This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Œuvres et la Protection sur Internet (HADOPI) — more or less, High Authority Promoting the Distribution and Protection of Creative Works on the Internet — is a law project that aims to stop illegal downloading of copyright protected work; warning twice those who illegally download copyright protected work, before shutting off their internet connection for an indefinite period of time on the third infraction. While the Hadopi law won’t enter into effect until the spring of 2010, the agency of the same name has already been established and operating since early January. But the bigger story surrounding the law is Hadopi’s new identity, designed by Plan Créatif on behalf of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication: The identity included two pirated typefaces when it was officially unveiled to the public on January 8.
The primary wordmark was rendered using Bienvenue (unflatteringly scaled to 110%), a type family designed in 2000 by French type designer Jean-François Porchez for proprietary use by France Télécom. The secondary text, which renders the full name of the law, was set in Jeremy Tankard’s Bliss, used without the purchase of a license. The typographic faux pas soon snowballed into a major public relations nightmare for Plan Créatif and their client.
Three days later, on January 11, in order to disguise the truth and keep manipulating the public, Plan Créatif stepped on the gas, presented a new logo and purchased two licenses — one for FS Lola to replace Bienvenue and the other for Bliss — all in the same day. Jeremy Tankard even told French magazine LePoint that Bliss had been downloaded at 12:05 pm that day. Along with the new logo, Plan Créatif stated in an e-mail that the use of Bienvenue was a simple digital mistake and that this sketch version of the logo somehow managed to become the final version.
However, even if that were true, just an honest human mistake, then how would you explain that the January 8 logo with Bienvenue and an unlicensed Bliss was officially validated by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and registered with INPI, the French copyright authority, on November 16 of 2009? Almost two months before. It would have probably been less embarrassing to just admit the mistake!
Was it “a digital error in the manipulation of a sketch version of the logo” as Plan Créatif claimed, or a case of blatant piracy as the critics would have it? Behind the great “digital error” story, which didn’t really convince public opinion, shouldn’t we really be talking about general bad practices, with the culprits including the very people who make laws? Even if the howler was quickly rectified in the wake of the scandal, it still placed Hadopi into the uncomfortable position of “biter bitten”, for here was France’s anti-piracy watchdog getting caught in the act of piracy. In any case, as they’d say on the X-Files, the truth is out there.