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France to combine anti-piracy agency with media regulator

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Online piracy – that is – illegal copying and sharing of licensed content, has been around for about as long as the internet, as have been attempts to suppress it with legislation and legal action.

But it’s 2019 now and in the fullness of time, it has emerged that the best way to fight online piracy is to offer users a wide variety of content at low subscription fees affordable to almost everyone – and do it by providing content in a timely manner. Hence the success of the likes of Netflix and various music streaming services.

However, France is still focusing its energy on stomping out any sharing, aka piracy, taking place online by enforcing more government regulation. To this end, the country plans to merge the Higher Audiovisual Council (CSA) – officially defined as “an independent public authority” – and HADOPI, a government agency tasked with combating online piracy.

France may not be on the cutting edge of tech innovation, but it’s been leading the way for a long time now when it comes to government regulation of the tech industry and the internet: HADOPI itself was “a pioneer” agency when it was set up in 2010.

TorrentFreak writes that the regulatory giant resulting from the planned merger would be in charge of both electronic and digital media.

The effort comes as the number of users pirating online content in France went down by a million from 2016 to 2017, when it reached 10.6 million users, with illegal downloads and streaming activities all decreasing over the last year as well.

Not only that, but HADOPI’s data suggests that its current three-strikes policy of enforcing copyright laws is working just fine. In fact, it is dissuasive enough to ensure that as many as 60 percent of those warned by the agency did not continue to share content via peer-to-peer networks.

But that is not enough, as France now aims to give regulators even more power. And some aggressive initiatives persist, such as to create blacklists that would block offending websites at ISP level, and cut off access and their revenue streams by enlisting the help of advertisers and search engines.

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