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Piracy up in France despite three strikes law

updated 10:25 am EST, Fri March 12, 2010

French Hadopi law simply forced pirates elsewhere

France's three strikes anti-piracy law has actually increased the amount of piracy in the country, a new study has revealed. Despite the threat of being permanently disconnected from the Internet in the country, frequent downloaders increased their activity 3 percent since the law, also known as Hadopi, passed last fall. While BitTorrent use did drop from 17.1 percent to 14.6 percent, any who gave up torrents simply moved to streams or to private hosts using uploaders, which are difficult if not impossible to track with current methods.

The same University of Rennes examination also found that half of all self-proclaimed pirates also buy legitimate content online, hinting that companies may actually lose money through the law by either fining or disconnecting Internet subscribers, preventing them from buying tracks.

Proponents of the law have yet to respond to the study. They have argued that pirates need a major deterrence such as the permanent loss of home Internet access to steer them to legitimate methods. Critics have contended that Internet use is increasingly a necessity, not a luxury, and that the French law only pays a minimal respect to offering the accused a proper legal defense.

The study compounds a week of blows to major media firms as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was staunchly opposed by the European Parliament, which voted almost unanimously against the current process of negotiating the treaty. The EU body insisted that the deliberately secretive talks around ACTA be made public, including underrepresented developing countries, and require that any Internet cutoff include a court examination.

ACTA is believed to be a collaboration between music and movie studios with multiple governments and would take most of its inspiration from Hadopi. If agreed, it would encourage three-strike laws and potentially jeopardize the safe harbor principles of Internet providers by making them responsible for any piracy on their networks.

by MacNN Staff



  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Black net and usenet

    Black net and usenet are the way to go.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Liberte egalite huh?

    So much for freedom, equality and brotherhood, unless you're a cartel of media companies and bought and paid for politicians who depend on a sympathetic media.

    (MacNN can't handle the accents on the e's!)

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why do people who own content have to apologize for not giving it away or having it stolen? It's somehow too expensive to pay for but it is cheap enough to steal.

    Work is produced and paid for but again, somehow thieves argue that their "work" is in the theft.

    The argument of: "I want to see it before I buy it" is truly bogus. Don't get it at all! I know a guy who works at the post office and he downloads brand new movies. Usually the quality is horrible. So he lets that "judgment" affect his purchasing of the real McCoy when in reality there is no real quality experience. To balance these moral lapses he also goes to the movie theater to see movies that "really" matter to him. He has no life.

    Most of us have bought something that turned out to be something we didn't like. Such is life. Nothing is perfect, but thievery is not a compensatory act; it's just theft.

  1. darkelf

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the corollary to this...

    the corollary to this, of course, is that upon being caught stealing in the real world three times, you'll be permanently welded into a sensory deprivation tank.

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    of course...

    They're probably torrenting PDFs of the law that tell them torrenting is illegal.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Messing with the water!

    The idea of disconnection or the removal of the safe-harbor provision for ISP's is simply unjust. If I use water supplied by a utility company to make moonshine can the government cut off my water and/or prosecute the utility company? I think not!

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    ignore the negative votes. you're right.

    feathers, ol bean, what are you on about? water? you paid for the water. if you choose to go and do illegal stuff with it then be prepared. should the water company provide you with free water? should the water company allow you to then offer that moonshine for free through their services?
    how's about someone else comes along and takes your moonshine and offers it for free? how you sitting with that?

    media companies? you don't like them so you have the right to steal from them?
    hail, there's lots of stuff being done that's bad. credit card companies are the worst. why not grow a pair and go steal from them? get a few cards and charge out the ying yang and then tell them you're not paying? stop hiding behind the anonymity of the net. if you're not going to stand and be counted with your crusade against all that's evil then you're nothing but a looter.

  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Don't Oversimplify

    Digital piracy is not the same as theft. There's a reason the laws are different for each crime.

    One involves taking a real good--be it a car or money from a bank account--away from someone. Duplicating an intangible is illegal, and probably should be, but it is not "theft" in the same sense--the only thing taken away from the victim was the theoretical possibility of profit from the sale of a work, which cannot be proven as you cannot prove definitively whether the pirate would have purchased the item before.

    If you phrase it in a non-legalistic way, "Most of those people aren't customers anyway." That sentiment has more to do with DRM and anti-fair-use technology, but it isn't entirely irrelevant to this law.

    Regardless, though, the fundamental issue here is that this law allows you to be punished for a crime due to nothing but the accusation and a 3rd party investigation (or as much of one as your ISP even bothers to do--it's quite possible they don't want to mess with the MPAA-or-whoever's lawyers, so will just assume they're correct and you're wrong). In most modern democracies to be convicted of a crime you will have the opportunity to defend yourself against it in a court. What if the MPAA-analogue decides they don't like outspoken critic X and accuses him of piracy to his ISP, which, looking at the official letter and the wall of lawyers behind it, decides that even though their logs don't seem to indicate untoward traffic, there was a bunch of streaming something, so the MPAA-analogue must be right. Repeat twice, and boom, no internet connection for you! Defense? None.

    And of course the bottom line of this study is that even if the law DOES work just fine, the upshot appears to be more piracy, not less. Meaning that it's doing the exact opposite of what it's supposed to, so has no purpose other than to harm stupider innocent people or flex your muscle. From a business perspective, they should actually PREFER to remove the law, if it has increased piracy.

    An aside, I've downloaded a few MP3s in my day. But, 95% of the music in my library is paid for (mostly on CD), and the other 5% is stuff that's been out of print for over a decade and was never even available legitimately in my country. I have also never bought a CD without listening to at least one track from it first, and I guarantee at least a quarter of what I bought I would never have known about without stumbling across a download first.

    I'm probably an outlier, admittedly, but there's a reason that a Google search now offers full-track previews connected to links to the iTMS.

  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The problem is that Media companies want to be paid whether or not they make a good product, and they want too much control. It's apparently wrong for me to download new episodes of Modern Family, but if I watch them during a set time that I'm actually actually at work, then that's fine. That's fine because the shows have ads in them, but none of the major networks run sites like Hulu with ads in my country (Canada). So I'm expected to just shut up and take it. Or I can of course buy it on iTunes for two dollars a show. Granted I like watching TV, but where as if I buy a song I'll listen to it a couple hundred times, if I watch an episode I'll probably watch it once. Sorry your content is not nearly that valuable to me... thus I pirate.

    If I could subscribe to an all you can watch 10 to 20 dollar a month TV service, or perhaps one that gave me say 30 hours a month for 10 dollars or something, that I would readily buy!

    But the media companies don't want a fair and reasonable rate from everyone, they want to bilk every ounce of cash they can out of you. It's immoral. The fact is my life is supposed to be more than simply being a slave of the content that I watch to escape from the fact that my life is lived in subjugation by the media companies. I have a soul, treat me like I have one!

    That said, I mainly buy music from small name artists, so I buy all of that on iTunes, part of my money goes to Apple who I don't mind, part of my money goes to the artists, and part of it goes to a few labels I don't mind, and a few ends up in EMI or Sony's pockets.

  1. facebook_Jakomi

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2010


    Three Strikes?

    Sunday’s ‘New York Times’ ran an interesting story about the ineffectiveness of France’s three-strikes anti-piracy law. According to the Times, not a single warning letter has been sent out since the law went into force...
    More on this available:

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