Business Matters: 700,000 French ISP Subscribers Have Received an Infringement Warning
Business Matters: 700,000 French ISP Subscribers Have Received an Infringement Warning

The French three-strike copyright protection law known by the acronym HADOPI, which was implemented in 2010, is beginning to have an impact on internet users' download habits, according to the first results of a government study entitled 'Biens Culturels et Usages d'Internet : Pratiques et Perceptions des Internautes Français' (Cultural Goods and Internet Habits: Use and Perception by French Internet Users). The report was unveiled last week by French minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand at a Paris press conference.

The study was based on a survey of 1,500 French residents and led by French body HADOPI, the independent authority created by French law to handle the three-strike system encourage legal online usage. HADOPI stands for the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des Droits sur Internet (High Authority for the Dissemination of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet).

The report claims that 50% of all French believe HADOPI is a positive initiative, which runs contrary to many press reports claiming the French overwhelmingly rejected the law.

Half the respondents of the survey also said HADOPI motivated them to access online content "more often legally." And 72% of the 100 people who personally received a HADOPI warning o knew of someone who did said they either ended or reduced illegal downloading.

"These are largely positive results," said Culture Minister Mitterrand, adding: "HADOPI was a bet; it is now a reality."

HADOPI began sending email warnings in October 2010. In January, the government agency said It sent 70,000 warnings altogether and launched the second wave of the three-strike system, with second warning letters sent to repeat infringers.

The body is now issuing 5,000 warnings per day, according to HADOPI's president Marie-Françoise Marias, who also attended the press conference. While declining to give exact up to date figures, Marais said thousands of second warning letters have been sent. No HADOPI violators have yet had to appear in court, which is the next step in the three-strike system.

Some French media reports casted doubt on the new study unveiled by HADOPI, suggesting for example that the panel had been selected amongst people who were already aware of HADOPI.

HADOPI will unveil detailed figures on its warning policy in July.