Hadopi strikes at the heart of online piracy


Despite its recent budget cut of 25 percent, French anti-piracy agency Hadopi will increase efforts to clamp down on online piracy by sending 1.1 million "strike" warnings to Internet users this year, up from the 668,000 sent in 2012.

The plans were detailed in a budget report published by French language news site Numerama.

The Hadopi law was introduced in 2009 to protect copyrighted works on the Internet and encourage the consumption of legal content online.

Hadopi monitors file-sharing networks and collaborates with ISPs to issue warnings to Internet users infringing copyright using a three-strike system.

In 2012, there were 613,271 email warnings (first strike), 54,712 warnings sent by post (second strike), and 305 cases sent to further action (third strike). The third strike leads to possible fines and suspension of Internet access. 

Hadopi recently published figures based on a user survey that found its three-strike system to be working, with the consumption of legal content increasing and consumption of pirated content dropping in France. 

However, last summer the French government announced plans to cut back on Hadopi’s funding, with culture minister Aurelie Filipetti calling it "too expensive to justify".

Rebecca Delorey, partner at Bird & Bird in Paris, said that the budget cut should not prevent Hadopi from pursuing its objectives, and that although it has attracted some criticism, it had succeeded in raising awareness of IP protection issues.

But there is still work to be done. She said: “According to Hadopi’s own estimates, revenues lost by IP rights holders as a result of illegal downloading and streaming by French Internet users still represent €51 to 72million annually.”

She said that although just one fine had been issued since Hadopi’s introduction, the system’s efficacy cannot be gauged by measuring how many Internet pirates have been tackled.

“The end objective of Hadopi is not to fine Internet users, but to change their online behaviour,” she said. 

“According to Hadopi statistics, 95 percent of those users who have received a warning do not repeat offend. Furthermore, stakeholders, particularly in the music industry, seem to believe Hadopi has made inroads to changing online behaviour.”

This article was first published on 24 January 2013 in World IP Review

Hadopi, online piracy, numerama, three-strike system, file-sharing

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