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Man fined €150 for illegal downloads

€12m internet watchdog claims first victim in court - but he says he doesn't know how to download and blames ex-wife

13 September 2012

A CARPENTER has become the first person to be fined for illegal downloads under the Hadopi law - and was fined €150.

But Alain Prévot, 39, from Lepuix-Gy (Territoire de Belfort), told the tribunal he didn't know how to download files and knew little of the internet. It had been his ex-wife who had been online, grabbing several tracks by Rihanna from the Utorrents site.

He was among 14 cases that the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des droits sur Internet is taking to court over the next few weeks and he was fined after receiving two warnings to stop the downloads.

Prévot told the tribunal in Belfort that he and his ex-wife still lived together and she shared his internet connection. He was convicted of negligence for not taking proper control of his internet access - and his ex has agreed to pay the fine.

The Hadopi law was passed in 2009 and the internet watchdog, which last year cost €12 million to run, announced recently that it had sent a total of 1,150,000 warning emails to people downloading illegally, 105,000 registered letters with further warnings and was looking into 340 cases to decide on further action. France has 22m internet users.

However, Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti has already asked for a rethink on the future of Hadopi, and wants to reduce its budget. She said in July it "cost €12m, employs 60 staff and produces meagre results".
Photo: Chris B

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