Does the French 'three strikes' anti-piracy law work? In France, the High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI) is keeping its powder dry. While it's issued almost half a million warnings, it's prosecuted nobody in its first nine months. Although it is thinking about it.
- On the one hand, heureuse Bastille Day, vous mangeurs de fromage de droits d'auteur contrefacteur.
- On The Other Hand, si j'accuser un tiers de la population, est ma loi un Ã¢ne?
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: The lowest score possible in Super Mario Bros?..
Peter Sayer says:
[T]he authority has received more than 18 million reports from rights holders of unauthorized file-sharing of copyright works, each one identifying...the IP address alleged to have [broken the law]. ... [T]he authority has sent more than 1 million requests to French Internet service providers asking them to identify the subscribers.
The authority is now considering whether to initiate legal proceedings against a dozen or so subscribers who have already been reported a third time. ... Such legal action could lead to a fine of up to ‚¬1,500...and the suspension of Internet access for up to a month.
Max Colchester enumerates the results so far:
...470,000 first warnings, no fines, and not one Internet connection cut off. Some copyright holders...are wondering whether they are getting any bang for their buck.
Hadopi is putting pressure on the music industry to offer up a...juicy carrot: cheap and easy to use Web sites where songs can be downloaded legally. Copyright holders need to “change their behavior by promoting a cheap and legal offer,” Hadopi [said].
...[T]he agency is confident that overall its strategy will bear fruit. Most people...refrain from pirating music again, according to the agency. (Or they just stream it from a Web site, safe in the knowledge that Hadopi doesn’t track this type of delinquency.)
Ernesto freaks out:
... The scope of the operation is mind-boggling, but whether it will result in the desired outcome is yet to be seen. ... Since October last year the IP-addresses of 18 Million file-sharers were reported by their...tracking partner Trident Media Guard. ... The number of people who received a second warning is currently...20,000 and...10 Internet subscribers received a third warning.
...[M]any people doubt whether the costs involved with the massive operation are justified. ... [A] report from the UN’s Human Rights Council labeled Internet access a human right, arguing that Hadopi...should be repealed. ... [I]t is also highly questionable how significant the claimed deterrent effect of the disconnection threat is. ... [M]any BitTorrent users simply turn to proxies and VPNs to conceal their identities.
And Reporters Without Borders play their Joker:
[We] call on the French authorities not to engage in a statistics and public relations war and instead to draw the appropriate conclusions by repealing the HADOPI law...[which] directly violates...free expression by making it possible to disconnect people from the Internet.
...United Nations special rapporteur for freedom of expression Franck Larue...cited France’s “gradual response” and the United Kingdom’s 2010 Digital Economy Act as examples of measures that violate the...International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe...has also just identified the Internet as a fundamental right, saying...that “states have the duty to guarantee Internet access for their citizens.”
Meanwhile, Kit Eaton does his sums:
...[I]t's actually staggering: 18 million French citizens have been identified as music pirates. ... France's population is only around 62 million. ... If 29% French people are online pirates, is the law strictly reflecting the needs/wants of the population? ...
[I]s it sensible to make it illegal? ... [I]t seems clear that the structure of the music industry is back-to-front. Why do people pirate? ... [P]erhaps it's really because the legal tracks actually cost too much.
Today's Skateboarding Duck...
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.