HADOPI, France's three-strikes anti-piracy law is finally working. It took a few years and a few tens of millions of euros but it's finally paying off. The first man caught downloading pirated material has been punished for his transgression.
Granted, it wasn't his transgression, it was his soon-to-be ex-wife's, and he only has to pay €150, $194, but victory is victory
The law and the organization tasked with enforcing it, HADOPI, have been in effect for two years now. In that time, three million IP addresses were identified as possibly downloading infringing material.
Of those, 1.15 million were sent a "first notice" notifying them that their actions were not only not nice, they may have been illegal.
People soon learned their lesson and only 102,854 of those got a second notice warning them to "cut it out." That's when most people stopped their thieving and only 340 people were targeted with a third and final strike.
So there you go, three million IP addresses, one man found guilty and ordered to pay a small fine even though he didn't actually do the downloading.
The only reason he was ordered to pay the fine is because he ignored all three warnings. Of course, he ignored those warnings because he wasn't the one doing the downloading.
But he was aware that his wife did download a couple of songs. It's his admission of this knowledge that made him guilty in from of the French court.
The French authorities have been working on dropping the funding on the HADOPI agency, and thus render the law useless, but it's still a work in progress. And that still leaves the law active, even if there's no one to enforce it.
It's hard to assess how successful the law has been or not. On the one hand, you have only one man found guilty, for things he didn't do, in two years.
But there is the question of why HADOPI didn't send second and third notices to so many people. Whether more than one million people stopped downloading infringing material because of the warnings or whether HADOPI simply didn't get around to sending the second and third round of notices to them is hard to tell.