Three Strikes Anti-Piracy Budget “Too Expensive To Justify” Says Minister

A statement by French Culture Minister Aurelie Filipetti spells bad and possibly fatal news for the country's "three strikes" anti-piracy scheme. The Minister said that not only is the cost of running Hadopi too great to justify, but the agency has failed to deliver when it comes to developing the availability of legal content. As the final insult, Filipetti said that Internet disconnections are a disproportionate way to deal with infringement.

It was President Nicolas Sarkozy’s baby, a mechanism through which he could prove that punishing file-sharers is the way to get them back into music and movie stores and away from unauthorized sites. But today all is not well with Hadopi.

France’s new Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti seems particularly unimpressed with the so-called “three strikes” mechanism, indicating clearly this week that her government would not be giving Hadopi the level of support it enjoyed under the former president.

In comments made to Nouvel Observateur, Minister Filippetti said in difficult times cuts have to made, and it appears that spending money on Hadopi is low down the country’s list of priorities.

“In financial terms, 12 million euros a year and 60 officers, it’s an expensive way to send a million e-mails,” the Minister said. “As part of budgetary efforts, I will ask that funding of Hadopi is greatly reduced.”

The Minister said she prefers to cut funding for initiatives that have not yet proven themselves rather than ones that have. The exact cuts will be detailed in September.

Meanwhile, according to a Numerama report this week which quotes Hadopi statistics to June 2012, 340 French account holders are now on their 3rd strike. This leaves them open to losing their Internet connections but according to Minister Filippetti, this ultimate punishment goes too far.

“The suspension of Internet access seems a disproportionate sanction against the end goal,” she said.

As highlighted many times before, and recently most forcefully by the Danish government, the promotion and development of legal services must be a priority when it comes to reducing online piracy. In this respect, Hadopi appears to have failed.

“I do not know what will become of this institution, but one thing is clear: Hadopi has not fulfilled its mission to develop legal offers,” Filippetti said.

A consultation on the future of Hadopi led by former Canal+ director Pierre Lescure is expected to deliver its findings in the coming months.

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