Hadopi rears its ugly head as 2013 brings a huge jump in warning emails


hadopi logoAs France’s digital, media and entertainment sectors await the government’s report laying out policy recommendations for tackling online piracy, the ‘Haute Authorité’, responsible for implementing Hadopi, has taken a more aggressive approach in recent months. According to Numerama, warning emails have jumped dramatically in since the beginning of the year. The last time the Haute Authorité sent out this many warning emails to first time supposed copyright offenders was back in 2010 shortly after the new law came into effect.

Following a 6-month Hadopi post-election lull, the Haute Authorité appears to have sprung back in action with a 90% increase in first time warnings in January, 54% in February and 58% in March.  In fact March saw 84,000 warnings emails sent which was the biggest number since May 2010 when more than 103,000 were sent. Warnings sent via registered letter also saw a big jump last month of 45% year-on-year.

Although this big jump was bad news for many, the number of (repeat) offenders whose cases are ultimately sent to the tribunal for further examination was miniscule at only 40 for March, which was an increase on an already low base.  M6 pointed out as well in a recent report on the wastefulness and ineffectiveness of Hadopi that the cost of implementing the law far outweighs the intangible or tangible upside. They also pointed out that each month an average of only 20 to 30 cases are sent to the tribunal which is actually fewer than 10% of third time repeat offenders.

Perhaps the big spring to action is in essence Hadopi’s last gasp before it either morphs into something else or is put out of its misery. Culture minister Aurélie Filippetti hasn’t exactly been clear on whether she thinks Hadopi should stay or go and has instead called on Pierre Lescure to provide recommendations on the matter in a comprehensive report set for release on the April 15th. It’s clear though that Hadopi doesn’t seem to ‘have teeth’ in its current form and, as we pointed out recently, is simply driving people to circumvent the law by using other ways to access content they want.