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French "Three Strikes" Records 18 Million Incidents of Piracy, Only 10 Investigated

Posted by: , 16:38 AEST, Sat July 16, 2011

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Over 18 million incidents of piracy has been recorded under the French "three-strikes" monitoring program, but only 10 are facing sanctions after reaching their third strike

The French "Hadopi" three-strikes anti-piracy campaign has been launched for nearly a year now, and some recent stats show how effective, and ineffective, the program has been.

Since October 2010, over 18 million incidents of copyright infringement has been recorded by third party agencies tasked to track people's online usage. But despite the huge number of piracy incidents in a country that only has 37 million Internet users (over the age of 11, as of November 2010), only 900,000 IP addresses have been matched with real user information, and of this, only half have been forwarded a "first strike" warning email.

While this means only 26% of piracy incidents have actually led to some kind of warning (although many incidents may belong to the same Internet account), of the 470,000 that were emailed a first warning, only 20,000 "second strike" emails were sent out. And amazingly, only 10 out of the 20,000 have so far received a third strike, and now face a fine or Internet suspension. 

This does seem to indicate that three-strikes is working to scare people away from downloading pirated content, turning 450,000 first time offenders away from piracy just by a single email. 

Or, more likely (as there has been no information provided so far to indicate any sort of decrease in piracy in France), people have found alternative ways of pirating content that can't be monitored by Hadopi, including direct downloads from digital lockers, or BitTorrent via a VPN. And the French government spending millions per year to "get" 10 people, seems like quite an extravagance in the current economic climate.

But one bad side effect of three-strikes in France, and the associated 18 million incidents being monitored by the government (or government contracted agencies), has put France on the "country under surveillance" list by Reporters Without Borders, joining the likes of North Korea, Iran and Syria.

Do you think three-strikes is a cost effective way to prevent piracy, and if it is, do you think the loss of privacy is worth it? Post your opinion in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread:


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