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

Recent reports have surfaced claiming the end of Hadopi, the French graduated-response law combatting Internet piracy, could be near. The news comes after a French Ministry of Culture commission on digital content and cultural policy led by Pierre Lescure released a mid-term report critical of the law earlier this week. Sources close to the commission, however, denied any plans to scrap the anti-piracy law.

While the commission won't disclose its full report until March, the initial study is based on some 60 interviews with organizations, companies and key individuals from entertainment industry. The majority of testimony reportedly came from consumer groups who were critical of Hadopi's lack of results.

France's HADOPI Study Shows Decrease in Piracy

"The efficiency of Hadopi is hard to evaluate precisely," the report read as it praised the fall of P2P usage but stressed the drop may have been driven by new forms of illegal access to content through direct download or streaming, which are not monitored by Hadopi.

Hadopi was implemented in 2009 under France's former President Nicolas Sarkozy and takes a graduated response towards individuals found to be engaging in copyright infringement. So far, however, only one Internet user has been convicted and forced to pay a €150 fine (about $200) -- the final stage of the graduated penalties.

The report suggested possible solutions to improve the law could include reorienting the punishment towards services financially benefitting from online piracy (illegal streamers, download services, torrent sites) rather than consumers. It also recommends increasing the responsibility of ISPs and host sites, reducing the visibility of illegal content in search engines and limiting the financial resources of illegal services.

Contacted by Billboard.biz, a source close to the Lescure commission firmly dismissed any intention of getting rid of Hadopi, stressing the mid-term report was only intended to summarize the ideas gathered by the mission so far. The current report does not contain the mission's official recommendations and there is more testimony to be given before a final report is issued.

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After the election of socialist François Hollande as France's President in May 2012, the new minister of Culture Aurelie Filippetti appointed Lescure, the CEO of Paris theater Marigny and a former CEO of French leading paid TV channel Canal +, to lead a commission on defining a government-backed global strategy on cultural goods in the Internet era.

Hadopi declined to comment for this story. Representative of French labels body SNEP (Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique) did not respond at press time.

Additional reporting by Richard Smirke, London

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