HADOPI, the High Authority responsible for implementing the Graduated Response in France, has marked its first 18 months in operation by publishing a report on the changing level of online infringement. Although the downward trend is clear, the report offers four different measurements of the decline. Using panel surveys, the fall in P2P infringement over the 12 months of 2011 was either 17% (Neilson) or 29% (Médiamétrie). Studies based on the analysis of actual network traffic, on the other hand, indicated a fall of 43% (Peer Media Technologies) or 66% (ALPA - the French anti-piracy association for film).
This divergence may not be as perplexing as it first seems. The user surveys indicate the number of visitors to pirate sites, not the number of downloads per visitor. In relation to the network surveys, the Peer Media figure of 43% represents initiated downloads of a rolling slate of the top 200 to 300 films. The ALPA figure of 66% represents completed downloads of the top ten films (also a rolling slate). Many downloads are not completed; and the top 10 titles are much more in demand than the top 300, so a decline in the overall level of P2P infringement would be expected to have a proportionately greater effect on the most popular (and profitable) titles.
Coupled with the recent academic analysis of Dr Danaher and colleagues (a recent video presentation from Canada Music Week here), this evidence tends to support the proposition that HADOPI is succeeding. Its leadership may relieved that they have been able to reach such a point before the presidential election, the first vote in which takes place on 22 April. Under a Président Hollande, HADOPI's continued existence would surely be in question, even if the candidate of the Partie Socialiste has become increasingly nuanced on the subject.