When Francois Hollande was running for President of France, he said that he would repeal Hadopi, the three strikes law and agency that enforces it, rolling back this effort which the entertainment industry had celebrated (France was the first to propose and implement such a plan). After elected, his culture minister, Aurelie Filippetti made it clear that she was not impressed by Hadopi and ordered a study of the effectiveness of the effort, led by Pierre Lescure — a former entertainment industry executive — to look at possible proposals. His report came out Monday morning and it suggests killing off Hadopi, but is still chock full of other bad ideas. Hadopi the agency would be done away with, but another agency would pick up some of the responsibilities, it’s just that they’d greatly decrease the “punishment” aspect. Rather than losing internet access and having to pay up to €1,500, you’d keep your access and fines would be topped at €60.
But, on top of that, there are other policies that Lescure suggests that seem pretty bad as well, including extending the copyright levy (the “you must be a criminal tax”) to cover smartphones, tablets and any other connected device. He also suggested turning search engines and ad networks into copyright cops, asking them to cut off those deemed to be involved in large scale infringement. We’ve discussed in the past why this is an idea that won’t work and will likely stifle innovation while locking in some of the more dominant players (like Google), but governments do seem to like it.
The report does have a few good things to it: including getting publishers to finally release their content as ebooks, allowing more non-commercial remixing and such. In the end, it’s a mixed bag, or as the French publication Le Point noted: l’Hadopi est morte, vive L’Hadopi (Hadopi is dead, long live Hadopi).
Of course, this is also just a report, with no binding aspect to it. The government may choose to ignore the whole thing or to pick and choose some parts to implement. Either way, it does make the key point that, for all the money the French taxpayers have put towards Hadopi, it’s been a near total waste: “While illicit file sharing has dropped, legal paid services have not benefited as was hoped.” It all goes back to the same point we’ve argued for years. The industry keeps thinking their goal is to get rid of piracy, when we’ve been saying that the real goal is to figure out ways to make more revenue. They — incorrectly — seem to feel that the first leads to the second, even as there is almost no proof to support that conjecture in the long term.