A French academic study is casting doubt on the likely success of the French 'Hadopi' anti-piracy law.

The three-strikes plan was voted through in France in September 2009, although has yet to be implemented. Hadopi is the name of the government agency that will enforce the anti-piracy measures.

Although it has not yet been introduced, there has been considerable coverage of the tough new measures - yet a new study shows an overall increase in piracy. That is down to increased use of methods of online infringement other than P2P, which the new law targets, suggesting users may get round the new law by finding alternatives.

Between November and December 2009, the Rennes University surveyed 2,000 people by phone to check whether the widely covered adoption of the law had made an impact on their music habits.

The study found that less than 15% of Internet users downloading through peer-to-peer networks had ceased after Hadopi's adoption. But amongst them, only a third stopped accessing music illegally by any method, with the other two thirds using alternate means of access whether via illegal streaming (such as Allostreaming.com) or file-hosting sites such as Rapidshare or Megaupload.

The study says these methods are covered by the Hadopi law.

Overall, the number of people accessing music illegally outside of P2P networks increased 27%.

According to the study, the proportion of people accessing music illegally online increased by 3%, from 29.5% to 30.3%, since the law was voted through.

The study underlines one of the most criticized aspects of the three-strikes plan, which for now is only targeting P2P networks users.

Although the law in itself is not that specific, the decree of application
filed on March 7 by the government states that the name of the P2P network used for copyright infringement is required in each case.

In the music industry, the general feeling is that P2P networks remain a major tool to access music illegally.

According to the study, 14% of the users surveyed use peer-to-peer networks, against 20% for illegal video streaming sites such as Allostreaming and 9% for file-hosting sites such as RapidShare.

The survey found that 22% declared having downloaded a song from a legal platform. And half of the 'pirates' said they would actually also buy music or video online, which led the authors of the study (Sylvain Dejean, Thierry Pénard and Raphaël Suire) to stress the potential economic dangers of cutting Internet access, as contained in the new law.

The Hadopi law has yet to be fully implemented, with some decrees yet to be filed.

"It is way too early to judge on the law's impact," an Hadopi spokesperson told Billboard.biz, declining to say when the first warnings would be sent.