Table of Contents

Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property

Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property

A Handbook of Contemporary Research

Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Christophe Geiger

This wide-ranging Research Handbook is the first to offer a stimulating and systematic review of the framework for criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights. If counterfeiting constitutes an ever-growing international phenomenon with major economic and social repercussions, potentially affecting consumer safety and public health, the question of which are the appropriate instruments to enforce IP rights is a complex and sensitive one. Although criminal penalties can constitute strong and effective means of enforcement, serious doubts exist as to whether criminal sanctions are appropriate in every infringement situation. Drawing on legal, economic, historical and judicial perspectives, this book provides a differentiated sector-by-sector approach to the question of enforcement, and draws useful conclusions for future legislative initiatives at European, international and national levels.

Chapter 19: Counterfeiting and the music industry: towards a criminalization of end users? The French ‘HADOPI’ example

Christophe Geiger

Subjects: law - academic, criminal law and justice, intellectual property law


The music industry is a good example to study when reflecting on the appropriateness of criminal sanctions in the field of intellectual property. In fact, in this sector, infringements of copyright can result from the behaviour of Internet end users that have nothing in common with organized commercial entities making large profits from counterfeiting activities. This is in particular the case with the widespread practices of music file sharing through peer-to-peer networks, activities involving large parts of the population, most of whom can be considered ‘good people’ and not shameless and greedy Internet ‘pirates’. Recently, some national legislators in Europe passed new legislation in order to directly address the issue and to combat downloading through peer-to-peer networks. France was the first European country to legislate on the delicate question of file sharing on the Internet and adopted a complete body of regulation on the subject. Since many similar initiatives are currently discussed at national level and because it is not impossible that the French example could serve as a model for a European initiative in the near future, it is worth having a close look at its recent anti-file sharing legislation in order to assess its merits.

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