France's Hadopi anti-piracy law, which has seen plenty of controversy since its creation, now looks set to be scrapped after a panel met yesterday to discuss its failures
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy was behind Hadopi, an anti-piracy law that punished file-sharers and disconnected them from the internet. The law was supported by entertainment companies, who hoped to spread the model to other regions, but now it looks as if the law will be thrown out. A nine-person panel assembled yesterday produced a 700-page report, recommending that the Hadopi agency, which runs the so called “three strikes” system, should be permanently disbanded. The agency's other tasks however, including anti-piracy efforts not related to the law, are to be handed over to Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel, the agency in charge of regulating electronic media in France.
The report stated that the anti-piracy measures had not been effective. Though a reduction in file-sharing via p2p networks such as BitTorrent was achieved, it only lead to an increase in other file sharing methods such as streaming. Such services are out of Hadopi's reach. In the end, millions of euros were dumped into the law, but just a single €150 fine was ever issued because of it.
With Hadopi gone, anti-piracy efforts will not end, but they will change. Hadopi had a maximum fine of around €1,500, which Canal Plus chairman Pierre Lescure, who headed up yesterday's panel, recommends should be reduced to about €60, but increases with repeated offenses. The panel also recommended that internet-piracy be decriminalized, so as to not use valuable police resources or attach criminal records to those who pirate. Lescure also wants to refocus anti-piracy efforts towards for-profit organized piracy, as opposed to going after citizens who want to watch the latest Game of Thrones.
The abolition of Hadopi was one of 75 proposals handed to Franch president François Hollande yesterday. Lawmakers are expected to review the report and report back this summer.