France Considers Monetizing Filesharing

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

French body responsible for notice and takedown policies considers monetizing filesharing

By:  Jean-Robert Bisaillon

France has just started doing an in depth economic and legal study on the possibility of compensating content creators for filesharing. This new initiative should not be seen as a definite intention to actually monetize filesharing, but it is calling for a serious and well-intended investigation of its possible benefits and impacts.

Hadopi is the French institution put in place in 2010 to develop and enforce notice and take down measures upon citizens using music filesharing. Its acronym stands for High authority for the distribution of works and rights protection on Internet.

For three years, Hadopi has  enforced this approach with little success - French minister for culture Aurélie Filipetti has said the measures were costly and the results poor. A first explanation for it is contained in this citation from Hadopi website : the technical infrastructure which made filesharing possible is “complex, migrating and resilient”. In a long series of studies conducted by the French government to tackle the issue of cultural content and the Internet, the latest, the Rapport de mission Lescure « Acte II de l'exception culturelle », has been well conducted and well received by most stakeholders, and has called for an evaluation of solutions to share the value  derived from this type of behaviour with the content creators. Hadopi also thinks that such measures could possibly benefit creation, consumer usage, and innovation.

Hadopi is now making it clear that there should be some distinctions made between the notions of “piracy” and “non-commercial trade”. The new study’s scope aims at defining policies with regards to the latter. The decision to move forward is motivated by another study just published by Hadopi outlining the current methods and trends on filesharing.   It demonstrates that ordinary people making content available are in most case doing it with no benefit to themselves, in a spontaneous social way, as an “altruistic” gesture. It adds that taking content from those social spaces does represent real value for consumers but, it emphasizes the fact that technical middlemen are currently earning tangible benefits from these practices and sees them as the potential partner in a monetizing solution. It also redirects the attention from Internet service providers to servers, cloud storage spaces, software as a service sites and social media.

Please refer to the table below for more details on the latest findings with regards to methods and money flows. Lets not forget that the Songwriters Association of Canada has been supporting most of these conclusions and ideas since 2007. To see more of the SACs proposal on monetizing music file sharing please go to

Methods for filesharing and revenue flows
* ratio of people filesharing who have used this method

 Filesharing through an FTP server (17%*)   Server rental revenues
 Filesharing using P2P networks (25%)  Ad revenues for torrent trackers, subscriptions to private trackers, sales of T-Shirts and merchandise
 Filesharing using Email (16%)  Ad revenues for email services, subscription revenues for massive file transfer services
 Filesharing using a Cyberlocker (Cloudstorage) (23%)  Subscription revenues
 Streamripping a video or streaming service (39%)  Ad revenues, sales of usage and personal metadata
 Filesharing through a newsgroup (38%)  Ad revenues, subscription revenues
 Filesharing through social media links (29%)  Ad revenues, sales of usage and personal metadata

Source : Hadopi, Research, Watch and Study Department (DREV), July 24th 2013,

Undertaking a monetizing strategy study (in french) :

Hodopi three years later : 1.15 millions notices result in two convictions :

Jean-Robert Bisaillon is the founder and president of iconoclaste musique inc. a Web marketing & design company. He was an active writer and composer in the groups French B and Disappointed A Few People. He’s a board member of SOCAN and the Songwriters Association of Canada. He has often helped to create contacts between anglo-saxon North American communities and the French and French Canadian music crowds. He has co-written with Jean-Noël Bigotti, an indie music trade guide between France and Quebec/Canada published by the French structure IRMA. He has more recently published «Le guide Internet des auteurs et compositeurs» for SPACQ, the book introduces artists to the process of using the Web for their A2F music distribution and promotion. He has just completed a masters degree on the social impact of music metadata, crowdsourcing and music data exchange protocols at INRS in Montreal.

Jean-Robert Bisaillon on the Web