It's been a couple years since France passed its controversial "Hadopi" law in an effort to reduce online piracy and the agency has just released some fresh statistics about its efforts. According to Hadopi president Marie-Françoise Marais, the organization began sending first-strike notifications in October 2010 and by February 2011, some 471,000 Internet users received their initial warning for downloading illegal content.

As of early last month, that figure had grown to almost 650,000 users and it's reported that about 20,600 users received their second warning. At least 60 daring French residents have defied Hadopi's first two warnings and are now on their third strike. Marais didn't offer specific details about the third-strikers, but they could face up to a €1,500 fine and lose their Internet connection for as long as month should a judge oblige.

While those numbers imply that France has successfully intimidated some pirates, we imagine many have just grown craftier about their illicit doings. It's not difficult to route your data through a foreign VPN and there are many companies that specifically advertise their service to pirates, not least of which is the Pirate Bay founders' iPredator. Despite Hadopi's implementation, French piracy increased 3% in March 2010.

Nonetheless, Marais believes many filesharers have converted to legal platforms. She also acknowledged that regardless of its success, Hadopi still has plenty of work ahead of it. Besides issuing mounds of first-strike warnings every day, the agency is encouraging the development of legitimate online services and next year it plans to investigate why some legal alternatives remain unpopular with French Web-goers.