Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 10:38 UK

French pirates 'dodge' tough laws

Hand on mouse, Eyewire
The study suggests pirates are changing their habits

Some forms of piracy are on the rise in France despite the passing of a tough anti-piracy law, suggests a study.

In late 2009, France adopted a "three-strikes law" which means persistent pirates can be thrown offline.

A small-scale study shows that some French people are changing their habits and getting pirated music and movies from sources not covered by the law.

Overall, found the study, illegal behaviour has increased by 3% since the law was passed.

The anti-piracy legislation was passed in October 2009 and means that those suspected of sharing pirated material online, such as movies and music, will be warned to stop or face action.

Persistent pirates who ignore the warnings will be cut off for up to a year if a panel of judges backs a call for disconnection. Alternatively, pirates can be fined or given a prison sentence.

Despite being passed in October, the law is not yet being enforced.

A preliminary study of more than 2,000 net users in Brittany by researchers Sylvain Dejean, Thierry Penard and Raphael Suire from the Marsouin unit at the University of Rennes suggests many people have changed their behaviour following the passing of the law.

The Hadopi law, named after the agency set up to police net connections, only covers piracy committed by file-sharing systems. In response, suggests the study, pirates have turned to streaming services and download sites use of which is not covered by the legislation.

The study showed that use of peer-to-peer (P2P) or file-sharing services fell among those questioned 17.1% to 14.6% since October. By contrast, the use of sites and services not covered by the Hadopi law grew by 27% over the same period.

Download services are relatively straight-forward to police as they tend to use centralised servers but, said the report, it was also seeing greater use of virtual servers and closed forums to swap pirated material.

The survey also pointed out that the vast majority of net users, 70%, do not engage in any piracy at all. However, half of those who said they were regular buyers of digital content also said they pirated material too.

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