Towards the end of Hadopi law in France

Towards the end of Hadopi law in France

The Hadopi (High Authority for the dissemination of works and protection of rights on the Internet) controls users who download movies and music illegally in France. It has been a subject of much controversy since its inception early 2011 and is now becoming the victim of its poor record. Indeed, according to some figures released in 2013, it turns out to be a particular financial burden.

Hadopi, the agency in charge of enforcing the law would thus be in debt: according to the site PC Impact, for €1 grant from the Ministry of Culture, the High Authority spends €1.07. In 2013, the Hadopi in France received a grant of €8,427,600 euros (vs.11 million in 2012).

A reform of the law has been under consideration in France for long. In 2013, Pierre Lescure, a former TV channel manager was asked to work on a report addressing the benefits and future of HADOPI. In the Lescure report which was released in spring 2013, he proposed the outright removal of the Act, but other measures are also studied. Aurélie Filippetti, who was then Minister of Culture, announced in July 2013 that a decree had been signed to remove the fact that those who have infringed a law may see their internet access blocked for a 2-week period. “If convicted, the judge cannot pronounce an additional penalty of internet break”, welcomed the Minister.

This way, “only a fine can now be imposed for the offense of gross negligence.” This maximum punishment had indeed only been applied once since the implementation of the Hadopi law. In June 2013, a court in Seine-Saint-Denis sentenced a user to have his internet access stopped for 2 weeks, due to its illegal downloading.

But Aurélie Filippetti felt that it is “a great victory for all French citizens because the penalty was for her deemed and ” unsuited to the world that is ours “besides” affecting individual’s rights. ” The abolition of this maximum penalty, however, does not call into question the desire of the French government to protect the rights. In case of illegal downloading, “the graduated response will be heavily restructured and Hadopi shall be removed,” she certified.

This new approach aims at fighting against websites that earn money via piracy, focusing on the supplier more than on the web user. Hadopi, the regulator behind the law in three stages shall eventually disappear. Although fines are maintained for those who proceed to online piracy.

Under the Government’s proposal, the Senate has finally canceled the dismantling of the High Authority for the Distribution of works and the protection of rights on the Internet (Hadopi), which was scheduled in 2022. Yet the end of the Hadopi law was a promise made by France Hollande in 2012 …

During his campaign for the presidential election in 2012, concerning Internet access in France, Francois Hollande announced the end of the Hadopi law: “I will restore the Hadopi law by signing a great law Act 2 of the French cultural exception, which will reconcile the defense creators’ rights and access to internet works with ease and secure. ”

Since then, the famous “French cultural exception Act 2 ” was put in place, and the promise to beef up the crackdown against commercial counterfeiting has been respected. However, the end of the HADOPI law was forgotten.

At the turn of an amendment passed by surprise by a small number of deputies earlier this year, in a text on the administrative authorities, the MPs decided to set the end of the Hadopi to happen in 2022. The government was then forced to take public position forgetting the commitment of the President Hollande.

The Law Committee of the Senate adopted on second reading the draft law by which the government amendment halted the end of the Hadopi. The Government had to explain the reasons for this amendment and why it did not intend to tackle the graduated response. “Since 2010, the High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI) fully ensures the implementation of its missions, i.e. the graduated response and development of legal offers”.

Hadopi has become an important element of the fight against piracy strategy, in particular its educational role, alongside other elements such as, for example, efforts to dry up funding for sites participating in the illegal distribution of some protected works.

From the beginning,  the choice was made to entrust an independent public authority graduated response procedure which was, not an act of infringement, but an oversight in relation to the obligation Internet subscription holder surveillance its access position.

The Government states that because the educational role of the HADOPI, concerning the implementation of the fight against piracy and monitoring the development of legal offers, it is not advisable to open a debate today on the future of the HADOPI.

But HADOPI will not disappear in 2022. It will continue to be very expensive to the taxpayer and to the rights holders.

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