Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Three Strikes & Not Out?

Fate of French Anti-Piracy Law

Four years ago, France implemented the toughest anti-piracy legislation in the world. However, today things may change due to the France’s new government. At the moment, the country’s anti-piracy legislation states that repeat offenders will have their Internet account suspended, but these drastic measures were regarded as unconstitutional and abrasive from the very beginning.

Despite claims of the ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy that the “graduated response system” was a good idea, it turned out that the legislation was too expensive to justify the effort. After so many years and millions of euros spent on manpower and e-mail notices, HADOPI agency may go offline forever. Indeed, 12 million euros annually and 60 officers is quite an expensive way to send out e-mails. Now ADOPI is said t stifle the growth of digital economy. There were proposals to switch from disconnection to fines of 60-80 euros for repeat offenders. The recent reports favored the disbandment of HADOPI, but not before transferring some of its prerogatives to the France’s media regulator.

These ideas proved to gain the support of governmental officials, despite other reports, showing that disconnecting repeat infringers pushed others towards legitimate alternatives. At the same time, a French recording company group revealed that the music industry’s revenues decreased by 6.7% in the first quarter of 2013, with France’s population preferring unauthorized alternatives. Indeed, the number of people visiting “rogue websites” has increased by 7% within the last 3 years. The recording company admitted that disconnecting people from the web is not a solution. The better option is e-mail notification system and bigger fines for repeat infringers. In the meanwhile, HADOPI supporters claim that disconnecting subscribers from the web was never the point of the legislation. Instead, it was meant to be an educational and deterrent measure.

France’s “three-strikes” system was later adopted by other countries, including South Korea and the United States. But the entertainment industry is still recommended to focus more on blocking infringing portals rather than on individuals. It is still to be seen what France will do next and how these changes will affect the entertainment industry.

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