Screen shot of a graphic from HADOPI's new report showing the effectiveness of its three-warning system.

Seventeen months after issuing its first warning emails, HADOPI, the French governmental copyright protection body installed to administer the country's three-strike copyright protection law, has released new data that shows the law is having a positive impact on digital music sales while curbing piracy.

The government's study was based on a series of results from both third-party studies and internal measures. While methodologies to measure the use of illegal filesharing on P2P networks vary, one report showed illegal file sharing of copyrighted materials on peer-to-peer networks in France fell 43% during 2011. French copyrighted content only accounted for 4.5% of the total number of files illegally made available on P2P networks at the global level in December 2011, against 6.2% in January 2011.

French SCPP Report: Rights Income Increases 10 Percent, Digital Continues Growth, Illegal Copyright Claims Down

The report also listed data based on over 755,000 subscribers having received at least one notice for illegal downloading. The report showed that 95% of those receiving a first-time HADOPI notice "did not give rise to the need for a second notice for illegal behavior on peer-to-peer networks." 92% of those receiving a second notice and 98% of those getting a third notice reportedly refrained from illegal P2P downloading.

The report also noted that 71% of subscribers receiving a third warning contacted HADOPI primarily to state that they commit to taking action to secure their access to the Internet or to putting an end to all illegal consumption via peer-to-peer networks.

The study also stressed, "There is no indication that there has been a massive transfer [over] to streaming technologies or direct downloads." Audience measurements by Médiamétrie-NetRatings between December 2010 and December 2011 on such P2P websites as MegaVideo, Hotfile, Rapidshare, Streamiz, Allostreaming show an overall stability in usage patterns, with some services enjoying an increase in their audience.

At the same time, legal platforms did not surge significantly though some services such as Spotify, Beezik or Qobuz showed a strong traffic increases.

Figures unveiled in January by French labels trade body SNEP showed the French recorded music market was still on the down trend, although possibly in a landing phase. The market dropped 3.9 % in 2011 with the 25% growth on digital sales not enough to compensate for the 11.5% drop in physical sales.

French independent record labels organizations UPFI and SPPF praised HADOPI study in a press release, stressing it was crucial to give HADOPI time to prove its efficiency. Political debates on HADOPI have been tense in the past months with French presidential elections approaching in April and Nicolas Sarkozy's main opponent François Hollande remaining vague on his intention to maintain HADOPI, if elected.

The 16-page Hadopi report is available for download in English here.