French piracy increases 3% despite three-strikes law

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It's been half a year since France passed its harsh three-strikes policy against piracy, and despite the threat of massive consequences, online media theft is more rampant than ever. Under the new "Hadopi" law, alleged infringers are given two warnings followed by a punishment that could include being banned from the Internet, a fine of as much as $415,000, and up to two years in prison.

Proponents of Hadopi originally believed such penalties would convince millions to stop downloading copyrighted content, but it hasn't worked out that way. Rather than discourage pirates, the new law is pushing them to find alternatives.

In fact, piracy rates have increased by 3% since the policy was introduced, according to the University of Rennes. While BitTorrent use declined from 17.1% to 14.6%, file-sharers who stopped torrenting moved to streaming services or to private file-hosting sites, which are not covered by Hadopi.

Another interesting note is that half of all P2P users who download copyrighted content also buy digital content online. This suggests that if their Internet connection were revoked under Hadopi, the entertainment industry could lose further revenue, making the new law entirely counterproductive.

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