Weekly News Roundup (20 September 2015)

Another pretty quiet week, so we should get through this one rather quickly.


The two main news stories this week are both about three-strikes, and while the stories cover two different countries, the conclusions from both may very well be the same.

The first has to do with New Zealand’s own implementation of three-strikes, and how rights-holders there have now been turned off on the idea due to the cost of it all. It costs about $25 for each warning to be sent, and $275 to go from the first warning to the third one and the actual complaint being filed with the tribunal.

Three Strikes

Three-strike laws around the world have yet to prove to be an effective way to help increase sales for rights-holders

It strikes me as rich that these same rights-holders that are now complaining about the high cost of it all are the same people who exaggerated the financial cost of piracy in order to make their case for a three-strikes. If a single downloader can cause $1.92 million in damages (or if running a piracy site is a worse crime than robbing a bank), surely $275 isn’t that much to spend in order to bring and end to this.

Or is it more likely that the true cost of piracy isn’t worth anywhere near $275 per downloader, that someone who is intent on not paying for something, will not pay for anything even if they’re prevented from downloading stuff.

And now, let’s take a look at the French three-strikes experiment, one of the longest running. France’s ‘Hadopi’ has just turned five, and after sending 5.4 million notices, it appears to not have had a dramatic effect on the piracy scene in the country. Actually, I don’t know what the piracy landscape is like in France, but I do know that if Hadopi had been successful in turning the tide on piracy, the pro-copyright lobby would be screaming about it from the top of every roof. Actually, there was some noises being made about the piracy rate being down, and Hapodi’s five year stats do back this up – only 10% of first time offenders continued to download to receive a second warning (and only 0.57% went on to receive a third warning). But there has been deafening silence on just what effect this “on paper” reduction in piracy has had on revenue, which from what I understand, continues to fall in a number of creative industries.

The fact that people can simply switch to a different method of piracy that’s not monitored by Hadopi probably explains why a fall in piracy (the monitored kind) does not translate to more sales. That and Hadopi only being able to process around 50% of infringement, also means a lot of second and third offenders are not being caught.

But both stories this week prove one important point, that the only statistic that matters is the the one with the dollar (pound/euro) sign at the front. There should only be one goal when it comes to stopping piracy, and that’s to stem losses due to it and increase revenue for rights-holders. If anti-piracy efforts, whether it’s three-strikes, criminal prosecution, or site censorship, does not lead to a rise in sales that’s greater than the cost of the effort, then these efforts should be labeled a failure and discontinued immediately.


Sad to say that this is all I have for you this week. But nice and short isn’t always a bad thing though. See you next week.


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