Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

Failblog: Following France's Tough Piracy Law, Piracy Rates Go Up


Here's one of those fabulous stats that basically explodes an argument people thought was done and dusted: New data shows that online content piracy has risen in France despite the nation's super-tough three-strikes Net ban law.

France, among several controversial legal moves concerning Net technology, has been busy enacting some draconian Web piracy laws that almost rival the Big Brother-ish moves going on in the U.K. (which even the boss of the country's biggest telecoms network disagrees with.) France's new "Hadopi" law is the real monster we're talking about—it actively connects the country's music biz through ISPs to music pirates, and penalizes repeat offending users by severing their Net connection after three warnings.

Sounds fierce, right? May deter you from downloading that episode of How I Met Your Mother (rather, "La Manière Dont Je Me Suis Rencontreé Avec Ta Mère") or Mika's latest album? You may think so. Mais...Non. Those French types are actually defying their government, as a frank telephone study of 2,000 Bretons by the University of Rennes shows. Comparing user habits before and after the enactment of Hadopi revealed that piracy rates of all types have risen 3%.

The manner pirates are using to acquire the illicit data has shifted though—away from peer-to-peer sharing systems like bit torrenting, to "file locker" systems like Megaupload or Rapidshare, or illegal file-streaming systems which aren't explicitly covered in the Hadopi law. This sort of piracy actually soared by some 27% after Hadopi (and probably actually more than this, assuming survey responders were wary of admitting to it), which demonstrates that the French public are much cannier than the legislators. We can assume, though, that before long there'll be a legal move to fix these loopholes.

But we're human. So you can also expect that piracy will just bubble up elsewhere in France once this fix occurs. And that's where the real stupidity of tough laws like Hadopi is exposed: If so many people want to pirate content, in France and elsewhere around the World, then the system itself (where the content providers are overly aggressive about their IP, which they simultaneously want sold to as many suckers as possible) is broken.

[Via TorrentFreak; image: akahodag]

To hear more news like this, totally legally, follow me on Twitter.