French piracy cut by roughly half, entertainment revenue still falling

By on April 2, 2012, 4:30 PM

A year and a half after implementing its controversial graduated response program, France's anti-piracy authority claims to have drastically dented illegal filesharing. The report contains peer-to-peer usage data from multiple researchers, with each producing different figures.

Nielsen recorded a 17% decline in P2P activity through 2011, NetRatings cites a 29% dip, Peer Media Technologies claims there was a 43% drop and ALPA reports a 66% fall. Each outfit uses different methodologies, so it's hard to quantify the change in illegal downloads.

However, there's an obvious downward trend, especially when comparing France to global figures, which have remained relatively flat according to Peer Media Technologies. Hadopi's impact is also seen in other user behavior, such as after they receive a strike.

It's said that 95% of those who received one strike don't get another, 92% of those who received a second strike cease illegal activity, and 98% of those who received a third strike stopped too. While that may be impressive, we imagine some of those users find workarounds to slip through Hadopi's grip. It might be interesting to see whether VPN services have experienced a boost in revenue from French customers.

Between October 2010 and December 2011, the graduated response system targeted 65,848 people. Of the first-strikers, 6% contacted Hadopi, while that jumped to 25% and 71% for second- and third-strikers. Most of them reportedly commited to stopping filesharing or to securing their network. In survey of 1,500 people aged 15 and up, 71% of P2P users said they'd stop downloading illegally if caught by Hadopi.

The paper offers two graphs (pages seven and eight) drawing parallels between the decline of activity on filesharing sites such as Megavideo, Hotfile and Rapidshare, and the increase of activity of kosher services such as iTunes, Beezik and Imineo. It should be noted that although Megaupload shows a slight increase in activity, the service was shut down on January 19, 2012 and the data ends in December 2011. 

For all the positives highlighted in Hadopi's report, TorrentFreak raises an interesting contradiction. The entertainment industry has long asserted that digital piracy is the primary cause of declining revenue. Despite cutting said piracy in half through 2011, France's music industry saw a 3.9% drop in revenue from the prior year, while the movie industry's revenue fell 2.7%. Is piracy's effect on revenue overstated?

**Image via Nomad_Soul/ShutterStock

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