This is one of the strongest votes yet against three-strikes disconnections in France, despite earlier evidence that piracy is being curtailed. But according to a government-commissioned report, playing bad cop is just too expensive for too little results. And most importantly, isn’t leading to enough paying customers.
All of which means there’s a strong chance HADOPI, the body that administers three-strikes warnings and takedowns in France, will soon be scrapped.
Maybe we need a bigger picture here. Earlier this year, a report from French collection agency SNEP celebrated a pronounced drop in P2P file-swapping, with firm enforcement from HADOPI given ample credit.
But that data may have been presented unfairly, while ignoring strong, simultaneous shifts towards streaming. In other words, heavy-handed enforcement may not have been the biggest reason for the decline. And even if it was, it hasn’t been pushing consumers to start paying.
Which brings us to a completely different finding authored by Pierre Lescure for the French president as well as the Minister of Culture and Communication.
Context: it’s a beautiful thing…
Make no mistake, Lescure wants to completely scrap three-strikes and HADOPI, but not anti-piracy enforcement altogether. Instead, the proposal calls for far softer fines without cutting cords, and a shift towards eliminating the ‘real bad guys,’ ie, major counterfeiting operations and sites. Which is sort of like chasing the cartels instead of coke users, while handing out lighter fines for sniffing and spending less time patrolling the streets.
Meanwhile, the evidence is mounting that big fines and disconnections are largely ineffective. The report noted that “the sanctions applicable today seem disproportionate to the massive nature of the practices [ie, illegal downloading]” and that “the existence of an administrative authority almost exclusively dedicated to [three-strikes] is also very questionable“.
This case study on the response to French three strikes, as authored by researchers as Wellesley and Carnegie Mellon University, supports the assessment.