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

Since being put into law in 2009, France's Hadopi has resulted in over 1.25 million warnings sent to broadband subscribers, two guilty convictions and just one fine, according to numbers released by the country's Minster of Justice. Interpretations of those numbers are sure to vary.

Hadopi, the agency set up to administer the law, has sent 1.15 million first warnings, 100,000 second warnings and 340 third warnings. Only 14 cases have been forwarded to local prosecutors, and judgments have been reached in three of the cases. Just one person has been convicted and fined (€150), one person was convicted but not fined and another person was acquitted. Of the remaining cases sent to prosecutors, nine cases are still being investigated, one is being scheduled for court and one has been filed without a trial.

Hadopi, France's Anti-Piracy Law, Could Be In Jeopardy Following Commission Report

People may read into these numbers according to their biases. A critic may point to the disparity between Hadopi's €10.4 million ($13.7 million) 2012 budget and the single €150 ($198) fine obtained thus far.

A supporter may argue that Hadopi's mostly educational mission is difficult to measure. An unbiased opinion comes from research http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1989240 by economists at Wellesley College and Carnegie Mellon University that found an improvement in French iTunes sales from the four major labels they attribute to awareness of Hadopi.

A report on Hadopi earlier this month by the French Ministry of Culture led to widespread speculation the graduated response program was coming to an end. But a source close to the commission dismissed the idea that Hadopi would be scrapped and stressed the report simply gathered different ideas about the law. For example, the report suggests Hadopi could switch its emphasis from individuals to services -- torrent sites, illegal streaming sites -- that financially benefit from copyright infringement.

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