Hadopi, the French authority responsible for the protection of content owner’s rights on the Internet, has revealed that it has now sent its first batch of files of Internet users suspected of illegally downloading films and music protected by copyright law to the French public prosecutor’s office. The public prosecutor’s office must now decide whether or not to instigate legal proceedings against the repeat offenders as the final [art of the French ‘Three strikes’ or graduated response programme. All of those accused will already have had a warning email and if they continued to infringe, a further letter sent by registered post and email. Punishment includes a fine of EUR1,500 (USD1,971) and the initial suspension of the individual’s Internet account for a period of up to a month. All decisions are made by a court.
At the end of December, 822,014 Internet users had been sent a first warning, 68,343 had received the “second strike”, the registered letter, and 165 repeat offenders had been placed under investigation. In January 2011 research showed that despite the new law, 49% of French internet users continued to illegally download music and films.