In 10 Years Of Existence, The Long-Running French Farce Known As Hadopi Has Imposed Just €87,000 In Fines, But Cost Taxpayers €82 Million
from the shut-it-down dept
The French anti-piracy framework known as Hadopi began as tragedy and soon turned into farce. It was tragic that so much energy was wasted on putting together a system that was designed to throw ordinary users off the Internet — the infamous “three strikes and you’re out” approach — rather than encouraging better legal offerings. Four years after the Hadopi system was created in 2009, it descended into farce when the French government struck down the signature three strikes punishment because it had failed to bring the promised benefits to the copyright world. Indeed, Hadopi had failed to do anything much: its first and only suspension was suspended, and a detailed study of the three strikes approach showed it was a failure from just about every viewpoint. Nonetheless, Hadopi has staggered on, sending out its largely ignored warnings to people for allegedly downloading unauthorized copies of material, and imposing a few fines on those unlucky enough to get caught repeatedly.
As TorrentFreak reports, Hadopi has published its annual report, which contains some fascinating details of what exactly it has achieved during the ten years of its existence. In 2019, the copyright industry referred 9 million cases to Hadopi for further investigation, down from 14 million the year before. However, referral does not mean a warning was necessarily sent. In fact, since 2010, Hadopi has only sent out 12.7 million warnings in total, which means that most people accused of piracy don’t even see a warning.
Those figures are a little abstract; what’s important is how effective Hadopi has been, and whether the entire project has been worth all the time and money it has consumed. Figures put together by Next INpact, quoted by TorrentFreak, indicate that during the decade of its existence, Hadopi has imposed the grand sum of €87,000 in fines, but cost French taxpayers nearly a thousand times more — €82 million. Against that background of staggering inefficiency and inefficacy, the following words in the introduction to Hadopi’s annual report (pdf), written by the organization’s president, Denis Rapone, ring rather hollow:
Hadopi remains, ten years later and despite the pitfalls in its path in the past, the major player in the protection of copyright, so that creation can flourish unhindered.
Creation could have flourished rather more had those €82 million been spent supporting struggling artists directly, rather than wasting them on the bureaucrats running this pointless joke of an organization. Time to bring the curtain down on the Hadopi farce for good.