Pussyfooting around Hadopi, the French ACTA law

Aug 28, 2012
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Hadopi has been described and debated at length and is in a nutshell a little French ACTA[FR]. The socialist party, from which the new French president Francois Hollande came, had stated in its program as a party that Hadopi would be scrapped. Then, when Hollande won his party’s primaries, he didn’t feel too bound by the party’s positions, and did his own presidential program, which stayed very vague on Hadopi.

What is the currently state of play on Hadopi?  Well, perhaps not surprisingly, the vague promise of reevaluation triggered a vague execution, and the current status of Hadopi is now, can you guess, vague as well. There has been talk of cutting off the financing of Hadopi, of limiting its financing, of switching from a three strikes approach to a more easily enforceable approach using smaller fines (see here and here FR), of merging it with the TV regulation authority, etc.  A commission was named, and the decision on this is furthermore lost in the no man’s land between digital economy and culture.

What doesn’t change either is that freedom, as in neither government nor private companies should be authorized to spy without a warrant on citizens’ private communications, is still nowhere in the discussion. Yet, Hadopi is notorious for using private companies to track users that download or upload infringing content. This doesn’t seem to bother the government or the parliament very much, and they’re very busy taking their time to think it through. Net Neutrality and freedom of expression are such a complex concept to understand.

So for the time being, solutions such as the global license are left ignored, and it’s all about chasing one’s own tail and coming up with one ridiculous idea after the next. The French internet user isn’t about to get proper governance just yet.