French minister on three-strikes law: “12 million euros per year is expensive for a million emails”

France’s controversial three-strikes internet piracy law, known as HADOPI, has recently been hailed as a success, as working down from the 736,000 people who received the first warning letter, 62,000 received a second and only 135 got the third, and most serious, letter.

Not everyone is convinced though, as the French Minister of Culture, Aurelie Filippetti, has blasted the law, and has stated she will cut funding for the scheme this September.

Speaking to a French magazine, Fillipetti says that “HADOPI has not fulfilled its mission,” and that its cost isn’t justified by its performance. If you’re wondering how much money it takes to pursue the pirates in France, it’s 12 million euros for a team of 60 officers.

Fillipetti sums this up by saying “in financial terms, it’s an expensive way to send a million emails.”

She’s not the only one against the three-strikes scheme either, as new French President Francois Hollande has already announced plans to revise the law. He states that one of HADOPI’s roles, along with administrating the three-strikes law, was to research “alternative business models,” but this objective hasn’t been met.

This is important, as HADOPI wasn’t really designed to put an end to piracy — merely deter it — but to increase access to and sales of legally obtainable digital material. Statistics showing the amount of letters sent out are useless here, and are potentially being used as a smokescreen to obscure the lack of growth.

HADOPI’s future is uncertain, however any talk of its demise maybe premature, as its fate will be decided after the publication of a governmental report, due in March next year.

The three-strikes law, or subtly tweaked variations, are being examined for use in the UK, the USA and elsewhere in the world. Being one of the most high-profile test cases for such a law, France’s implementation of HADOPI, and its subsequent success or failure, is potential ammunition for its supporters or detractors, depending on what happens over the coming months.

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