France drops Hadopi three-strikes copyright law

The law that threatened to disconnect French internet users suspected of copyright infringement will be replaced with a fine system.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

The so-called Hadopi (the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des droits sur Internet) law that sees French internet users cut off if they are suspected of infringing three times, has been dropped in favour of an automated fine system.

As first reported by The Guardian, a French government report has said that it will remove the three strikes system, and replace it with a graduated automated fine system that starts at €60 for users who repeatedly ignore warnings.

According to an English translation of the press release put out by French Minister of Culture and Communication Aurélie Filippetti, the government said that the three-strikes system was a "totally inappropriate punishment".

Filippetti said the government's focus would shift now to commercial piracy, and sites that profit from copyright infringing content.

The law was brought in back in 2009, following lobbying from copyright groups to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The Socialist party that succeeded the Sarkozy government vowed to scrap the law if it took government.

The Hadopi law was only ever used once, and the user copped a €150 fine and a 15-day disconnection from the internet. The Guardian has said that millions was spent by the French government to bring in the three-strikes system. In August, Filippetti said that the cost for the French government to send out letters was €12 million per year.

Rights holders have previously claimed that the law was effective in curbing copyright infringement. In early 2012, when there had been around 736,000 first notices, 62,000 second notices, and 165 third strike notices sent out, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry claimed that the introduction of the scheme had led to a 22.5 percent increase in purchases through Apple's iTunes.

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