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Web watchdog says 95% halt downloads

Hadopi sent out 1.15million warning emails and has 340 people in its sights - but only 14 have been charged

SINCE it was set up two years ago, the Hadopi internet watchdog has sent more than a million warning emails to people downloading illegally - with, it said, 95% of them stopping.

Around 340 people have received three warnings about downloads and may face prosecution; but only 14 prosecutions have so far been launched and none has yet been judged.

The watchdog, which has a budget of €12million, has identified three million IP addresses involved in some illegal activity and, apart from the 1.15m emails, has sent 100,000 registered letters to warn people who continued downloads.

Set up to stop illegal downloads of films, music and TV shows by the Sarkozy government, the agency could be killed off under proposals from the new government which has already launched an inquiry into its future.

Hadopi says 95% of people stop their illegal downloads when warned and many are thought to have adapted to the new law and switched to legal download sites such as Deezer and Spotify.

Others, however, have sneaked under the net to by switching from peer-to-peer downloads (which are under surveillance) to "streaming" sites where the download is better hidden, and "torrents" where multiple small downloads are made to build up a larger file. They also use IP shields or "virtual private networks" to hide their IP address.

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