First HADOPI Victim Convicted, Not For His Own Infringement, But Because His Wife Downloaded Songs

from the soon-to-be-ex-wife dept

Well, here's a nice contrast: just when a judge in the US has ruled that users there have no obligation to lock down their wifi connections, a court in France decides the exact opposite. What makes the story even more significant is that the individual concerned is the first person to be convicted under France's 3-strikes law, generally known as HADOPI.

Not all of the facts of the case have been released, but we do know that he received and apparently ignored the statutory three warnings from HADOPI, and then was summoned to court, where things started to get interesting. As TorrentFreak reports:

the man told the court today that he is incapable of downloading and did not commit the infringements. Supporting his claims he brought into court the person actually responsible for the file-sharing.
That person turned out to be his wife (actually, soon to be ex-wife), who admitted that she had downloaded some Rihanna songs. But as Guillaume Champeau of Numerama pointed out to TorrentFreak, ironically this did not get him off the hook -- on the contrary:
"By saying he knew she was downloading infringing content, but didn’t prevent her from doing so, he self-incriminated."
That's because under the HADOPI law, it is the owner of the Internet connection who is held responsible for any infringement committed with it, so it's the husband, not the (ex-)wife who has ended up being fined 150 euros (about $200) for negligence. That's admittedly less than the 300 euros ($400), with 150 euros suspended, that the French prosecution wanted, and far less than the maximum possible 1,500 euros ($2000) fine. But it's still a stiff price to pay for something he didn't do.

Indeed, he seems to have taken the judgment hard: Guillaume Champeau points out that HADOPI's first victim has now said that he intends to cancel his Internet subscription completely (original story in French). It's hard to see how this kind of result is going to help the growth of digital music in France, and the whole episode is a neat encapsulation of all that is wrong with HADOPI's approach.

Moreover, this case must reinforce the view that HADOPI is a colossal waste of money. In two years of existence, HADOPI has sent out 1.15 million first warnings, 102,854 second notices, and 340 "third strikes". And yet all French government has to show for the 12 million euros it costs to run HADOPI each year is the conviction of one innocent man.

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Filed Under: france, hadopi, indirect infringement, secondary infringement, three strikes, wifi


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  1. icon
    average_joe (profile), 14 Sep 2012 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Basically, average_joe's point is that there are victims in both situations and both are having things done to them against their wishes (thus they are victims).

    Right. And that is the extent of the comparison. Are there significant differences between infringement and rape? Of course. That's obvious. But that doesn't mean that certain aspects of the two can't be analogized. Folks here seem to think that if two different things have any differences, then no analogies between the two can ever be made. That's not how analogies work. If two things had to be exactly the same thing before they could be compared, then only things that were in fact the same thing could be compared. What's the point of that?

    But it falls back to what we're all trying to point out to him, which for being a lawyer he's being either purposefully obtuse or something in not getting.

    They aren't the same thing. I 100% agree. That misses the point of an analogy.

    Making any comparison between being a "victim" of copyright infringement and being a victim of rape is morally repugnant to the majority of people. And while he's not directly conflating the two, but he's walking a pretty f*cking fine line on that, it still is a comparison. Just because there's a victim.

    Both are having something done to them that they don't want to happen. That is a fact. Is one worse than the other? Of course. The analogy doesn't say that the thing being done is of the same degree of reprehensibility. It just says that they share one aspect in common, which is true.

    Btu it's also worth noting that in the case of copyright infringement there is no true victim. Just because something is being done against your wishes DOES NOT make you a victim, average_joe. It is til something is done that actually causes you measurable harm in some way, shape or form (and that can be supported and verified with facts and evidence) that a victim is created.

    Your standard is that there has to be measurable harm. I question how you decided that there's never any harm in infringement. The studies point in different directions and are in my opinion inconclusive. And as I tried to explain to Mike, I'm talking about the issue of liability, not the issue of damages. Those are different things. When you're talking about harm, you're talking about damages. Damages for infringements are notoriously difficult to prove, which is why we have statutory damages.

    Your comparison is still flawed and still morally repugnant. As someone who wouldn't stfu about morals the other day, you seem to have some major issues with just where your morals lie. Conflating the copying of a file with the willful violation of a person's body is pretty damn low and sickening. You've got a great future ahead of you though, teaching copyright violaters a major lesson in court and whatnot. You'll definitely be on the "potential employees/attorneys" list for the RIAA/MPAA with the way you're going.

    In both situations, somebody is having something done to them that they don't want to be done. That is the full extent of the comparison. I'm not saying the harm done is of the same degree. I haven't said anything about the harm. I don't think stating a fact is repugnant, but you have every right to disagree. Get on that soap box! Of course you don't seem to understand that I'm not saying they are the same, I'm merely pointing out that in one small facet they are. The differences between the two are significant, so I agree with you there. But yeah, call me names because I say one thing that is the truth. Good on ya! You fit in well on Techdirt. Don't try to think too hard! Mike doesn't like that.

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