There’s a rather strange statistic that is floating around and it originates from French media outlet 20 Minutes.fr. It says that a survey was conducted and found that 69% of file-sharers would quit file-sharing because of the new three strikes law in France. Of course, after looking in to this a little, this number is extremely misleading.
Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes
20 Minutes.fr is running a story (Google translation) about a survey. The survey asked that, under the risk of being disconnected and being threatened with 1,500 Euro fines, would you give up file-sharing? The answer they came up with is 69%. Another 77% said that they would monitor their network if they felt that their network is at risk.
Now, you might be wondering about the vagueness of that second statistic. Is it under risk from hacking? Malware? File-sharing? Who knows. But this is pretty much where the credibility starts to fall apart. Who was asked in this survey? What else did the survey say? We clicked on the links, but weren’t directed towards the actual survey data. In fact, we were unable to locate the data at all. This is a big red flag because Canadians have had these kinds of statistics floating around the country years ago. It turned out, those statistics, which had foreign record labels screaming Canada was a pirate nation, was really cherry-picked data and anything that didn’t jive with the intended outcome was immediately cast aside. Just look at the 2006 Pollara study as a pretty good example of this. (Note: Pollara’s Executive Director commented in a 2009 article here on ZeroPaid that old market research today is “dubious at best”)
The circumstances of this particular study on HADOPI is unclear (funding, influence, etc.) at this point, but if a whole survey was done and only two numbers come out of it, it’s strange at best and highly questionable at worst.
Additionally, international precedent suggests that more restrictive copyright laws actually increases the amount of unauthorized use of copyrighted material. This was seen in Sweden after IPRED was passed. The only thing file-sharers did was switch to alternative methods of getting their content where the law seems to be unreachable. In France, one-click hosting sites, streaming sites, and UseNet are only three examples of ways file-sharers can continue getting their content in ways that law enforcement such as HADOPI would have a hard time detecting. Do we even need to mention that the DMCA in the US hasn’t even come close to ridding the internet of all infringing activity? Of course, we don’t have to look at international experience since France has already seen an increase in file-sharing activity just because of the passage of HADOPI.
The only thing HADOPI will accomplish is catching a number of people who barely know what they are doing and moving more experienced file-sharers around… if the law is lucky enough that is.