France's batshit HADOPI copyright law on life-support; three strikes is dying

Hadopi was the jewel in the Sarkozy regime's crown of shitty copyright policy: a rule that said if you lived in the same house as someone who'd been accused of copyright infringement, you would lose your Internet access. Heavily lobbied for by the entertainment industry and hailed as a success thanks to dodgy, misleading studies, Hadopi is now on the outs. The agency that administers it has had its budget zeroed out. Next up: outright cancellation? EFF hopes so:

Citing extraordinary costs and scant results, a high-level French official has announced intentions to defund Hadopi1, the government agency charged with shutting off Internet access of individuals accused of repeat copyright infringement. Under the French three strikes law, Internet subscribers whose connection is repeatedly used to share copyrighted material may be disconnected from the Internet and may even have to continue paying for the service (the so-called "double pain"). The three strikes law in France runs contrary to principles of due process, innovation, and free expression—yet has unfortunately served as a template for similar legislation in countries like New Zealand, the UK, and South Korea under pressure from the entertainment industry. Defunding Hadopi may mean that France won't be focusing on enforcing its three strikes law anymore, but that's not enough. France needs to repeal the three strikes law altogether.

When copyright holders (working through professional organizations) file complaints about alleged infringement, Hadopi is authorized to contact Internet access providers and issue warnings to subscribers. After the third warning of copyright infringement is issued to a subscriber, Hadopi can recommend to a public prosecutor that the individual have her Internet connection terminated. Hadopi also maintains a blacklist of subscribers to block users from simply switching ISPs after being disconnected. Though hundreds of alleged infringers have been referred to court—Hadopi has sent 1 million warning emails, 99,000 "strike two" letters, and identified 314 people for referral to the courts for possible disconnection—no one has yet been disconnected since the law was enacted in 2009.2

In speaking about the decision to significantly reduce funding for Hadopi, French culture minister Aurelie Filippetti, stated: "€12 million per year and 60 officials; that's an expensive way to send 1 million emails." Filippetti also stated that "[T]he suspension of Internet access seems to be a disproportionate penalty given the intended goal."

Repealing French Three Strikes Law is the Next Step to Safeguarding Free Expression


  1. No wonder the **AAs and the law suit mills of the world are terrified. They’re seeing the entire raison d’ètre for further existence, if not for their belligerent attitude, at risk of being wiped out.

    The following is adapted from a post I gave to a recent TED talk about Bob Dylan, Apple, copyrights and patents.

    The problem is one of attribution. Attribution make an author seem wise and learned while plagiarism make the author seem like a miserly sneak. (This problem can now be properly addressed in every technologically advanced civilization through the mediation of the internet. [The technology of the originator is NOT dependent on infrastructure. It only need permit access to the internet somehow.])

    Mr. Ferguson’s (recent TED talk on copyright was) revelatory because we had no way of knowing what Mr Dylan’s songs were derivative of. It did not take away from the beauty of the songs but these would have been even richer if a proper attribution system could have been in place, if we had been able to know what these had been built upon.

    Likewise Steve Jobs’ claim to “own” the iPhone, iPad and Apple’s track pad’s multitouch interface system when that was clearly not the case… (The “contribution” of, say, multitouch components is easy to assess as well. For instance: “What would it cost to build a phone, tablet, computer or laptop without multi touch?” Take the difference and that is the true “value” of your innovation.)

    Our copyright and patent systems are broken but the way to fix them is not through the courts but through a proper attribution system.

    If you make X amount of money from the propagation of idea set Y(n…), the distribution of material derived from idea should be X/Y(n…) where (n) is the contribution of each to set of ideas, right up to and including ideas that clearly belong in “the commons” where the commons is attributions to “dead authors.” 

    Once you’re a “dead author” you clearly can’t collect and the money can be plowed back into the economy as stand-ins for “taxes.” (That will clearly make all sorts of government officials happy trying out how to collect its direct new source of revenue.)

    The idea behind the alleged protection against supposed infringement goes away when the originators of an idea (the remix of existing ideas into a novel form) can be tracked automatically and the proper attribution be made.

    You can start receiving royalty cheques automagically when your copyrightable idea (or patentable invention) gets used, as long as you also realize that your own sources get a part of your payment deducted up front and distributed up the line until it reaches commons and then gets taken as communal property (also known as a tax.)

    1. Bring it. I’ve been envisioning something like this for years.

      Governments need to stop taking it up the arse on our behalf for corporations, and read the fucking writing on the wall. This will come to pass, sooner or later; it’s the only way forward.

  2. No body ever seems to mention the fact that it is the performers who have to pay for the upkeep of this system whether they are making money or not.
    Example:- you had a wee hit way back and you just recently wrote another one.
    Well you are not going to get any royalties until you pay your “performing rights” subscription all the way back till whenever.
    No you can’t get an advance from the performing rights guys, you have to pay up before they pay out so it’s time to grovel to the RECORD COMPANY.
    It’s a Dualopoly.

  3. Ah, good ol’ Hadopi, how much fun we had, watching that announced train wreck.
    I think the bestest moment was when they had to change their logo, because they had used a font created, and meant to be used exclusively by France Telecom.
    Quoth the culprits “We didn’t mean to do it, it was a mistake while we were checking stuff for the study, this one had been rejected.”
    They were caught by the font creator within hours of the unveiling on a Friday. Hadopi then claimed that ‘it wasn’t the logo they were meant to use, oops, sorry, we’ll find the actual one very soon, give us a minute’.
    On the following Monday, they did unveil the “actual logo”, but also bought the licences for the new fonts that very same day.
    And that is just one of the many fun stories.

  4. Just FYI it’s “double peine” more than “double pain” in french, it means  “double sentence” litteraly, which is quite similar at the end.

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