France drops three strikes anti-piracy scheme

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

July 10, 2013

Less than week after the Irish High Courts paved the way for a three strikes scheme similar to that of France, the French government has issued an official decree putting a stop to disconnecting internet access for copyright infringement.

The so-called Hadopi (Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des droits sur Internet) law has not only been mired in controversy following the Constitutional Council’s declaration that internet access was a human right, but has also been disastrous on  practical grounds.

Despite employing 60 people and spending €12 million per year on sending out 1.6 million warning emails, only €750 has been collected in fines, and one single person being disconnected from the internet for 15 days.

The new rules call for fines instead, starting at just €60 for the first offence. However, the government has indicated that it continues to see piracy as a problem, and plans to tackle the issue in two ways.

The first is to scrap Hadopi altogether, and concentrate on chasing large for-profit organizations. The second is a proposed ‘culture tax’, which would be levied on all consumption devices (such as computers, smartphones, tablets, e-readers, consoles and TV’s), aimed at compensating the government for revenue lost in taxes on pirated media. This tax is expected to be introduced in November.

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