Hadopi Cut Piracy In France, But Sales Down As Well

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 1, 2012
Updated • Dec 2, 2012
File Sharing, Internet

You may know that France has implemented a system called Hadopi about one and a half year ago. It is basically a monitoring and response system that is sending out three warning letters to alleged file sharers, with the third letter suspending the Internet account of that user for a year, and a fine of up to €1500 on top of it.

A report has been published recently that aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of Hadopi, and the figures it produces look impressive. Audience levels and illegal data sharing are all down in 2011 by figures between 17% and 66%.

The report looked at file hosting alternatives, and compared the site's traffic in 2010 to the traffic in 2011. They came to the conclusion that users did not flock to file hosting sites instead to download media from the Internet.

With piracy going down that much in a year's time, one would expect sales to go up as a consequence. Lobbyists mentioned time and time again that every copied book, film or album is a lost sale for the industry. If we take that into account, we should see an incredible rise in sales in 2011 in France.

The report fails to deliver those information, and prefers to demonstrate that online platforms where media can be purchased legally have increased in France at the same time.

French Entertainment Industry

According to Telecompaper, France's digital music industry grew by 25% in 2011, while the physical sale of music dropped by 11.5% in the same time resulting in a total decline of music sales in France by 3.9% in 2011.

As far as the movie industry goes, video sales have been down as well by 2.7% in 2011, with video-on-demand on the rise by more than 50% in 2011.

What does that tell us? While Hadopi managed to cut down the file sharing use in France, it did not at the same time revive the market as overall music sales dropped as well. What are some of the explanations for this?

  • French users moved to more secure file sharing options that are not monitored by Hadopi
  • Piracy has no negative effect on overall sales
  • French users who were warned decided to boycott media purchases as a consequence
  • Piracy has no negative effect on overall sales
  • Downloads may be used to "test" products before they are purchased. With that option falling apart, users spend less as they can no longer demo a product before purchase.
  • Piracy has no negative effect on overall sales
  • The Internet has broken the "if you want that one song you have to buy the album" mentality, which resulted in a profit margin drop as consumers started to buy single songs they wanted instead of full albums
  • The global and French economy have taken a dip, and the decline in sales is a consequence of that
  • Piracy has no negative effect on overall sales
  • French users decided to get their fix on legal free sites such as YouTube
  • Piracy has no negative effect on overall sales

When you look at other countries, you will notice that music sales are up in some of the them, while down in others. The New York Times for instance reports that music album sales in the United States are up in 2011 by 1.3%, while the Guardian reports a decline in sales by 5.6% in the UK.

Hadopi is effective in cutting down file sharing, but it fails to deliver when it comes to reviving sales in France. One could now argue that the system is pointless. What's your take on it?


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  1. Nate River said on April 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Hahahaha ! April fool ! Like Hadopi could have a real impact.

  2. Yoav said on April 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Fundamentally, having corporations write the laws without any other considerations just so that they can rip off the public is not a good way to nurture respect for the law in particular nor democracy in general.

  3. Roman ShaRP said on April 1, 2012 at 11:13 am

    My take is the same: you may cut the file-sharing, but that won’t move me to old-fashioned stores with much-higher-than-download prices.

    There are other options, also named by you – secure traffic channels, Youtube, Jamendo, recording tracks from internet-radio, buying tracks in mp3 somewhere overseas where they are cheap…

    As for French music particularly, I downloaded 2 wonderful albums by Suerte jazz band from free music site Jamendo and recorded some tracks from Radio Blagon Scene Francaise, very good music Internet radio.

  4. yash said on April 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I’ve been studying architecture in france since 2008. Hadopi is a joke.This report does not take into account direct downloads (hadopi only monitors p2p).Since megaupload has closed(most french illegal files were stored on this platform), users are starting to migrate towards p2p again. Coincidentally, the use of VPNs has exploded in France. Hadopi is a huge waste of money.

    The problem is the lack of legal alternatives that are competitive and hassle-free.


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