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Hadopi boss defends watchdog

Agency has forced internet users to stop illegal downloads but has worked under a "barrage of attacks"

THE HEAD of internet piracy watchdog Hadopi has launched a thinly-veiled attack on government ministers for "bad-mouthing" her agency - and defended its work over the past two years.

Marie-Françoise Marais, president of the agency, said that against a background of "systematic denigration" they had sent 1.3million warnings to internet users over illegal downloads, investigated 362 involved in repeated offences and launched 18 prosecutions.

She said the agency was being bad-mouthed and subject to "a barrage of attacks which amount to unjustified prejudice". It had much to be proud of, she said, including a major reduction in illegal file-sharing and forcing internet users to change their habits.

A 39-year-old man from Lepuix-Gy (Territoire de Belfort) was the first person to be taken to court and fined under charges brought by Hadopi. He was fined €150 - which was paid by his ex-wife as he said he knew nothing about the internet and she had been responsible for the illegal downloads.

Hadopi was set up in 2009 to stop illegal downloads of films, music and TV shows, and last year cost €12 million to run. Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti said that was "too expensive" and has cut its budget by 12.5% for 2013.

The agency's future is in the balance as Filipetti has asked former Canal+ boss Pierre Lescure to examine its work and prepare a report for next March. He is reported to be in favour of a joining Hadopi and data watchdog CNIL into one body.

Previous articles:
Man fined €150 for illegal downloads
Web watchdog says 95% halt downloads
Photo: Andrzej Puchta - Fotolia.com

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