French copyright cops floundering

French copyright cops are drowning under a sea of complaints against P2P pirates which come from the movie and music industry.

Since the French decided to allocate state money towards enforcing Big Content complaints, Hadopi, the French agency charged with policing the law has had 18 million complaints submitted to it by Big Content.

The population of France is 65 million so that means that a large chunk of the population has been accused of being a criminal by Big Content.

So far, 470,000 initial warning e-mails have been sent to French internet users. About 20,000 of these have received second notices, and around 10 French internet users have received their third “strike” and are now facing possible penalties.

Hadopi admitted to Ars Technica  that there were technological problems with its system which was only a prototype. Apparently work has begun on a more robust system, and “we think it’ll be ready at the end of the year.”

The other thing is that Hadopi said that it has held off on sending out second and third notices because it wants to give internet users time to change their ways.

A spokesperson said that it did not want to prosecute people. It just wanted to push people to change when they are committing piracy.

It seems that Big Content was swift to automate its complaint system. But this has meant that Hadopi has received numerous notices for the same user. This has lead to some funny headlines in France which claim that a third of all French internet users have been caught sharing files.

Currently the outfit needs ISP help to identify who had a given IP address at a given point in time and it has only sent ISPs about a million requests.

The French also seem to be sticking two fingers up at the system. Only seven percent of users have responded to the first notice and 15 percent responded to the second.

What is surprising is that a large number of people who respond do not know that they are using P2P software.