France's Copyright Enforcement Agency Sending 2,000 Infringement Notices A Day

-- Since November France's Hadopi authority has warned 100,000 suspected copyright infringers and identified hundreds of repeat offenders, according to a report in French newspaper Le Figaro. Hadopi is the government agency established by France's 2009 anti-piracy law of the same name.

A few thousand warnings each day could be just a drop in the bucket. The report claims each day Hadopi receives notices from rights owners with the email addresses of some 50,000 suspected infringers. Le Figaro's report puts that number at 70,000 per day and says French officials are notifying just 3% of all infringers in order to test the process and gauge reactions.

Two weeks ago a report claimed Hadopi was sending out just 20% of the expected number of warnings to suspected infringers. The 2,000 warnings sent each day is well below the 10,000 daily warnings estimated when the law was passed in 2009.

In 2011, Hadopi plans to ramp up the number of warnings it sends to infringers and will contact repeat offenders by certified mail, Le Figaro reports.

The entertainment industry should closely monitor how Hadopi's actions unfold. France's tough stance on Internet piracy is seen by many as a model system for deterring piracy and fostering a more hospitable climate for legitimate digital music and video services. For those contemplating similar measures, much can be learned from France's experiences in operating the Hadopi agency, the effectiveness of the warnings and penalties and any legal challenges that arise.

In the U.S. similar efforts are more likely to result from private negotiations between ISPs and content owners. Because Congress will need to tackle numerous pressing issues in the next few years, it would be a surprise if U.S. lawmakers show interest in something similar to Hadopi.

( Le Figaro, via TorrentFreak)

Rapidshare Hires Lobbying Firm To Fight Piracy Accusations

-- Speaking of piracy, Rapidshare has taken an interesting preemptive step by hiring U.S.-based lobbying firm Dutko. Earlier this year the company was named one of the top six infringing websites in the world by members of Congress. Rapidshare allows users to host digital files, access them online and share them with others. The site does have non-infringing uses -- not every file hosted is a major label song or a Hollywood movie -- but it is well known to be place where copyrighted material is hosted and downloaded by others.

In May, Congress's Anti-Piracy Caucus singled out Germany-based Rapidshare as one of the world's top six most "notorious" websites in its "2010 International Piracy Watch List." Also on the list were The Pirate Bay, Baidu, IsoHunt, mp3fiesta, RMX4U.com. All six web sites are based outside the U.S.

"Intellectual property must be protected if our economy is to thrive -- and enforcing these protections does not stop at the water's edge," Congressman Adam Schiff said in a statement for the release of the watch list.

(Deutsche Welle)

Only 21% of U.S. Voters Believe FCC Should Regulate Internet

-- Just 21% of likely U.S. voters believe the FCC should regulate the Internet as it does TV and radio, according to a new survey by Rasmussen Reports. Fifty-four percent are opposed to such regulations and 25% are not sure. Fifty-six percent of voters believe the FCC would use its regulatory authority to pursue a political agenda. Over half believe more free market competition is better than more regulation protecting Internet users. The survey was taken just after last week's vote by the FCC to impose new "net neutrality" rules. ( Press release)

Tampa's Vinyl Fever Closing After 20 Years

-- Vinyl Fever in Tampa, Florida is closing its doors in February after being in business for nearly 30 years. The business has been struggling in recent years and the owners decided to close the store once its current lease expires. The store is a member of the Alliance of Independent Media Stores (AIMS).

( Tampabay.com)

Vevo Ranked No. 19 on ComScore's Top U.S. Web Properties

-- Music video network Vevo ranked 19th in comScore's list of top web properties in the U.S. in November. Vevo's 57.8 million unique visitors well ahead of 20th-ranked Wal-Mart's 51.8 million uniques and just behind the 57.9 million uniques pulled in by Answer.com's sites. Yahoo's sites ranked No. 1 with 181 million uniques. Facebook was the leading standalone site at No. 4 with 151.7 million uniques. At No. 10 with 83.9 million uniques, Amazon was the top retailer on the list.

( comScore press release)

'Summertime' Is Limelight's No. 1 Requested Cover Song of 2010

-- "Summertime," written by George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, was the most requested cover song of 2010 for RightsFlow's mechanical license clearance service, Limelight. The other nine songs in the top ten are all well known standards: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "My Funny Valentine," "What a Wonderful World," "Autumn Leaves," "Hallelujah," "Moon River," "Misty," "I Wish You Love" and "Imagine." Holiday-related songs were excluded from the list. "Hallelujah" is a Leonard Cohen song and probably the least known of the ten. Since its initial release in 1984 the songs has been recorded by the likes of John Cale, k.d. lang, Rufus Wainwright and, perhaps most notably, Jeff Buckley on his 1994 debut album, "Grace."