France plans to scale back anti-piracy body Hadopi


The French government is planning to scale back the body responsible for monitoring illegal downloading and implementing a three-strike law, saying it is too expensive and ineffective.

Introduced in 2009, Hadopi tracks illegal downloading on P2P networks. It has issued around one million emailed warnings (first strike) and 99,000 letters (second strike) to Internet users. According to reports it has hauled 314 people before prosecutors, who can terminate users’ Internet connections for a month or fine them €1,500 (£1,300).

But to date, no-one has received either punishment, and culture minister Aurélie Filippetti has told French media that Hadopi is too expensive. It has cost around €12 million so far and employs 60 agents. She added it has not fulfilled its mission to encourage legal downloading.

The government has launched a consultation period, led by businessman Pierre Lescure, to decide how to revise Hadopi. It will hear from groups including the creative industry and consumers, and Lescure is expected to produce a report detailing recommendations within six months. According to reports, ministers want a new-look Hadopi in place by 2013.

When he was elected president in May 2012, Francois Hollande suggested he would either cut or revise Hadopi, which his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy pushed through in 2009.

Although the latest developments are unsurprising given Hollande’s stance towards Hadopi, partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse inParis, Bruno Ducoulombier, said it is too early to judge its effectiveness.

“This organisation is too young. A few years ago, everybody used to say the Uniform Domain- Name Dispute Resolution Policy would be useless. That is not the case any more.“Yes, it is too expensive, but it’s extremely difficult to say unless you compare it to other independent organisations, such as the data protection body in France.”

Ducoulombier said he was unsure by how much the government is planning to cut Hadopi’s budget.

This article was first published on 01 September 2012 in World IP Review

hadopi, ffw, udrp, piracy, hollande

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