Tuesday 8 October 2013

Of Fortuitous Meetings and Reminiscences in French Copyright Law

things past
On October 2nd last the French Cour de cassation (Supreme Court) quashed a lower court's ruling to the effect that the plaintiff in a copyright infringement claim had to adduce proof that the defendants (producers and broadcasters of a television series) had had access to the allegedly infringed work (a novel) prior to writing and shooting the allegedly infringing episodes.  The plaintiff was arguing that certain episodes of the television series copied the theme, plot and main characters from his novel.

The Cour de cassation reversed, holding that infringement exists where there is reproduction of original elements of the primary work and liability can only be avoided where the defendant shows that the similarities between the two works are the result of a fortuitous meeting or reminiscences from a common source of inspiration.

The Court thus held that it was for the defendants to prove that they had not had access to the allegedly infringed work.

Ruling here

1 comment:

Gentoo said...

Can someone explain how a defendant (anyone?) could ever prove they haven't done something?

I had understood studying philosophy to be a national characteristic of France.

Have none of them read Popper?