French Hadopi Scheme Gutted; Other Bad Ideas To Be Introduced Instead

from the three-strikes-is-out dept

France’s Hadopi graduated response approach, also known as “three strikes”, occupies a special place in the annals of copyright enforcement. It pioneered the idea of punishing users accused of sharing unauthorized copies of files, largely thanks to pressure from the previous French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who seems to have hated most aspects of this new-fangled Internet thing. Sadly, other countries took up the idea, including the UK with its awful Digital Economy Act, New Zealand, Spain and, more recently, the US.

Hadopi hasn’t been going too well. Despite putting out some dodgy statistics, the Hadopi agency hasn’t really been able to show that the three-strike approach is doing anything to reduce the number of unauthorized downloads. In the two years that Hadopi has been running, only one person has been brought to court — and he was innocent, but fined anyway.

As we reported, with Sarkozy gone, the new French President and his team are looking for ways to cut the cost of this scheme. Numerama has details of a recent presentation from the French Minister of Culture and her advisor, Pierre Lescure, about the future of Hadopi (original in French) that confirms the “three strikes” approach is likely to be dropped:

[Lescure] strongly suggests that the graduated response will be abandoned, because it is considered illegitimate and ineffective. “It is likely that a significant proportion of Internet users who have stopped P2P downloads have turned to other types of unmonitoried methods (streaming, direct download) rather than legal offerings, whether free or paid,” writes Mission Lescure. Sending out e-mails may be not stopped, but it seems certain that the criminal sanctions will be shelved.

That’s probably as close as the French government will ever come to admitting that Hadopi is a failure. Unfortunately, it seems that it will be bringing in three other bad ideas instead:

To put pressure on intermediaries. It is necessary “to make hosts more accountable by forcing them to remove promptly illegal content and to prevent their reappearance, and by strengthening international cooperation in order to punish sites that refuse to comply”;

De-list illegal offerings. It is necessary “to reduce the visibility of illegal offerings by acting on the listing in search engines, if necessary through legislation”;

“Turn off revenue sources for infringing sites (the “Follow the money” approach), by making intermediaries (advertisers, online payment services) liable.”

We’ve seen all these idea elsewhere — the first time in ACTA, the second in efforts to make Google skew its search results, and the last in SOPA. They’re all terrible in their own ways, but it’s good to see France apparently realizing that punishing the public is even worse.

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Comments on “French Hadopi Scheme Gutted; Other Bad Ideas To Be Introduced Instead”

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That’s funny, when this was the centerpiece of Wyden and Issa’s “OPEN Act” I seem to remember a lot of cheering. Why is it now a bad idea?

Because you remember incorrectly. Lots of people expressed serious reservations about the OPEN Act as well.

jakerome (profile) says:

Getting worse, not better

Totally disagree with the summary statement, “good to see France apparently realizing that punishing the public is even worse.”

While 3 strikes is anticonsumer and a mess as implemented, at least (in theory, if not in practice) its effect was limited to users that were infringing. The new approach would be 10x worse, with the government attempting to insert themselves into the decisions of every company on the internet. One step closer to governments legislating the results of search queries. One step closer to destroying revolutionary communications platforms like Flickr & YouTube. One step closer to chilling business innovation.

This is one tiny step forward, and two huge steps backwards.

Anonymous Coward says:

so, the one idea that will definitely work, the one that forces the entertainment industries to give customers what they want, how they want it (various formats), when they want it (in a timely manner, not in months time when the label boss thinks it’s right!), at a download speed that is fast and not interrupted and DRM free (most important) is obviously the idea to NOT employ then? why is it that almost every government almost everywhere is so intent on helping these backward thinking friggin industries carry on their backward thinking rather than getting them to wake up, smell the coffee and cater for their customers how their customers want to be catered for?? unbelievable!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

To be fair, it is easier to find dodgy commercial companies online than physically trying to go undercover to find the moneymen behind drug crimes.

Making advertisement networks an accomplish in infringement seems like a good idea regardless since some of them already have very strong ties to hackers, trojan/virus fabricaters, surveillance cookie networks and some of them even seems to have ties to mafia-like organisations (the last one is hearsay from ACTA-supporters and should therefore be taken with a shovel of salt. The rest can be genuinely sourced.).

Online payment services are far more controversial. Such a service shows actual support from users, making a lawsuit extremely problematic in PR-terms.
It is essentially a right for police or private companies to do as the three letter agencies in USA did in the Wikileaks case. This part of the ideas is the best overall, but it really needs sufficient limitations.

Pressuring the intermediaries is a horrible idea. It is far too easy to abuse without very strong safeguards and it definately needs strong and rigid limitations (service providers? linking pages (and in that case how much is needed for the sites owner to be held responsible? It is pure powder keg stuff in this one!)? Storage providers? p2p-networks? secondary and higher intermediates?).

De-listing is just not a good idea at all. Ask newspapers what happens when they get de-listed from Google and then ask yourself what if an innocent site gets hit by this? To get this to happen, it is necessary with very strict control of who gets hit.
Google has already gone awry in this area and accepted a too wide information suppression without sufficient safeguards. If France want more suppression of information, they are far past the post.

out_of_the_blue says:

1st, let's be clear that Glyn Moody is for piracy.

That’s why he deems the other ways “bad ideas” TOO. There’s no way to enforce copyright that will please Moody; he doesn’t even bother to hide that fact.

“Loin de lutter contre le piratage, la mission Lescure risque donc d’encourager la naissance de nouvelles formes de piratage.” — New forms of pirating will pop up is the assertion, but so what? New forms of social control will be implemented, and I WISH you pirates would quit providing the excuse!

People will always try to get tempting content for free, but that’s the same reason there are locks on doors: to prevent easy access to those lacking their own moral controls. Copyright is a non-physical lock on non-physical property, and it’s due to the ease of machines copying what’s difficult for humans to create. Copyright is exactly to prevent mechanical copying. But it’s clear who OWNS the non-physical by reason of paid for and created it: if you want a piece of it, pay for the privilege.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 1st, let's be clear that Glyn Moody is for piracy.

Shoplifting has been around for years. Prostitution has been around for years. Copyright infringement will be around for just as long. As long as there is copyright there will always be people who will infringe on it whether you like it or not, agree to it or not copyright infringement will remain as long as there is copyright. Be very grateful that you will be never made redundant with your opionions on the matter.

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