, Watch Out Behind You, Hunter! was originally released in 2002 on the French Uzinagaz portal, but subsequently banned following protests by gay rights advocates. More recently, the game has surfaced on a site hosted in Georgia.

Gay Armenia writes:

This is totally disgusting. The website has to be shut down unless they take this game out of their server... I wonder, where are the voices of those religious-minded people in Tbilisi, Georgia, who swear in the name of Georgian patriarch and constantly cite Bible to ‘justify’ their homophobia and hatred. Is this their (un-)‘orthodox’ way of bringing up children by creating an image of enemy (=gays) and teaching how to deal with it (=kill them)?

Jean Christophe Calvet, who operates Uzinagaz, defended the game:

We launched this game [in 2002] and it worked very well. It was only a few years after it came out that a gay rights association took legal action against us. So we withdrew the game. It's no longer available on French sites, but it's impossible to wipe it from all foreign sites too.

I have to say that at the beginning, we really didn't understand why the association was attacking us. The guy who came up with the game... wanted to mock hunters and red-necks, not gay men.

Our games are not politically correct. They're aimed at teenagers (12-18) and it's true that they're of a juvenile humour. I realise now that this one in particularly could be found shocking, but I believe that you should be able to make this kind of joke in the name of freedom of speech...

Via: GameCulture


Basing Tax Breaks on Culture Test is Problematic, Says Head of Euro Game Devs

July 6, 2009 -

France and England both mandate that video game projects be culturally relevant in order to qualify for financial incentives. But the head of the European Game Developers Federation told that such requirements make little sense either culturally or as a matter of economic policy.

Guillaume de Fondaumiere (left), who is also an exec with Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream, spoke to at the recent GameHorizon conference:

The cultural test is a problem... When you look at [European Union] rules, you have to ask: 'Actually, what is culture?' It's a national decision, so it's kind of weird that we, as the videogame industry, have to work with standards that other cultural areas don't have to follow.

To me, all games are cultural. Videogames aren't just a form of entertainment, but a true form of cultural expression, and I think that in twenty years' time this will be a given. No one will dispute that any more...

We know that tax breaks are extremely effective in stimulating an industry, and I think again that Montreal and Quebec have shown us the way...

So I think it's high time for governments, and the EU, to understand that money given in the form of tax breaks to the industry is not money thrown away. It's an investment with a very high return, so it's time that we had those breaks.


French 5-Year-Old Didn't Stab Sister Over DS, After All

March 4, 2009 -

On Monday we reported on the story of a five-year-old French lad who allegedly stabbed his 10-year-old sister over a Nintendo DS.

We've now learned that the initial media reports were false and that it was the children's mother who actually stabbed her daughter. Long-time GamePolitics reader Soldat Louis offers the update:

In fact, the 10-year-old girl was stabbed, but NOT by her 5-years-old brother. She was stabbed by her mother ! And, of course, it wasn't because of a Nintendo DS.

According to what I read, the daughter was examined by a surgeon, who said that it was impossible that such a young boy could hurt someone so deeply. Then, the investigators talked to the children, and the daughter told them that she was stabbed by her mother, who finally confessed that she did it. She was apparently upset by the noise made by her children.

Soldat Louis reports that the best (French language) coverage of the incident comes from AFP.


Report: 5-Year-Old Stabs Sister Over Nintendo DS

March 2, 2009 -

We haven't seen any English language coverage of this yet, but always-reliable European reader Soldat Louis has forwarded us this report of an incident which apparently occurred yesterday in the small French village of Uckange:

A 5-year-old boy stabbed his 10-year-old sister because she didn't want to give him her Nintendo DS. Her mother, who has sole custody of the children, was sleeping at the time and was alerted by her daughter's screams.

The girl is still at the hospital, but she's not in mortal danger. The boy is aware of what he's done. He said to the police that his sister didn't want to give hime her Nintendo DS, and that he thought the knife was a toy. I've also read that he apparently likes the game "Power Rangers", in which the characters (alledgely) throw knives.

The mother of the 2 children has been raising them since the father abandoned them and fled to Albania. According to her, he was violent to the point of hitting her. She works at night to raise her children, and while she's at work, her brother and her niece babysit them.


Researcher: Brainy Nintendo DS Claims Are "Charlatanism"

January 26, 2009 -

A French researcher has discounted Nintendo's claims that playing DS titles such as Brain Age and Big Brain Academy can improve memory.

The Times Online reports comments by cognitive psychology Prof. Alain Lieury (left) of the University of Rennes:

The Nintendo DS is a technological jewel. As a game it's fine. But it is charlatanism to claim that it is a scientific test.

Lieury studied four goups of 10-year-old children as they worked on logic problems, memorization, math and interpreting symbols. Two of the groups which had completed a seven-week memory course using the DS did no better - and in some cases, worse - than those who did not use the DS.

While Ryuta Kawashima, the creator of Brain Age, claims positive effects from playing the game on Nintendo's website, Lieury dismisses Japanese neuroscientist's assertions:

There were few positive effects [shown in Lieury's research] and they were weak. Dr Kawashima is one of a long list of dream merchants.


Gamer Becomes Mayor of French Town

March 13, 2008 -

GamePolitics readers may recall our coverage of David Hecq, the gamer and game shop owner who was running for mayor in the French town of Anzin Saint-Aubin.

Well, he won!

Longtime GP reader Soldat Louis, who often provides us with game-related news from Europe, has posted a message in the GP/ECA Forums about Hecq's victory:

Last sunday march 9th, there were municipal elections in France. And Hecq's team "Pour Anzin-Saint-Aubin : une nouvelle équipe pour de nouvelles ambitions" (litterally, "For Anzin-Saint-Aubin : a new team for new ambitions") received 57.18% of votes, against 42.82% for the former mayor's team. Details are shown on Hecq's campaign blog (in French)


...David Hecq is also credited for the creation of games retail store Objectif Games, which became Ultima Games, a chain of stores located in many French towns.

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Andrew EisenFeel free to leave us suggestions on Facebook or Twitter too. We're going to be busy but we'll try our best to keep an eye on 'em.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenIt's an interesting idea though. If we do anything, we probably won't know until after the site goes offline so keep an eye on GP social media for announcements.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenYeah, we could use my Twitch chat box too. There's always IRC but we don't currently have a GamePolitics channel.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Goth_SkunkThough I think the limit is 9 at a time in the hangout, so anyone who can't get in would be stuck out in the 'on air' portion.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Andrew EisenFor the show, I'd like the chat open to anyone who wants to watch.08/31/2015 - 8:55pm
PHX CorpI could Set Up a Temporary chatroom on My twitch.TV page while GP is busy updating the site(since I'll be Fighting Megaman Legacy Collection on Xbox one)08/31/2015 - 8:54pm
Goth_SkunkI don't see a problem with inviting viewers. It's not like I'm advocating this to be an open forum, just something specific to GP members.08/31/2015 - 8:53pm
Andrew EisenThat's why I embed the chat box from my Twitch Page. Can't get chat on the YouTube page to work either.08/31/2015 - 8:49pm
Andrew EisenI do but I haven't seen a way to incorporate viewers to chat without specifically inviting them to the event.08/31/2015 - 8:49pm
Goth_SkunkThough I'm surprised you'd not be familiar with this, Andrew. Do you not use Google Hangouts when you do S.P.A.C.?08/31/2015 - 8:45pm
Andrew EisenGP Movie Night!08/31/2015 - 8:41pm
Big PermEveyone should be too busy with phantom pain to notice GP is down. Hail Vidya!08/31/2015 - 8:40pm
Goth_SkunkBut such a hangout *could* be a neat idea. It could be used, for example, for all us GPers to get together and watch the new FemFreq video, and then discuss amongst ourselves in real time what our thoughts are.08/31/2015 - 8:38pm
Goth_Skunkcacophany of voices all trying to talk at once.08/31/2015 - 8:37pm
Goth_SkunkVideo is entirely optional. The only criticism I have of the hangout system is that I don't believe the moderator has the ability to "give the floor" to any one particular individual. Without mutual respect and tact, a Google Hangout can be reduced to a08/31/2015 - 8:37pm
Andrew EisenWell, I can't stream anything because I'm at work all day (still am).08/31/2015 - 8:28pm
Goth_SkunkIt seemed simple enough to me. During a shift at work I was bored and hopped on a Google Hangout that was GamerGate themed and streamed on YouTube. Granted, I was not the host, but joining in seemed fairly straightforward.08/31/2015 - 8:24pm
Andrew EisenSo, like a space where we can all hang out and chat while the site is down? I can dig it. No idea how to do that though. Is there a way to create a public chat in Google Hangout?08/31/2015 - 8:23pm
benohawk@Goth Thirded, I think the motion carries08/31/2015 - 8:17pm
PHX Corp@Goth_skunk Seconded08/31/2015 - 7:43pm

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