Monday 15 February 2016

Recent Legislative Developments in France


While the French Senate continues to debate whether (and to what extent) the private copying exception and corresponding levy should be extended to the cloud (and in particular network PVRs), there have been two interesting amendments introduced intended to strengthen the CNC's ability to act against copyright infringement.  The Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC) is the regulatory body overseeing French cinema.

The first legislative development concerns the CNC's ability to file a criminal copyright complaint directly with the investigating magistrate (juge d'instruction), thereby putting in motion the criminal action.  The proposed amendment would allow the CNC to do so where the alleged infringement diminishes the financial resources to which it is entitled (i.e., certain taxes), which is a relatively low threshold.  Moreover, the amendment specifies that, contrary to ordinary practice in criminal matters, there is no obligation to file a complaint with the Procureur de la République (district attorney) prior to lodging the complaint with the investigating magistrate.

The other proposed amendment would add the CNC to the list of persons and entites entitled to bring an action in cessation in the event of online copyright infringement.  In accordance with EU law, French law adopted Section L.336-2 of the Intellectual Property Code, which allows certain parties to seek a court order against intermediaries (such as ISPs and search engines) to take the necessary steps to cease online copyright infringement.  Currently these include, in addition to the rights holders themselves and their assignees, Collective Management Organizations for copyright and professional bodies that defend rights holders; should the proposed amendment be adopted, the CNC would be added to this list. 

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