HADOPI May Be Succeeding -- In Driving French Customers To Dotcom's Mega

from the don't-say-we-didn't-warn-you dept

Last week, Techdirt reported on the news that falling numbers of P2P users are being trumpeted as a victory for HADOPI's "three strikes" approach in France, but that it is a hollow victory, since sales of recorded music are still dropping in that country. The French site Numerama points out something else interesting happening there (in French), as revealed by the following tweet from Kim Dotcom:

#Mega Top 5 premium membership countries: 1. France 2. Spain 3. Belgium 4. United States 5. Germany - Thanks a lot for buying!
Now, of course, as Techdirt always emphasizes, correlation is not causation, but it's pretty suggestive that at precisely the same time that P2P use is dropping in France, its citizens should turn out to be the biggest premium users of Dotcom's Mega service. This is, after all, precisely what we and everyone else have been predicting: that people would simply move from P2P services where they can be observed, to others -- like Mega's file-hosting site -- where they cannot.

This interpretation is supported by the other notable fact to emerge from Dotcom's tweet: that after French users, it is Spaniards who are signing up for Mega's premium membership in droves -- another group who have had a punitive copyright infringement law imposed on them recently. This means that in about a year's time, we can probably expect the Spanish department tasked with implementing Ley Sinde to publish figures showing that the number of P2P users is falling -- omitting to note, of course that they, like their French counterparts, have simply moved to alternatives instead.

Now, some will doubtless use these trends to argue that Mega should be shut down just as Megaupload was. But the correct inferences to draw are that HADOPI and Ley Sinde are just an expensive waste of time, and that people don't expect to get everything for free, as the popularity in France and Spain of Dotcom's paid-for Mega service shows. It's just a matter of the recording and film industries offering the public what they want, in a form they want, at a reasonable price. Is that really too much to ask?

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    I would love to see some usenet, proxy, and vpn figures for France and Spain. I am guessing that HADOPI has created some fantastic business opportunities for services that are a lot harder to track and shut down than torrents.

    Next up, France and Spain will probably try to go after payment processors for usenet and vpn providers. That would be a big win for Bitcoin and credit card systems based out of tiny Caribbean countries with dodgy banking laws.

    There probably is a negative side in all of this. With all of these moles being whacked by the media syndicates, exterminators and lawn service companies are probably losing a lot of business.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    And then they'll turn to Mega as the source of all evils in society just like they did with Napster, TPB, Newzbin, Demonoid, STC................................................................................................. ....................................................................... [ad infinitum]

    One can only hope they spend all their freaking money this way and die a blazing death with lots of financial pain.

     

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    •  
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      fogbugzd (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:50am

      Re:

      It looks like Dotcom is branching Mega out into other things relating to a broad range of "privacy" services. That will at the same time give his service some legitimate cover and piss off every government in the world.

       

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      •  
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        Ninja (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:02am

        Re: Re:

        Oh I love it. I'd LOVE to be in the backstage of a service that pisses off governments and big companies. Yeah.

        They managed to turn TPB, Dotcom into martyrs and symbols to an entire new generation.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Have you tried Mega? Truthfully it's not all that great.

           

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            Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Have you tried Mega? Truthfully it's not all that great.
            Which is ironic if you think about it. Imagine how luke-warm (and cheap) a legitimate service would have to be to beat it hands down if it met the basic criteria of flexibility, usability and reasonable pricing.
            If they spent even a 1/4 of the money they spend tilting at windmills on providing a service instead they'd be a lot more effective against "piracy" and make money at the same time.
            Instead they go for the "throw money at the problem with no return" route every time... *le sigh*

             

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 1:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That is exactly what it makes it so funny.

             

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          •  
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            Ninja (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 2:43am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yes I did. It's just another regular service. TPB layout is shitty, their search mechanism is horrible. And yet they offer a better service than the MAFIAA in general ;)

            Plus they have stood up and survived the MAFIAA's attempt to destroy them via corrupt and dishonest tactics. So I ask you: do we really care about the service they provide anymore? Or have they become legends, symbols of this fight?

             

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:04am

      Re:

      One must also hope that don't bring in the totalitarian control over people via the Internet that their efforts to control piracy is leading to.

       

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:54am

    I don't see how this would be connected, Mega is just a cloud backup service like Dropbox or Skydrive.

    \whistles nonchalantly.

     

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  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:05am

    Those numbers are especially impressive when you take the population of those nations into account. That France, Spain and Belgium can beat the United States, with over 300 million people (and the 3rd highest population in the world) at Mega users shows just how heavily Mega is over performing there compared to the US.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 11:33am

      Re:

      I am very surprised... Why Belgium?

      Populations:
      France 52 million internet users
      Spain 32 million internet users
      Belgium 8,5 million internet users!!!
      USA about 245 million internet users
      Germany 68 million internet users

      http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

      France is an obvious number one because of laws, same somewhat goes for Spain, while USA and Germany are there because of mahney and population.
      Why is Belgium ahead of the last 2? UK should be able to blow them out of the water with 53 million internet users and even the neighbors in Netherlands with 16 million internet users where the culture, economy and laws should be about the same, is lower!

       

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        Dionaea (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

        Re: Re:

        "Where the laws should be about the same"

        Maybe you should ask someone from the entertainment industry about the Netherlands. We're the banana republic of Europe, privately downloading infringing stuff is almost legal here (technically it's illegal, but nobody is getting prosecuted).

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 3:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Not really that different here in Denmark. No private person is getting prosecuted. It has become far too expensive since about 2001 when courts started to demand evidence for eached claimed breach (previously it was enough to proove access to copying technology and guestimate the maximum rate of breaches, which the person then had to pay for)!

          The only real differences are in politicians being far more clear about their intentions in Netherlands. Unless you are implying that Belgium is particularly nasty against copyright infringement (which would proove the point of the article pretty well) it is not that much of a stretch.

           

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:25am

    'Is that really too much to ask?'

    of course it is! to do so would mean that those industries having to admit that what they have been doing for decades was/is wrong! it would mean those industries having to relinquish the control they have had for decades and cannot bear the thought of losing! it would mean those industries having to admit that customers are right! it would mean those industries having to listen, instead of dictating continuously, so that more protectionist laws were introduced and more lives ruined over a 2bit film!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:50am

    "Last week, Techdirt reported on the news that falling numbers of P2P users are being trumpeted as a victory for HADOPI's "three strikes" approach in France, but that it is a hollow victory, since sales of recorded music are still dropping in that country."

    One could argue that at least sales aren't dropping as much as before, which could be a sign that HADOPI is, in fact, working...except that, if you factor in what HADOPI has already cost, that argument becomes irrelevant.

    No matter how you look at it, HADOPI has been a failed experiment.

     

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      silverscarcat (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:53am

      Re:

      Well...

      I wouldn't say COMPLETELY failed...

      After all, it's given proof that this doesn't work, so...

      As an experiment to prove that it can stop piracy, yes, it failed, as an experiment to prove that people will go back to the labels in droves, it also failed...

      But as an experiment showing that the government is wasting its time fighting piracy? It succeeded tremendously.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 11:45am

      Re:

      No matter how you look at it, HADOPI has been a failed experiment.

      Fine. So if it has no effect, why are you obsessed over it?

       

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      •  
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        Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

        Re: Re:

        I don't think the word "obsessed" means what you think it means...

        If you are asking why it's newsworthy, well that's pretty obvious to even a moron in a hurry. When a country passes draconian legislation based on lobbying and not research, and that legislation is costing millions in taxpayer's dollars, and the legislation is shown to not have the effect that it was intended for, this is newsworthy... period. French citizens should be interested in this article as it shows a complete waste of their tax dollars in addition to a curtailment of their rights at the expense of a dying industry, and the rest of the world should be interested as well before they decide to waste the tax dollars of their citizens on a similar proposal equally destined for failure.

        Hopefully that clears it up for you, but if even those words were too large for you to comprehend, next time I can try explaining it with a popup book.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

        Re: Re:

        The same way killer wales toy with their prey before dinner.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

        Re: Re:

        Because it's shitty law that inhibits potential monetisation of content, both legitimate and otherwise? In addition, it shows that there is a market for the content, but it is economically unviable for consumers to take part.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:53pm

        Re: Re:

        "Fine. So if it has no effect, why are you obsessed over it?"

        He never said the law has no effect. He's saying the law has failed to accomplish its goal.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 5:36pm

        Re: Re:

        You don't think an initiative that has failed to deliver on its goals, cost millions of dollars from taxpayers, and spent two years to catch the wrong person warrants at least some concern?

        Hell, piracy has close to no effect - you can't even argue about "lost sales" - so why are you obsessed over it?

         

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      •  
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        Picturapoesis, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 4:11am

        Re: Re:

        Maybe because it cost 70 millions of euros to get this crap on, while every web expert predicted the obvious fail of it. We, french people, pay for a crap we knew it would end like this.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

      Re:

      It has successfully funnelled money away from useful government services into the enforcement arm of the entertainment industry.

      Big win for the industry any way you look at it

       

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      Ninja (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 2:45am

      Re:

      One could argue that at least sales aren't dropping as much as before, which could be a sign that HADOPI is, in fact, working...

      Before HADOPI sales were actually increasing (albeit slowly than they wanted) if memory serves. No really, it's a complete and utter success. For us the pirates =D

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 11:43am

    Now, of course, as Techdirt always emphasizes, correlation is not causation, but it's pretty suggestive that at precisely the same time that P2P use is dropping in France, its citizens should turn out to be the biggest premium users of Dotcom's Mega service

    Unless it serves your purpose.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    Well, here's hoping that once the MAFIAA & Their Stooge ISP's bring their krap 6 Strikes Policy it drives even more people to Mega.The more the merrier I say.
    All one needs to do is take a quick History Lesson of MAFIAA Copyright Laws through the 20TH Century to Present Day.
    The MAFIAA is the Disease and Knowledge is the Cure !

     

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  •  
    identicon
    dniMretsaM, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 1:05pm

    It's obvious that these two things aren't related. None of those free-loading pirates would be willing to pay for a premium membership. It defies all logic.

     

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    identicon
    aidian, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 7:57pm

    The key word in all this is reasonable pricing. What that means is "a whole lot less than they get for it now."

    I'm of mixed sympathies here. Yeah, a whole lot of that money goes to ginormous corporate profits, executive bonuses, and similar crap (those Gulfstream IVs don't pay for themselves you know). A whole lot gets raked off in big money deals for marquee actors, directors, singers, whatever. And don't forget all the cash scumbags like Ari Emmanuel suck off.

    But go look at the credits for, say, Game of Thrones. Ignore the big names. You're going to see hundreds of names. Each of those people is usually a skilled pro who expects to (and I would argue, normatively should) make a decent living. That ads up to a shit ton of money.

    I just don't see the business model coming together that will allow productions like that to be made if people want to spend the kind of money they give Kim Dotcom every month versus the kind of money they give HBO every month.

    Production is getting cheaper in a lot of ways, but it'll always take a lot of people to put together stuff like GOT or Breaking Bad or whatever. I can live without 'em, and if that's the price for a society that's dramatically freer to be both technological and cultural innovation, I'll take it and smile. But I don't think we should delude ourselves about what we'll be giving up.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:54am

      Re:

      Most of the people who worked on Game Of Thrones got paid standard union, one-off rates for their work at the time of production and will not be entitled to any future royalties. Those people will usually work without any problems on many different productions, on all sizes, regardless of whether GoT makes its budget back or makes a $100 million profit.

      The revenue brought back from GoT might affect whether the next season is made, or whether such lavish productions are made by HBO again, but it doesn't affect the current paycheck of those people - they're already working on something else if their skills are in demand, and getting paid for it.

      "I just don't see the business model coming together that will allow productions like that to be made if people want to spend the kind of money they give Kim Dotcom every month versus the kind of money they give HBO every month."

      HBO have the choice to take that money instead, as do Netflix (who are currently blocked from offering their service to people in France and Spain by the content licence holders), and every other service out there whose current setup means that they refuse it. Don't feel sorry for them just because they've decided to stick with a business model that doesn't allow them to take the money being offered..

      As for business model - there's many of them out there. Netflix produced House Of Cards for similar money without any problems, for example. Don't fall into the trap of believing that the legacy business models are the only ones that work - that's the whining of people who don't want to see their traditional cash cows disappearing.

       

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