From the implementation of the law on May 12, 2009, the High Authority for Dissemination of Works and Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI) has been preparing the procedure to fight piracy, promoting legal online sales and warning pirates about the consequences of being caught illegally downloading protected content.  

This week, HADOPI is not only launching a first strike against illegal downloading but also announcing the creation of five Labs.  

First warning e-mails sent

On October 1st, 2010, the French “three strikes” scheme has officially been launched.  

HADOPI indeed initiated the first strike by sending the first warning e-mails to all persons which Internet connection had been identified as having been used to make illegal downloading.  

Although most ISPs did collaborate with HADOPI and sent said e-mails to their subscribers, one of them is still resisting. Indeed, Free publicly announced they do not intend to comply consider they have not been given proper assurances and the proper context to warrant the data’s security.  

HADOPI (and the French government behind it) is, obviously, not too happy about the position of Free but declared that in the end it is Free customers who may be harmed by this decision as they will not receive the first warning they are entitled to.  

Indeed, if after a first warning by e-mail the piracy recurs within six months of such warning, the Internet user will receive a second mail, followed by a certified letter. After three warnings, the pirate could be prosecuted and in addition to the standard sanction in case of infringement (up to 300.000 € in fine and 3 years imprisonment), the judge may order a suspension of the pirate’s Internet access for up on one year.  

In any event, any person who received such email shall react / reply promptly. Guidelines have been provided by HADOPI on its website to know how to properly address theses warnings.  

The discussion remains open and will be fed by the Labs

HADOPI’s sole purpose is not to chase the unlucky Internet users who download protected works illegally. Its role is also to lead the discussion and, possibly feed such discussion, over the protection of intellectual property rights on the Internet, the development of a legal offer, etc.  

On October 5, 2010, the current General Secretary of HADOPI, Eric Walter has introduced the HADOPI Labs’ which will be launched before the end of the year around five themes:  

  • Intellectual Property and Internet  
  • Societies and Internet  
  • Online usages  
  • Digital economy of creation  
  • Networks and technology  

These Labs will act like think tanks led by experts, to be appointed by HADOPI (which is calling for applications). Their mission will be to study the five themes chosen by the Authority and produce reports to be published and proposals to adapt our regulation to this new digital era. To achieve their missions there will have a total budget of almost one million Euros. “It is an experimental system” underlined Eric Walter, the Labs will have one year to prove themselves after what HADOPI will decide whether to extend the experience.