While France’s three-strike "Hadopi" law targeting illegal downloaders of copyrighted material came across as harsh to some critics, the country has come up with a novel approach to cut down on music piracy—the government will partially fund the purchase of music.
France’s plan is to sell pre-paid cards to be used to purchase music, with the catch, according to the BBC, that cards valued at 50 euros will cost only 25 euros when bought. The government will pick up the other half of the tab.
The cards, targeted towards 12-25 year olds, will only be able to be used on participating websites and consumers will be limited to buying one card per year. If the target of one million cards sold is reached, the initiative could cost France 25 million euros (approximately $35.1 million U.S.) over a two-year period.
Music retailers will also be asked to cut prices and contribute towards a marketing campaign for the cards.
The European Commission is okay with the scheme, with EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia stating, “The scheme will contribute to preserving pluralism and cultural diversity in the online music industry.”