Illegal downloads of popular films are nearly as numerous as box office visits, a French antipiracy association claims. The Association Against Audiovisual Piracy (ALPA) analyzed P2P traffic in France between November 2007 and June 2008 and concluded that a number of popular films had been downloaded so many times that the phenomenon could endanger the entire film industry.
ALPA monitored 100 of the most popular films (both French and foreign) on P2P networks during this time period and found that these films represented some 90 percent of all P2P downloads. The association says that there was a daily average of 450,000 downloads (in December, it was 536,000 per day), and a monthly average of over 14 million downloads.
For example, ALPA told the AFP that French film Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis averaged 9,800 downloads per day after its box office release in March, and it has been downloaded 682,000 times so far. That's a lot of downloads, but compared to the 20 million box office tickets the film has sold in France, we would hesitate to say that the box office is going to be closing down anytime soon.
Still, ALPA apparently believes that the evidence is strong enough to warrant some pretty strong language. "We are facing a major phenomenon that can endanger the film industry and audiovisual industries. We did not expect such figures," ALPA director Frederic Delacroix told the AFP.
He added that the association believes these numbers are just the beginning, as ALPA only examined the most popular films and not the industry as a whole. "The piracy of films requires urgent measures," he added.
Delacroix noted that a proposed anti-filesharing plan could be one solution to the problem. The plan, backed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, would have repeat offenders lose their Internet connections (known as the "three-strikes" rule) and would require ISPs to strictly monitor their networks for copyright infringement. The total cost of Internet service may also rise, as ISPs will apparently have to spend time and money enforcing copyright on their networks with expensive deep packet inspection (DPI) gear.
Subscribers detected illicitly sharing or downloading copyrighted material will receive warnings. If the behavior continues, then Internet access would be guillotined. Most of this will be carried out by a government-funded independent authority overseen by a judge.ALPA's full report won't be publicly available until September, but as Variety has pointed out, parts of it were leaked over the Internet this week without ALPA's permission. Ironic, that.