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French Anti-Piracy Law: Fail

March 18, 2010
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Does clamping down on piracy via the law book stop piracy?  It’s seems it might not…it just changes form:

France, among several controversial legal moves concerning Net technology, has been busy enacting some draconian Web piracy laws that almost rival the Big Brother-ish moves going on in the U.K. (which even the boss of the country’s biggest telecoms network disagrees with.) France’s new “Hadopi” law is the real monster we’re talking about–it actively connects the country’s music biz through ISPs to music pirates, and penalizes repeat offending users by severing their Net connection after three warnings. Sounds fierce, right? May deter you from downloading that episode of How I Met Your Mother (rather, “La Manière Dont Je Me Suis Rencontreé Avec Ta Mère”) or Mika’s latest album? You may think so. Mais…Non. Those French types are actually defying their government, as a frank telephone study of 2,000 Bretons by the University of Rennes shows. Comparing user habits before and after the enactment of Hadopi revealed that piracy rates of all types have risen 3%.

The manner pirates are using to acquire the illicit data has shifted though–away from peer-to-peer sharing systems like bit torrenting, to “file locker” systems like Megaupload or Rapidshare, or illegal file-streaming systems which aren’t explicitly covered in the Hadopi law. This sort of piracy actually soared by some 27% after Hadopi (and probably actually more than this, assuming survey responders were wary of admitting to it), which demonstrates that the French public are much cannier than the legislators. We can assume, though, that before long there’ll be a legal move to fix these loopholes.

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