back to article French minister: 3 strikes anti-piracy rule a 'waste of money'

The future of France's controversial "three strikes" copyright anti-infringement rule appears to have been called into question after the country's new culture minister branded the regime "expensive" and said that it had "not fulfilled its mission". In an interview with French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, Aurélie Filippetti …


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  1. LarsG


    They just cant afford to prosecute 99,000 copyright infringements. It would take the courts a thousand years to get through the list. And the courts would have to pass on the fines so it wouldn't even make any money.

    This was seen to be coming a long time ago.

    1. SW

      Re: Cost

      Knowing the French legal system, a thousand years to process that number of cases is one heck of an understatement .

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Laws create criminals

    Yes, the correlation between the number of new laws a government enacts and the rise in "criminal activity" that follows cannot be lost on the french. Surely the best way to reduce crime is to stop making things illegal?

    1. KroSha
      Big Brother

      Re: Laws create criminals

      That makes perfect sense. But what then are we to *do* with the work-shy politicos who no longer have a function?

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: Laws create criminals

        With all the money saved "we" could buy a few-hundred rockets from SpaceX and shoot them all into the sun. I was originally going to suggest a one-way trip to the sahara, but we'd only end up with a dire shortage of sand.

  3. nematoad

    Get ready for the MPAA, RIAA and their French equivalents to start stamping their feet and whining "You are not trying hard enough, don't you know that home taping is killing our business", or something along those tired old lines..

    1. dogged

      Vive la France!

      Yes, but this is the French we're talking about.

      Tell them they MUST do something and it's illegal for them to refuse and watch them sit back and smoke Gitanes while cheerfully ignoring you forever.

      The only exception has ever been their politicians, who agree to all sorts of bullshit that the population totally ignores. If only we in the UK did likewise this country would be a much happier place.

  4. cyke1

    what i think is missed in all this

    "Under the Hadopi law, which was introduced in 2009, alleged copyright infringers are identified by their internet service providers (ISPs) and will be reported to a judge once they have received three warnings."

    Um what I believe is missed, as a recent Judge in the US has ruled that an IP don't identify a person. The person that gets fined that 1500 eur might just be some poor sucker that got his wireless hacked or computer infected with a Trojan.

  5. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    A potential problem here...

    ... is that the French could get even more draconian in order to 'cut costs'. For example, they could go down the route of straight fines for each infraction, with the option of appealing, but God help you if you lose and they increase the fine and charge costs. Not too dissimilar to how speeding tickets operate, though with a greater chance of false accusations.

    So things could get worse - and if it 'works' in France, the lobbyists will be pushing this around the EU like lightning.

    1. Daggersedge

      Re: A potential problem here...

      The first time la loi Hadopi was passed, le Conseil constitutionnel threw it out as against the constitution. The reasons were that the penalty was seen to be disproportionate, IP address was seen to be a weak proof, and justice was deemed *NOT* to be served by an administrative procedure. The law was then amended so that one had to go before a judge before internet access was cut.

      It's likely, therefore, that automatic fines won't fly with the court. Certainly, of the reasons given above - which may not be all of the reasons - the IP address still remains weak proof and justice is still not served by an administrative procedure. I don't know whether the court would look upon a fine as being disproportionate, though. I live in France and speak French but I'm not all that well acquainted with the French legal system. It should be noted, though, if I recall correctly, that it was the PS, the party now in charge of the government, who challenged the original version of the law.

  6. jon 72

    Hadopi ear candles ?

    I'll get my coat

  7. VinceH

    "In financial terms, €12 million euros a year and 60 officers is expensive just to send a million emails."

    Should have employed a spammer. S/he/it would have sent that many out for considerably less.

  8. g e

    "Hadopi has not fulfilled its mission of developing legal downloads"


    There's only one source the legal downloads can come from so I'd say Big Media had demonstrated it has no intention of moving into the third millennium to join its 'customers'.

    Therefore they can't whine, having been given the chance, backed up with legislation. Would be nice if the French gave them a Gallic Shrug saying 'well, you had your chance...'

    1. cyke1

      Re: "Hadopi has not fulfilled its mission of developing legal downloads"

      Does it really surprise anyone they didn't? I mean this piracy war in question been going on since 2000 when Napster was sued. In 12+ years they still havn't gotten with the times, and its only a matter of time before these companies fail.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Hadopi has not fulfilled its mission of developing legal downloads"

        It's been going on since the industrial revolution (starting with Patents, moving to copyright).

    2. Tom 35

      Re: "Hadopi has not fulfilled its mission of developing legal downloads"

      Stopping people from downloading free stuff is not the same as getting them to buy stuff.

      - They might be downloading stuff they can't buy.

      - They may already buy a lot of the stuff they download and like. (cutting them off could reduce sales)

      - They may not give much value to the download and will just go watch TV / listen to the radio / read a book.

      - Warez kiddies who download more then they could ever watch/listen just to have the biggest hoard of stuff.

      The number of people who would have paid for something from an existing service but didn't because they could get it for free is not that large I think.

      Even if they do buy more DVDs the money will come from something else like eating out (less money to local business, more to Hollywood).

      Not a good value for taxpayers money.

  9. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    You can't cut off the Internet when you want all government services to move onto the Internet. It's quite simple. And, fortunately, it will be the eventual death of laws like this.

    You can either cut costs by putting government services online, or you can start cutting people off willy-nilly for a comparatively minor offence against a corporation, not the government (and much more easily dealt with - fine for the price of the item downloaded + 100% legal fee, done). It's like cutting off someone's phone line because they once told a friend how to open their car without a key using it. In *EXTREME* circumstances where they are persistently a nuisance / danger, you could potentially get a court order that stops the PERSON accessing the 'net (a standard ASBO-condition), but to cut off a connection that may be entirely unrelated to the offender? And even then, you know what the human-rights issues are that crop up from that.

    The Internet is fast becoming a "utility" like any other. And though you can cut off my water, gas, electricity, etc. you really need to have a good reason to do so. And does cutting off mean I can, for example, just put a new PAYG SIM in my 3G phone and carry on using it as a "new" connection that you can't trace? If not, then surely an ABSO or similar on the *person* would be more effective? And putting people on an "Internet blacklist" is like saying they can't be trusted to have electricity supply brought into their house. Doing so because they downloaded 3 songs is like saying that you did so because they blew a couple of fuses with their Christmas lights. The response has always been, and will always be, disproportionate while you're literally severing people's connections.

    And that just isn't compatible with "smart meters", online government services (taxation, benefits - hell, just looking up what bins you have to put out), online banking, and a myriad other things. It's like saying that someone can't have mail delivered to their address - not because they bite the postman, but because they once sent a photocopy of a school photo of their child through the post.

    Governments saving money is actually the thing that will kill off this law. It generates no money for them (they see zero increased tax revenue from the music industry, I imagine), no money for their citizens, yet costs a fortune to implement, is ineffective, punishes the wrong person and stops people being able to be reliant on their cheaper "online" services, rather than having to cause more problems in person / on the phone / etc.

    And in the end, you reap absolutely zero benefit as a government (except possibly the odd backhander). When the backhander's stop or people ask questions, it's quite obvious that you'll never achieve anything by this method.

    You want effective copyright protection? Fine identified users the value of the copyright infringement plus legal costs. Like everyone has done for CENTURIES. And then you find out that the problem is you can't without identifying users and you can't do that without penalising legitimate users (i.e. cutting off a flat of students because ONE pirated something) or some sort of vastly draconian Internet ID laws that will never pass. So give it up.

    P.S. Where does the law stand on VoIP phones? Do they get cut off too, even if they're your only phone? What about if the user has an contractual obligation to be connected to the Internet (e.g. smart meters, etc.)?

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Cutting off internet services

      There's also the human rights aspect regarding collective punishments.

      An IP connection isn't associated with a single person. It serves a household. You can't therefore deny access to all the members of that family or house simply because of the alleged wrongdoings of a single individual. Further, in a shared environment, it's not at all clear which particular individual performed the offending action. Given that not all potential users are always present it's not even clear that you require other users to grass-up the offender as it's entirely possible that they weren't aware of who downloaded what, and when.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cutting off internet services

        "You can't therefore deny access to all the members of that family or house simply because of the alleged wrongdoings of a single individual. "

        Boo hoo.

        Like most freetards, you have no idea how ridiculous you sound.

        1. Vic

          Re: Cutting off internet services

          > Boo hoo.



        2. GitMeMyShootinIrons

          Re: Cutting off internet services

          "Boo hoo.

          Like most freetards, you have no idea how ridiculous you sound."

          I'm not a freetard myself, but I don't think you thought this out - you seem to prefer a Stalinist option of one person is accused, we'll punish everyone. How liberal of you.

    2. Matt Williams

      You can cut of gas and electricity but I believe it's unusual to cut of water because of the risk of disease.

    3. chrisf1

      @Lee dowling

      Your logic is impeccable. I agree with it mostly. Your okey assumption is its flaw I fear. Government struggles to be consistent let alone logical in areas of such detail. Take for example the common imposition of legal sanctions for relatively minor first offences that prevent the accused of earning a living. How about the Patent Box - giving you a monopoly now means they also give you a tax break to ensure you exploit it .... because a monopoly wasn't good enough. Want to give your innovation away or licence it in a non-exclusive way - pay up the full tax ....

      I'd suggest that if they did go down the 'cut-off' route they'd then point out the number of people unable to access on line services and create a whole new set of local physical access points with public sector moderators and guardians etc. Oh and probably not ever get the local council one stop shop office properly able to access their own services, nor staff the internet cafe in the local library.

      Actually , cynicism aside on certain departments , I am being somewhat unfair. Many people in governance discussions get this point easily, especially those involved in technology matters. I've been privileged to work closely with some of them. The downside is the eagerness outside of that expertise to regulate what are global capabilities locally rather than ensure proper consistent incentives exist to migrate and transform public services and wider exploitation of digital technologies.

      There are by the way some reasons not to have a 'no cut off' in principle either. Some evidence that restrictions on water severance on public health grounds (entirely reasonable) are exploited by middle income people not paying the water bill.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    €12 Million / 1Million people = €12 per person...

    Surely that is much higher than the actual losses caused by the copyright violators?

    In terms of lost sales, each download does NOT equate one lost sale, simply because the down-loader wouldn't be able to afford it.. MAYBE 1 purchase per 20-30 films downloaded? and in fact I suspect many of the most prolific down-loaders are also big buyers of film. I know friends who are big down-loaders, but they also have expensive cinema systems and purchase many films, they download Mainly for international shows that they cannot get in the UK.

    I also know of people who have purchased films after downloading them, whereas they would never have looked them up if they hadn't been able to watch for free first...

    Big media is dumb, and that is the problem.

  12. h4rm0ny

    Against human rights.

    You can punish people for piracy, but you can't cut off Internet access as a punishment. Ignoring the issue of that being near unenforceable outside of prison, it is fundamentally wrong. So much of learning, cultural interaction and communication with friends, family, work has moved onto the Internet now, that you'd effectively be branding a big "PARIAH" sign onto the person. You'd be making it hard for them work, to interact with others.... They wouldn't even be able to use most modern phones!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Against human rights.

      "You can punish people for piracy, but you can't cut off Internet access as a punishment."

      You can and you should.

      " you'd effectively be branding a big "PARIAH" sign onto the person"

      No bad thing, but it's a hard for freetards to spell, and most are pariahs any way. "IDIOT" would work nicely.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Against human rights.

        "You can and you should."

        No, you shouldn't. Or have you just completely thrown out that punishment should be proportionate to the crime? Someone pirates goods, then a proportionate punishment is to charge them for the cost of what they have stolen, plus a fine so that there is a discincentive to just stealing whatever it is you would buy otherwise. If people distribute your goods, then a greater punishment is likely appropriate. But cutting them off from social interaction for piracy, making it difficult for them to work or participate in education? How is that an approrpriate response?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Against human rights.

          Cutting off the internet for a downloader is a bit like the sharia law where a thief has his right hand cut off.

          Doing so leaves him with only one "dirty hand", making him a social pariah because no one will eat with him.

          I'd like to believe the media industry doesn't have that one in their cooker or that a civilized country like France won't go there. But when you read some of these "Stop thief" comments it does make you wonder what the hell the fuss is all about.

      2. TraceyC

        Re: Against human rights.

        So, after someone visits your house, and downloads an illegal copy of something, you're saying you're OK with *your* Internet access being cut off? If the download happens off of an IP *you* own, it's *your* service that gets cut.

        Unless, of course, you never have any visitors. Or don't have a 'Net connection worth your visitors using. If so, by all means continue to argue from your inexperience.

      3. mhenriday

        «No bad thing, but it's a hard [sic !] for freetards to spell»

        Had you not chosen to hide behind a mask, dear AC, those benighted souls could, perhaps have turned to you for aid not merely with English orthography, but grammar as well....


    2. John A Blackley

      Re: Against human rights.

      Since when has being "fundamentally wrong" been considered in lawmaking?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    French culture isn't worth protecting

    Johnny Halliday... Carli Bruni... you may as well have the freetards have it.

  14. Christoph

    Warning email

    Dear Sir, you have been reported for pirating files. If this report is incorrect, click on the following link to register a protest:

    1. Tom 35

      Re: Warning email

      But isn't that the Sony music home page?

  15. That Steve Guy

    Cutting off

    The problem with cutting off the internet is that an IP address does not constitute reliable evidence of misconduct.

    See the case of the American SWAT team who raided a house because of an anti terror threat posted online only to discover they had insecure WIFI and the perp lived down the street.

    If they cut people off these measures will result in a massive influx of legal action against the department which will bury them.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's very simple really

    $10,000 per copy fines and mandatory jail time is all that pirates understand. Anything less is a waste of time and money. Just fine and imprison them and get on with life.

    1. Tom 35

      Re: It's very simple really

      Not enough. Replace all downloads with a copy of "The Devil Inside".

      No one will ever download anything ever again.

  17. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    She said

    "I prefer to cut funding for things whose utility is not proven"

    Yeah, more like "for things whose total lack of utility has been proven without any shade of doubt".

    60 people to send a couple of million emails? They should have hired 1 spammer instead, he would have sent many more emails by now and for a fraction of cost...

  18. Daniel B.
    Thumb Up

    Not surprised

    Hollande won the elections, which means a Left-leaning party (Socialists) are now in power. Left-leaning parties are generally against SOPA/Hadopi/Sinde/ACTA-style laws, so I wouldn't be surprised if the entire law were to be taken down by the current French government.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's Mandy?

    SOS .Quickly, send him out to Frnace urgently as a special emissary of the MAFIAA and drum some sense into French ministers.

    Take this minister on a yacht immediately and wine/dine her before its too late.

    Come on Mandy, the world needs you & your enthusiasm in rushing out laws.

  20. Trollslayer

    I think I know why noone has been brought to court

    If any of the early cases are shown to have accused the wrong individual then it will be the death of several political careers. Remember ACS Law?

    If this was done properly then I might support it.

  21. mhenriday

    Intelligence over the channel,

    continent cut off....


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