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Hadopi at Five: Report on France's 'Three-Strikes' Show Success, Failures

Posted by: , 14:55 AEST, Sun September 20, 2015

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France's controversial three-strikes rules is now five years old - we take a look at whether it has been a success or a failure
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A report has been released on France's controversial "three-strikes" anti-piracy law to commemorate the five year anniversary of the law's introduction.

Dubbed Hadopi, named so after the agency responsible for managing the regime, the law was one of the first so-called "three-strikes" laws introduced anywhere around the world. Under the regime, users' Internet activities were monitored and are warned if they were found to be downloading infringing content. Upon the third time infringing activity was found, the action against the user was elevated, either to a fine or even disconnection.

Not all infringing activities were monitored under the regime, with the priority being placed on BitTorrent downloads - direct downloads and the increasingly popular streaming methods are not monitored.

When the Sarkozy government was elected out of office, the incoming government decided to review Hadopi. Hadopi was subsequently modified to no longer disconnect users, opting for fines instead.

This week, Hadopi turns five and to commemorate, the HADOPI agency has released statistics showing the full effect of the law.

In the 60 months covered by the stats, over 5.4 million infringement notices were sent out, or nearly 100,000 notices were month. 

These next set of figures, however, would be ones often cited by industry heavyweights when it comes to defending the effectiveness of Hadopi.

Only 10% of those warned the first time continued to download and were warned a second time. And only 2,900 users out of 5.4 million, or 0.57%, continued to download to receive a third strike.

This would seem to suggest that the warnings were effective in stopping downloaders, even if most of these third strikes did not lead to any fines or prosecutions.

However, as revealed by Hadopi recently, the agency only had resources to process around 50% of all reported infractions every month, meaning many potential second and third strikes went unnoticed. 

Furthermore, users who received warnings may simply have switched to one of the numerous other download or streaming methods that Hadopi does not monitor, or use a VPN service to mask their online identity.

Regardless of the effect Hadopi had on users' download habits, all signs suggest that it didn't really have a profound effect on revenue, which would have been the whole point of stopping piracy.


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