SOPA could be the first battle in an anti-piracy World War III, but there may be softer solutions to this problem.
Just last week, prominent VC Fred Wilson outlined a plan that involved self-policing of bad actors by the tech community itself – without the bitter aftertaste of FBI raids and DNS takeovers.
And across the Atlantic, France just presented some interesting stats related to its controversial three-strikes enforcement campaign. You know, the one that features warning letters and threats of access cutting, all under the banner of Hadopi. This effort has a bad reputation, but it’s actually far softer than high-profile RIAA lawsuits that bankrupt file-sharers, some of which are still being prosecuted today.
Hadopi claims that file-sharing is ebbing, though certainly apps like Spotify and the native Deezer have something to do with that. But a separate study out of Wellesley and Carnegie Mellon asserts that iTunes sales are now stronger in France relative to the rest of Europe.
But this may be the most interesting set of stats:
French population (2011): 65.8 million
Number of first-round letters: 822,000
Number of second-round letters: 68,000
Number of third-round letters: 165
So, the group that ultimately received a third letter is 0.02 percent of the group, and 0.00025 percent of the broader population. And, these aren’t devastating, RIAA-style consequences: rather, the ‘bad actors’ will receive fines of 1,500 euros, a month of no internet access, or both (we’ve heard higher terms, but this is according to the latest information from the group). That’s it.
It’s softer, and just maybe an effective strategy.
“We suggest that with regard to mitigation of sales displacement by piracy, a national anti-piracy policy combined with educational efforts is much more effective in the longer term than a small number of high-profile lawsuits.”
Wellesley/Carnegie Mellon researchers.
Written while listening to Tennis, Kaskade, and Tyga.