TorrentFreak is reporting that new statistics have been released on the success of France’s two-year old law that gives digital copyright violators three chances to change their ways before formal legal proceedings begin. Managed by the Hadopi Agency, 3 million IP addresses were initially identified to be illegally sharing files in France. Of those, 1.15 million were considered worthy of a first notice (or in American parlance, a strike). From there, only 102,854 were issued a second warning, and only 340 of those were issued a third and final warning. That third warning, contrary to popular belief, was not a court summons, though, but just a third documented slap on the wrist. Those 340 individuals actually had one more chance to stop their pirating ways. Just like in the previous rounds, most of them did, but a scurrilous 30 continued to disobey Hadopi and are now being sued for their wrongdoings.
What do you call two years and a reported 12 million euro annual budget used to send a bunch of emails and letters that have resulted in 30 lawsuits? A resounding SUCCESS! Yes, the President of the Commission for Rights Protection, Mireille Imbert-Quaretta, is summing up their efforts thusly. Other lawmakers, in particular the French Culture Minister Aurelie Filipetti, disagree, calling the project, “an expensive way to send a million e-mails.” ZING!
While the continued decrease in offenders after each round of warnings does demonstrate that pirates can be ‘reformed’ through what the French government is calling ‘education,’ the initial problem that the law was supposed to help curb — the loss of income by rights holders from illegal file sharing — doesn’t seem to have been reversed. People who download and share licensed content illegally are not likely to go out and pay for said content when confronted about their activities. To the major label’s detriment, those folks are just not going to consume that content at all, nor are they going to be informed enough about that content to share it with their friends, go to the content creator’s concert, or buy any other merchandise that they can’t get for free online associated with the content. Major labels still think that suing people who are the pollinators of their artists popularity is the way to go, and now France has 30 examples to help them support this totally incorrect idea. Vive la Major Labels.