TUESDAY 9 FEB 2010 1:17 AM


Hadopi, the French anti-digital piracy organisation was launched in January – with pirated fonts.

Hadopi, Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Œuvres et la Protection sur Internet, is a recently enacted French law set up to prevent the illegal downloading of copyrighted work, not dissimilar to the British Digital Economy Bill. The agency that has been established to police the act is also called Hadopi, and was officially launched earlier this year.

To oversee the launch of the new brand, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication commissioned Plan Creatif, a French design agencies that counts EDF, Credit Agricole and Pernod Ricard amongst it clients. To great fanfare the new government agency was launched, and the Hadopi brand was unveiled.

Within twenty four hours, however, Hadopi, the Ministry of Culture and Plan Creatif found themselves at the centre of a piracy scandal. The typeface that Plan Creatif had used was Bienvenue, a corporate font created for and used exclusively by France Telecom. The font had been designed in 2000 by French typographer Jean François Porchez as part of an overall rebrand of France Telecom by Landor Associates. Not only was it not commercially available, but it was a font that had won nominations in various typography awards. As such, it was well known. Not surprising that it was picked up within 24 hours of the Hadopi identity being launched.

Two days later Plan Creatif issued a statement saying that the Bienvenue identity that had been announced on the official Hadopi website was in fact just a sketch, and attached the ‘real’ logo. If anything this has increased the criticism. The new logo used two fonts, Bliss and FS Lola, similar to Bienvenue. However, according to the license holders these fonts weren’t registered to Plan Creatif until the morning of the announcement of the revised logo, suggesting that Bienvenue had been the intended font all along.

We are indebted to The Font Feed for unearthing this story of typographical piracy on the high seas of branding.