French Anti-Piracy Law Doomed to Fail

Despite plenty of protests, the French Parliament passed a controversial new law last week that will see alleged copyright infringers disconnected from the Internet. Now, a new survey reveals that 60% of French Internet users are against the so-called HADOPI law. 69% say they believe it will fail.

The new legislation passed in France last week requiring ISPs to cut off the Internet access of alleged copyright infringers has never been popular with anyone outside of the government and entertainment industries.

The new ‘HADOPI’ (Creation and Internet) law introduces unlimited options for copyright holders to go after individuals and sites that are alleged to have infringed copyright, without having to actually prove that the accused are categorically guilty. Now, a new survey by French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) for LeJdd shows just how (un)popular this so-called ‘graduated response’ is with the public.

From a survey of 1004 individuals representative of the French Internet user, 60% of respondents said they were not in favor of the law (42% were strongly against), with a third saying they support it “somewhat”. Only those respondents over 65 years old showed greater support, with 53% in favor and 41% against. Despite this, 64% of the respondents in this category felt that the graduated response wont be affective at all.

Interestingly, there was no difference between the different age groups in the expected effectiveness of the new anti-piracy legislation. Overall, the majority responded quite negatively. Just 24% of respondents said that they felt the ‘graduated response’ would be “very” or “somewhat” effective, with a huge 69% believing it will fail.

As in most countries, illegal file-sharing is widespread in France. One in four of the respondents admitted that they downloaded copyrighted music or movies regularly. There is a clear generation gap here, as 40% of those younger than 30 years categorized themselves as active downloaders opposed to 6% in the 65 years and older group.

Not not everyone is sceptical of the scheme. While repeating the IFPI nonsense that 95% of all music is pirated, U2 manager Paul McGuiness writes that not only is the Creation and Internet law “the right solution to an enormous problem” but also “a fair and balanced solution” that “will work in practice.”

Clearly not everyone agrees. The full survey is available in French here (.pdf)

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