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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Filed Under: copyright, france, hadopi, intermediary liability, search engines, three strikes

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2012 @ 1:52pm


    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.

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