Piracy up in France despite '3 strikes' law

In the first few months following the adoption of the three-strikes anti-piracy legislation in France, online piracy has increased 3 per cent in the period September to December last year. Instead of stopping, file-sharers are seeking alternatives to bypass the new law. The research also reveals that disconnecting file-sharers will actually hurt the revenues of the music industry.

Proponents of the new 'Hadopi' law said it would convince millions of people to stop downloading copyrighted content through file-sharing networks. A study published by the University of Rennes shows

that the French are not changing their downloading habits much, despite the tougher legislation.

There is, however, an interesting shift in the sources people use to download copyrighted movies and music. At an increasing rate the French are using streaming services along with file-hosting 'cyberlockers' such as Rapidshare and Megaupload. These services are not covered by the Hadopi law and therefore 'safe' to use. Conversely, usage of P2P services such as BitTorrent dropped from 17.1 per cent to 14.6 per cent between September and December last year. Overall the research seems to suggest that the looming disconnection threat has changed how and where people get pirated content, while the piracy rate itself increased.

Another noteworthy statistic uncovered by the research is that half of all P2P users who download copyrighted content also buy digital content online. So if these users were disconnected from the Internet under the new law, the music industry would lose customers and thus revenue.

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