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Hadopi makes new recommendations for fighting piracy, including super-takedowns

By | Published on Tuesday 13 May 2014


French anti-piracy agency Hadopi has published a report recommending new measures to help with the never-ending battle against online piracy, a lot of which covers similar ground to measures already proposed in the UK by both the Prime Minister’s IP Advisor Mike Weatherley and the City Of London Police’s IP Crime Unit, though one proposal in particular will interest piracy-fighters worldwide if adopted.

Hadopi was set up to run France’s particularly draconian (on paper) three-strikes system that targets individual file-sharers, though as enthusiasm for actually disconnecting persistent file-sharers waned in French political circles, just as that strike-three moment was on the horizon, the group was asked to consider other measures for targeting piracy.

Like Weatherley, the Hadopi report focuses a lot on ‘going after the money’, something the UK PM’s IP Advisor spoke about a lot at TGE last Thursday, ie making sure piracy sites lose access to advertising income and payment processing services. Hadopi also want a black list of sites deemed to be piracy operations to be made public, whereas similar lists have in the past been circulated mainly to a trade audience of ad agencies and financial services firms.

But perhaps the most interesting proposal in the French document is the creation of a super takedown notice, that would go quite a bit further that the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the bit of legislation under which most takedown systems currently operate, even when services are running outside the US jurisdiction.

The DMCA says that websites that inadvertently host or link to infringing content via user-upload or automated processes can avoid liability for copyright infringement if they operate a system via which rights owners can demand content be removed. On the back of that many rights owners now issue hundreds if not thousands of takedown notices against DMCA compliant sites each week.

But even when sites are DMCA compliant, and even when they’re not operating a deliberately shoddy takedown system (something the DMCA arguably tolerates), there is the issue that as content is taken down, it frequently reappears pretty quickly through new user-uploads or automated processing.

Under Hadopi’s proposals, rights owners would be able to issue ‘stay-down’ notices, which not only order a web-platform to take infringing content down, but obligate the web operator to ensure the offending content does not reappear on its servers for a set period of time.

Quite how that would work and be enforced isn’t yet clear – and such moves are certain to be opposed by the tech sector – but it would certainly shift some of the responsibility for keeping infringing content down from the content companies to the web industry. So definitely one to watch.