Two Acts of 2007 and 2014 to fight against counterfeiting have modified the French Intellectual Property Code, in order to enable improved compensation for the rightholders as well as better protection of intellectual property rights.
In French intellectual property infringement cases, damages were traditionally supposed to cover the prejudice suffered, no more, no less. Punitive damages were not theoretically possible. However, Acts No. 2007-1544 of 29 October 2007 and No. 2014-315 of 11 March 2014 to strengthen the fight against counterfeiting have modified many aspects of the French Intellectual Property (‘IPC’) with regard to damages and remedies.
Calculation of the damages
In France, search engines using thumbnails are likely to infringe on copyright. On 8 April 2014, a French Senator proposed a Bill to establish compulsory collective management for the reproduction of photographs and images by search engine services.
Thumbnails are reduced-size versions of photographs and images, used by search engines such as Google Images in order to facilitate their recognition and organisation, with links to the websites where the photographs and images are published.
Such reproduction of photographs and other works is likely to constitute fair use under the US Copyright Act of 1976 (see Meng Ding, Perfect 10 v Amazon.com: A Step Toward Copyright’s Tort Law Roots, Berk [...]
Can an auction house transfer the responsibility of paying the resale right royalty from the seller to the buyer?
Directive 2001/84/EC created a resale right (‘droit de suite’) in the EU for the benefit of the author of an original work of art. This resale right is ‘defined as an inalienable right, which cannot be waived, even in advance, to receive a royalty based on the sale price obtained for any resale of the work, subsequent to the first transfer of the work by the author’ (Article 1). The directive was adopted in 2001 but only came into force on 1 January 2010.
Article 1(4) of Directive 2001/84/EC states that ‘The royalty shall be payable by the seller’, and that Member St [...]
The Supreme Court maintains its position in a case concerning a Lancôme perfume, stating that ‘copyright only protects creations in their tangible form, so far as this form is identifiable with sufficient precision to permit its communication; whereas the fragrance of a perfume … is not a form that has this characteristic, and therefore cannot be protected by copyright’.
Article L.112-1 of the French Intellectual Property Code (IPC) protects ‘the rights of authors in all works of the mind, whatever their kind, form of expression, merit or purpose’, without giving a definition of originality.
French case law has defined originality as the expression of the personality of the autho [...]
“For the ECJ, in the meaning of Article 5(3) of the Regulation 44/2001, a harmful event may arise from the possibility of obtaining a reproduction of a work from an internet site accessible within the jurisdiction of the court seised.”
In its judgement Pinckney v. KDG Mediatech AG of 3 October 2013 (case C-170/12), the European Court of Justice answered a request for a preliminary ruling from French Supreme Court, concerning the interpretation of Article 5(3) of the Regulation 44/2001 on jurisdiction and recognition, which provides that “A person domiciled in a Member State may, in another Member State, be sued (…) in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict, in the courts fo [...]
In a judgement of 3 July 2013, the French Supreme Court clarifies the time limit for taking action to obtain damages for copyright infringement. Oddly enough, the French Intellectual Property Code provides that civil proceedings for infringement for designs and models (article L.521-3), patents (article L.615-8) and trade marks (article L.716-5) shall be barred after 3 years, but is silent about copyright and neighbouring rights actions.
In 1979, the singer of the song Just Because Of You, recorded to be synchron [...]
The right to exploit a recording “in the form of a phonogram published for commercial purposes”, includes the right to exploit it not only in the form of a tangible medium, such as a vinyl record or a CD, but also in the form of a downloadable digital file.
The judgement of 11 September 2013 is yet another recent important ruling of the French Supreme Court, the Cour de Cassation, in the field of neighbouring rights. In less than a year, the Cour de Cassation has ruled that collecting societies may only take action for their own members (see France: Supreme Court makes music synchronisation safer), that participants in a reality TV show are employees and not performers (see France: parti [...]
In a short but very important judgement of 25 June 2013, the Cour de cassation, the French Supreme Court, has ruled that the sale of a computerized customer file is null and void if the French personal data authority CNIL has not been notified of the file in compliance with article 22 of the French personal data Act.
In the present case, a natural person brought a case against a company, claiming that the sale of a computerized customer file containing personal data had to be annulled, because the CNIL had not been notified of the file. To dismiss th [...]
“In this ruling, the French Supreme Court states that the mere updating of a computer program processing personal data does not entail an obligation for the data controller to notify the data processing a second time”.
Under article 22 of the French personal data Act, automatic processing of personal data must be notified to the French personal data authority CNIL. Article 22 indeed provides that automatic processing of personal data must be notified to the CNIL except when the processing requires the prior authorisation of the CNIL because it falls under the provisions of articles 25 (political, philosophical data, medical, sexual life data; genetic data; offences; exclusion from a righ [...]
“The Supreme Court considers that the participants in the reality TV program had no role to play and that there was no text. They were simply asked to be themselves and express their reactions to the situations they faced. The artificial nature of these situations was not enough to give them the quality of actors.”
L’Ile de la Tentation is the French version of the American reality television program Temptation Island, in which couples agree to live on an exotic island with a group of singles of the opposite sex, in order to test the strength of their relationships.
53 participants in this television series applied to the Labour Court on the grounds that the “set of rules applicable to [...]