France likely to drop Hadopi

By Future of Copyright

It would seem that France’s controversial graduated response approach (known by the name of the agency enforcing it, Hadopi), which is likely to have inspired the US Copyright Alert System and New Zealand’s new “three strikes” law, will be abandoned in favor of other measures.

The French Minister of Culture, Aurelie Filippetti, and her advisor, Pierre Lescure, have recently presented an alternative approach to combating piracy. This approach consists of three regulatory tracks; giving intermediaries more responsibilities with regard to reducing illegal content, reducing the visibility of illegal content in search engines and addressing the sources of revenue of sites that infringe copyright. As opposed to Hadopi, the new approach does not include the possibility of criminal proceedings against individuals.

However, the French Minister’s new approach has been criticized as unrealistic. For instance, it has been pointed out that significant alternations to the legal framework for online intermediaries would have to emerge from the EU. It has also been noted that if any one search engine will not supply links to illegal content, then others will. Such alternative search engines could be either integrated into P2P programs or operate on a completely decentralized basis. Finally, with regard to sources of revenue, the critics indicate that the new approach is likely to foster the development of alternative payment constructions, such as BitCoin. Such services would provide a greater measure of anonymity.

Although it remains to be seen how the new French regulatory approach to combating online copyright infringement will be implemented in practice, critics predict that this approach will not be effective and is likely to encourage the emergence of new forms of piracy. 

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