Thursday 29 September 2011

HADOPI - Bon Anniversaire?

Today the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des oeuvres et la protection des droits sur Internet, universally known as Hadopi, published its first "Rapport d'Activité", detailing the activities of the agency over the last 18 months. An imposing 148 pages, the report describes the history, activities and legislative background of Hadopi, charged with the implementation in France of the Graduated Response, land of its birth. 

Hadopi began sending notifications to suspected infringers on 1 October 2010, so the Réponse Graduée is now 1 year old. The scale of Hadopi's activities is considerable. In the period 1 October 2010 to 30 June 2011, it was notified of 18,429,234 alleged infringements by right holders, an average of 71,613 per day. It made 1,023,079 requests to ISPs to identify subscribers, of which 911,970 were identified. The 11% of cases in which there was no identification is put down to various causes, such as duplications resulting from changed dynamic IP addresses. 470,935 "first notices" were sent out and 20,598 "second notices". It does not appear that any subscribers have yet been referred to the Public Prosecutor following a third detection.

The report provides data on the evolution of the notice-sending effort. Having begun in September 2010 with a few hundred identification requests to ISPs, from 18 October 2010 Hadopi sent some 2,000 requests a day to ISPs, stepping up to 4,500 a day on 20 January 2011. From 12 May 2011, the Authority was sending 11,500 identification requests per day. These figures are an indicator of the capacity of ISPs to handle volumes of requests.

Hadopi has carried out public surveys on its work. In late March 2011, 41% of Internet users who were at all aware of Hadopi's existence said that the agency's existence encouraged them to change their activities online. This was an increase of 16% on a similar survey carried out by Hadopi in late October/early November 2010. Of those admitting unlawful Internet use, 44% said that they were very much or somewhat encouraged to change their behaviour as a result of Hadopi. The Secretary General of Hadopi, Eric Walter, suggests that these results are consistent with industry figures showing a decline in peer-to-peer infringement, but whether this is because absolute levels of infringement are falling or rather that users are moving to other methods of infringement remains to be determined. The agency is developing its statistical and technical efforts to obtain more informative data and a quantitative assessment is promised for the agency's second report. 

Much more could be drawn from the report, for example as to the agency's programme of issuing "labels" of approval for legitimate content sites. The scale and detail of the French effort is remarkable, whatever one thinks of its value.

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