France's anti-piracy goon squad pirates the font in its logo

Hapodi, the French agency that's in charge of the country's new anti-piracy scheme (if someone you live with is accused of three acts of infringement, your whole household is taken offline and added to a list of address to which it is illegal to provide Internet access) has been accused of pirating the font used it its logo. The font designer is talking lawsuit. Hadopi says it wasn't infringement, just an "error of manipulation."

It's tempting to count coup here, but it's more important to recognize that Hadopi has proved that the copyright minefield is an unnavigable mess and that the guillotine is too blunt an instrument to use in its policing. If an organization charged with policing copyright with absolute, unaccountable power can't stop its employees from committing unwitting acts of infringement, how can a mere family ensure that no act of infringement takes place over its network connection?

In the meantime, I'm sure that if Hadopi commits two more acts of infringement, it will order its own offices taken offline for a period of a year.


The logo, already officially registered for 2 months with the National Institute of Industrial Property, had been created with an unlicensed font called "Bienvenue."

This font was originally created by an employee of France Telecom in 2000, designer Jean-François Porchez. Writer Julien L from French news site Numerama told TorrentFreak that the problem goes even deeper.

"The problem is, this font was an 'exclusive corporate typeface'. It couldn't be used for other purposes than France Telecom/Orange products," he told us...

Yesterday there was panic, as Hadopi tried to repair the damage by sourcing new matching fonts they could license legally.

Hadopi has issued an apology through gritted teeth, but while France Telecom-Orange has confirmed it won't be taking legal action over the infringement of its rights, the same cannot yet be said of Jean-François Porchez. He has contacted his lawyer to see what can be done.

French 3 Strikes Group Unveils Copyright Infringing Logo


  1. I don’t know who I hate more, France’s anti-piracy goon squad or the font designer looking for a payday because of unlicensed use of a font that looks identical to 100 other fonts.

    1. …”font designer looking for a payday because of unlicensed use of a font that looks identical to 100 other fonts.”

      A couple of comments on the font designer.

      1. Perhaps he is only trying to go after Hadopi because it is Hadopi. If you had this opportunity, wouldn’t you?

      2. Your statement is rather arrogant. Maybe it looks identical to you, but are you an expert on font design?

      3. The design of good fonts can take months or even years. The designer may have spent a lot of time working on that font, and the exclusive terms means he cannot profit any more by that work. Wouldn’t it make you mad if someone else profited by stealing your work?

  2. Just a precision, it is not Hadopi in itself which did screw up but the design agency which was chosen for the design of the logo(Plan Créatif).

    1. it is not Hadopi in itself which did screw up but the design agency

      Then Hadopi is guilty of the crime of hiring someone who commits a crime! Ignorance is no excuse!

  3. Well they can’t disconnect people from the Internet, that was deemed unconstitutional.

    For the moment, all they can do is warn people that what they do is illegal.

    The current government is working on a Hadopi 2.

  4. If the ‘three strikes’ comes to your country (say via the WIPO ACTA) then large companies will have to be very very careful as the ‘crowd’ is very good at spotting this sort of thing.

    Record labels, Movie labels and Big Corp(TM) will all be subject to enormous scrutiny from the ‘crowd’. Heck… all it takes is ‘being accused’ of using someones copyrighted image for each strike.

    Three strikes works both ways.

    1. “Three strikes works both ways.” …. You really haven’t been paying attention to how things work in the real world have you? Governments tend to give large corporations a million last chances and benefits of the doubt and individuals get a swift sharp smack. There isn’t the tiniest shred of doubt in my ming that all accusations of infringment will not be treated equally under any of these laws. Hell they aren’t under current laws, so why would new ones be different?

    2. @nzruss

      If a company is found in violation (or accusation thereof), the most that is likely to happen is the termination of employee(s) involved (or made to look responsible). In extreme cases, there might also be some financial fine or penalty.

      Why doesn’t it happen that e.g. when people die from a company’s pollution, the company officers and responsible parties are not held criminally liable for at least manslaughter? Because legal incorporation confers many benefits of personhood without corresponding responsibilities and risks.

      Your idea makes for nice rhetoric, but it will not be realized in practice.

  5. Anybody they now catch, can also claim there was a simple “error of manipulation”, right? Problems solved :)

  6. More reason to SeaStead…

    Enough SeaSteaders, we’ll get UN recognition, then abuse it for drugs, dog fights, unfiltered internet, you name it:-) They can “Trade sanction” all they want, we’ll be mostly self-sufficient and get the rest from direct trade and tourism…

  7. Trivia : most of the HADOPI members were taken from another commission created after the DADVSI law, which stated aim was to fight coppyright infringment. They have done absolutely zip since.

    This HADOPI thing is worrying in principle, but in fact, it is really just PR hot air. Nothing to worry about if you have even a modicum of p2p know-how. French bureaucracy at its finest.

  8. “the guillotine is too blunt an instrument to use in its policing”

    I see what you did there. Zut alors!

  9. hypocritical.

    I once met a big guy from Universal Records and he had nothing but illegal software on his computer.

  10. If the uprights in the d and p were a little rounder that would look even more like a goatse in the middle of their logo!!

  11. Pardon me, but those are two different styles. Except for the d O p – logo bit the letters look as different as they could, given that there are thousands of similar fonts each copyrighted at its own.

  12. Is there any way I can paypal Jean-François Porchez? We need to encourage people to find the other two “strikes” against the goon squad. Money usually works.

  13. What did Plan Créatif mean by calling this an “error of manipulation?” That they meant to manipulate the font enough that no one would have caught them? And did anyone else have an “Only in France” moment on reading the description of the font chosen to replace Bienvenue in the logo? I don’t think that would have been the choice of font used by any American or British government agency! L-O-L-A, Lola!

  14. This just in, it gets better, apparently someone has registered the “HADOPI” trademark a few months before the French Goverment tried to.

    I do think although that the agency is to blame, first, for such a bad logo, and second for not beeing competent enough to find a non-registered font.

    And to #13, no I don’t think anyone had that “moment” bcs yr cmmnt s fckng rtrdd.

    1. And to #13, no I don’t think anyone had that “moment” bcs yr cmmnt s fckng rtrdd.

      I had that moment.

      Don’t get your frilly French knickers in a twist. You didn’t have to take his comment as abuse to your little, fragile French sensibilities. You could have taken it as a compliment that the French are willing to make bold decisions when it comes to design, rather than tow the homogeonous line which pervades much of western design.

      Also why didn’t you click the reply button, or use his name? Now you just look stupid because your comment doesn’t even refer to the person you wanted it to.

      I appreciate your link, but if you are gonna be abusive then at least get the details right, buddy.

  15. “added to a list of address to which it is illegal to provide Internet access”. So you can get off the list by moving? And what if the people who lived there before you got on the list? Can you not get Internet access because the tenant before you “struck out”?

    1. I think you underestimate the robustness and adaptability of the law. The purpose of hammering in this three-strikes legislation is not to end up with nicely implementable legislation, but to have a janky piece of shit that needs to be repaired by incorporating other objectives which could never stand on their own.

      For example. Yes, under the current three-strikes law all you need to do is move, and the guy moving in after you will be screwed, yes. That is why to protect innocent citizens and properly pursue these unscrupled thieves and profit-rapists, we must introduce a new internet identity registration tied to whatever they use over there for identification numbers, that all citizens CAN use when accessing French ISPs to identify themselves as upstanding citizens. Anything less will not address the issue that this three-strikes law is, frankly, a well-meaning but badly-compromised law.

      See how subtly we can turn up the heat?

  16. #9: That’s exactly the problem. The government gets kudos from business for smacking the virtual crap out of old ladies and parents of stupid teens who either wittingly or unwittingly commit a few acts of copyright infringement, whereas folks who *really* know what they are doing, and who are likely the bigger problem, will continue to do it. So, not only is the law completely ineffective at solving the problem, it actually makes the universe a little worse off because it converts so many otherwise normal people into criminals, accidental or otherwise.

    And as for the copyright infringement, the creator of the font must, for the benefit of all society, serve HADOPI up with a cease and desist or whatever it takes to give them an official 1st strike. They are as guilty of infringement as anyone else, and if they make three mistakes, they should pay the same penalty.

    Also, I think it would be a good idea for a bevy of French citizens to file copyright claims against as many different public officials and random citizens as possible, to (a) give HADOPI an overload of crap to do, and (b) to show how farcical and dangerous the idea of punishing people without due process is.

    My three cents.

  17. @nzruss in #7
    “Three strikes works both ways. ”

    I’m certain this was said with your tongue firmly stuck in your cheek, which is why I’m not replying “Oh, to be young and naiive again, bliss.” Instead I’m assuming that both you and Baldhead actually agree that there’s no possible way it would work both ways.

    -abs wishes he didn’t believe that the law is never applied equally to real people vs. “corporations as people” . .. . but he’s pretty damn sure it’s always applied differently

  18. Imagine if every artist who gets freelance work who owns an illegal copy of photoshop or any other digital art software was called out like this and sued for it…

    This is dumb.

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