French Constitutional Council confirms ticket touting ban is legal
Competition , Consumers / February 2019

CONSUMER / COMPETITION France’s constitutional court (Constitutional Council) has ruled that the country’s 2012 anti-ticket touting laws are compliant with the French constitution, knocking back secondary platform Viagogo’s efforts to have the law ruled unconstitutional on the basis they are  “disproportionate breach of freedom of enterprise” – a move backed by rival platform, Ticketbis, owned by eBay’s StubHub. The secondary ticketing firm argued that the ban “infringes the freedom of trade, challenges the right of ownership which grants everyone the freedom to use their property as they see fit, and consequently grants a de facto monopoly to event organisers”. The resale of tickets for profit,without the permission of a show’s promoter, was prohibited in 2012,  The director of French live industry trade group PRODISS, Malika Séguineau, welcomed the Council’s decision, saying that it “strongly reinforces the French law”, and in doing so “protects the consumers, the fans, the artists and the promoters”. The trade group also confirmed that it and several French promoters have filed a criminal action against Viagogo, which will now proceed after the  Constitutional Council’s ruling saying “We welcome today’s decision, especially as PRODISS, alongside several promoters, have parallelly filed a criminal action against Viagogo. The judge is…

French Minister Clarifies Statutory Provision on Copyright Contracts
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2018

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, audio-visual, music publishing     One of the striking features of French copyright law is the protection it affords to authors in their contractual dealings with would-be licensees and assignees. One of the key statutory provisions that contributes to this high level of protection is Section L.131-2 of the Intellectual Property Code (IPC), which until recently provided as follows: “Contracts for public performance, publishing contracts, and audio-visual production contracts defined in this Section shall be in writing, as shall be free authorizations to publicly perform.     In all other cases, the provisions of Sections 1341 to 1348 of the Civil Code shall apply.”   This provision sets out a rule whereby certain named contracts (viz., public performance, publishing and audio-visual production contracts) must be in writing.  (To this list must also be added, pursuant to a different section of the Code, contracts for the acquisition of audio-visual adaptation rights of a literary work). Courts have long recognized that the requirement for a written instrument under Section L.131-2 IPC is merely for evidentiary purposes (ad probationem ) and not for the contract’s validity (ad validitatem). In all other cases, the ordinary rules of evidence under the Civil Code apply. …

French regulator takes aim at Viagogo’s ‘deceptive’ practices
Consumers , Live Events / January 2018

CONSUMER Live events sector   In France, Viagogo has been ordered to change its “deceptive” sales and marketing practices in France by the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) which has taken injunctions out against Switzerland-based Viagogo and its Delaware-based division that operates   The DGCCRF said Viagogo must stop its misleading commercial practices within the meaning of Articles L.121-2 and L.121-4 of the Consumer Code. these practices include displaying prices that do not include add-on fees (so called ‘drip pricing’) and Viagogo must stop misleading consumers on the availability of the tickets offered. The DGCCRF added that the resale platform should also not resell tickets for subsidised events beyond their face value. The DGCCRF has not disclosed any potential punishment or deadline for Viagogo to comply, but the authority is empowered to fine companies which break French competition law. The resale of tickets without permission from the original seller is prohibited under French law, and Viagogo is believed to owe promoters’ association Prodiss some hundreds of thousands of Euros in fines.   The French Consumer Federation (FRC) had already lodged a criminal complaint with the Geneva Public Prosecutor against Viagogo accusing the company of breaching unfair competition…

France’s Highest Court Rules in Favor of Freedom of Expression of Director over Heirs’ Droit Moral
Copyright / August 2017

COPYRIGHT Theatre   This article was written by Marie-Andree Weiss   Readers of the 1709 blog may remember that the Paris Court of Appeals found in October 2015 that the staging of the opera Le Dialogue des Carmélites by Dmitry Chernyakov for the Munich Opera in 2010 violated the moral rights of composer and librettist Francis Poulenc, which adapted the eponymous theatrical play by Georges Bernanos.   Le Dialogue des Carmélites tells the story of French aristocrat Blanche de la Force who decides to enter the Carmelite Convent, possibly to be sheltered from life, as she is fearful and shy. The French Revolution upset her world and the Carmelites must leave the convent. Blanche leaves the congregation to return to her family. When the Carmelites are arrested and sentenced to death by the revolutionary tribunal, Blanche returns to them as they are each climbing the steps to the guillotine, and she is the last one to have her head cut off.   Dmitry Chernyakov had not modified the score or the dialogue. However, his interpretation did not take place during the French revolution, but in contemporary time. In the last scene, the Carmelites are locked up in a shed full of explosives. Blanche appears on the…

Mankowitz’s famous portrait of Jimi Hendrix is original and deserves copyright protection, says Paris Court of Appeal.
Copyright / July 2017

COPYRIGHT Photography   A couple of years ago the Paris Tribunal de Grand Instance (TGI) concluded (to much criticism at the time) that the well-known portrait of Jimi Hendrix realised by Gered Mankowitz would not be eligible for copyright protection in France. University of East Anglia academic Sabine Jacques has an update to report, this being the rather different outcome of the appeal decision in this case: “After the surprising judgment of the TGI Paris, the Paris Court of Appeal reversed the first instance decision with a ruling delivered earlier this week.  In this case, an electronic cigarettes and accessories sales company had reproduced and altered the famous portrait of music legend Jimi Hendrix taken by Gered Mankowitz for commercial advertising purposes. The defendant depicted Jimi Hendrix smoking an electronic cigarette instead of a real cigarette to promote its products. Having been made aware of this unauthorised use, Gered Mankowitz and his assignees decided to sue the electronic cigarettes sales company for copyright infringement. Let’s rewind back to May 2015… The decision of the TGI created somewhat a seismic shock amongst practitioners and photographers as without expressly acknowledging it, the High Court seemed to have interpreted the originality criterion as being based upon artistic merits, thus…

This is Spinal Tap and this is their lawsuit
Copyright / April 2017

COPYRIGHT Film, broadcasting, recorded music     The French media giant Vivendi SA has turned it up to eleven and called the $400 million Spinal Tap lawsuit “absurd”.  Vivendi, owner of Universal Music, is in the middle of a dispute with the members of Spinal Tap – yes the band that starred in the cult film ‘This is Spinal Tap’.  The dispute arose when Harry Shearer alleged that StudioCanal, the media giant’s movie business, “wilfully manipulated certain accounting data, while ignoring contractually-obliged accounting and reporting processes, to deny [the] co-creators their rightful stake in the production’s profits”. Since then, Shearer has been joined by Christopher Guest, Rob Reiner and Michael McKean and all are now named claimants. The lawsuit claims $400 million in damages to account for the alleged profits that has not been paid.  Not only does Universal, through its subsidiaries, own the rights to the film it also owns the rights to the soundtrack. The lawsuit alleges further that this use of subsidiaries is anti-competitive, and has resulted in the creators of the cult film being deprived of a fair reward for their services.   It is reported that Vivendi’s defence states that “Plaintiffs may not like the…

French songwriter arrested in plagiarism row
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2017

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   A French musician and his Russian lawyer have spent a night in a Moscow police station after a Russian pop star accused them of attempting to extorting one million euros from him in a plagiarism row. Didier Marouani, who first came to tour in the Soviet Union in 1983, and his lawyer Igor Trunov were detained at a bank where they said they were to sign an out-of-court settlement with Filipp Kirkorov, one of Russia’s biggest pop star. Marouani claims one of Kirkorov’s songs, “Cruel Love,” contains music he wrote many years before. Both were released. Kirkorov  told the LifeNews website that there was no agreement to settle the dispute out of court and that he was “forced” to contact the police after Marouani began to attempt extort money from him. 63-year old Marouani, who was one of the rare Western musicians to perform in the Soviet Union before perestroika, denied the accusations saying “I have been coming to Russia for 33 years ….. and now I’m saying for the first time that my song was stolen, and music experts agree with me.” A civil case appears to be progressing in the Moscow City Court and no charges appear to…

Google don’t need to filter ‘torrent’ searches in France
Copyright , Internet / August 2016

COPYRIGHT Internet   The High Court in Paris has held that search engines Google and Bing are not required to automatically filter “torrent” related searches to prevent piracy. The court said that the proposed filter, requested by the local music industry group SNEP, would be too broad, ineffective, and target legitimate content as well.   SNEP had argued that, when paired with the names of three artists it represented, “torrent” related searches predominantly link to pirated content. To counter this, they demanded a filter that would block results for these searches for the keyword “torrent,” as well as websites that include the same word in their domain name, basing the request on Article L336-2 of France’s intellectual property code, which states that “all appropriate measures” are permitted to prevent copyright infringement. Microsoft had warned that the broad filtering system requested by the music group would be imprecise, disproportionate and inefficient. The Court had to balance the rights of content owners to implement anti-piracy measures against the rights of individual Internet users including  freedom of expression and communication and the court found that “SNEP’s requests are general, and pertain not to a specific site but to all websites accessible through the stated methods, without consideration…

Artists / December 2015

We remember members of the music family who lost their lives at the Bataclan, Paris, 13/11/15   Nick Alexander, the Eagles of Death Metal’s Merchandising Manager, has been killed in the Paris terror attacks at the Bataclan. His family said: “It is with huge sorrow that we can confirm that our beloved Nick lost his life at the Bataclan last night. Nick was not just our brother, son and uncle; he was everyone’s best friend – generous, funny and fiercely loyal” adding “Nick died doing the job he loved and we take great comfort in knowing how much he was cherished by his friends around the world. Thank you for your thoughts and respect for our family at this difficult time. Peace and light.” Africa Express’ Robin Aitken posted “Nick had worked with us on Africa Express. I remember a friendly, helpful guy who added his bit of joy to our musical events. I can only begin to imagine the tragedy that his family and close friends must be going through, and I just feel sad for his life being cut short by people who have so badly misunderstood the way to build a better world”. Nick’s girlfriend of three…

Music Streaming – a timely update
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / November 2015

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music, artistes, music publishing   As Music Law Updates finalised the November Updates, news broke that streaming platform Deezer had postponed its planned IPO (initial public offering) on the Paris Stock Exchange due to difficult ‘market conditions’. MBW opined that the least of Deezer’s worries were competition from Apple Music and Spotify, a declining subscriber base and a currently loss making business model. In a timely article, George Chin looks how streaming has developed and the major players in the field – against of background of the success of streaming being blamed for declining physical product and download sales, but conversely offering a workable alternative to piracy to many consumers as habits change, and a valuable new source of revenues, at least for the record labels.   The latest Music 360 report from Nielsen (9th Sept 2015) confirms that sales of recorded music are down and that streaming is growing with 75% of the population (in the USA) listening to music online.  Given that there is now a wide choice of music streaming services available, the report reveals that when making a choice, over 80% of users cite cost and ease of use as their deciding factor…

France brings in new online music agreement
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2015

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing, performers   The IFPI has welcomed the agreement struck by the music industry in France, aimed at boosting the legal digital music market and enhancing the value of music for all rights holders.   The voluntary agreement (the “Agreement for a fair development of online music”) was facilitated by France’s Minister of Culture and Communications Fleur Pellerin and brings together organisations representing French record companies, unions, recording artists, performers, online music services and others. They will work together to “help foster a sustainable music industry, diversity and innovation, clarity on revenue distribution and a fair value for music recordings.”   The agreement has been promoted by French government intermediary, Marc Schwartz, who was appointed in May 2015 to lead discussions on the development of the online music business between producers, performers and digital platforms. Universal, Sony and Warner have agreed to a new government-approved ‘code’ in France which sees them commit to new levels of transparency and “the fair sharing of value from the exploitation of music online”. The code will mean more clarity over the sharing of multi-million dollar advances from services such as YouTube, as well as the equity stakes that the majors own in…

Apple reverse ‘no royalty’ launch policy after Swift pulls out

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music    Apple Music has reversed its (non) payment policy, a day after the singer Taylor Swift said she was refusing to allow the company to stream her album 1989 because the computer and music giant were offering no royalties in a three month launch period free trial period for subscribers. Indepdent record labels and their trade bodies including AIM (UK), A2IM (US), UFPI (France) and VUT (Germany) had already voiced their critcims. Now Apple says it will pay artists for music streamed during trial periods. “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple,” tweeted executive Eddy @Cue. Swift had said the plan was “unfair”, arguing Apple had the money to cover the cost and AIM CEO Alison Wenham had written to AIM members to encourage them to “make their own decision” about Apple Music – but criticised the new streaming service for essentially “asking the independent music sector to hedge its risk, to fund their customer acquisition programme and to shoulder the financial burden for their global launch.” And see Eamonn Forde’s article in the Guardian here   George Chin writes   On Monday 8th June, Apple launched its music streaming service, aptly named – Apple Music –…

Zimmer in the frame over movie music claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2015

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Our third plagiarism update in music this month now. And there’s that old saying isn’t there – “where there’s a hit – there’s a writ” and whilst this blogger often spies claims of plagiarism, sampling and sometimes even downright copying which usually result in at least the threat of a lawsuit in the film, TV and music sectors, a claim in relation to the Oscar winning movie 12 Years a Slave has also thrown up claims violations of moral rights (under the copyright laws of Germany and France) – but in a US court.. The Hollywood Reporter lets us know that a U.S. civil lawsuit has been filed on behalf of composer Richard Friedman against composer Hans Zimmer, along with 20th Century Fox, Sony Music and various companies connected to the movie, for the alleged inclusion of a copyrighted music composition into the film’s main musical theme. According to the complaint, filed in a Californian federal court, the “Solomon Northup” theme in the movie can be traced to a 2004 Friedman composition titled “To Our Fallen,” which allegedly was widely distributed as part of a music sample entitled “American Heart.” The plaintiff says that the sound…

Get harbour safe: Telecinco’s appeal v YouTube dismissed
Copyright , Internet / March 2014

COPYRIGHT Internet, all areas A new decision by the Madrid Court of Appeal in YouTube v Telecinco [Madrid Court of Appeal decision No 11/2014 is another leading case in the European Internet Service Providers (ISPs) liability saga, and this report comes from the IPKat. YouTube is the one of the most famous video-sharing platform that hosts user-generated contents (UGCs), namely videos, from all around the world.  It’s now owned by Google. Telecinco is a Spanish broadcaster owned by the Italian Mediaset. Some users uploaded on to YouTube video fragments apparently taken from Telecinco’s TV programmes. Telecinco did not appreciate this and in 2008 brought an action against YouTube Llc, alleging copyright infringement by the hosting provider. In its decision in 2010, the District Court of Madrid dismissed Telecinco’s claims, considering YouTube shielded from liability for UGCs on the basis of the Spanish Law 34/2002, which implemented the E-Commerce Directive 2000/31. Then, Telecinco appealed the first instance decision to the Madrid Court of Appeal on the basis of the three arguments that follow. First, Telecinco alleged that YouTube could not benefit from the safe harbour provided by the E-Commerce Directive because of its non-neutral approach towards UGCs. Among other things, Telecinco maintained that…

Jackson fans get one euro each from Murray for King of Pop’s death
Artists / March 2014

MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE Artists   A court in Orléans, France, has ruled that five Michael Jackson fans should receive damages of one euro each from Conrad Murray for the “emotional damage” they suffered following the late king of pop’s death. Murray was found guilty in 2011 of causing Jackson’s demise by providing negligence treatment while working as the singer’s personal doctor. A total of 34 members of the Michael Jackson Community fan club, which is based in France, sued the doctor. The Orléans court ruled that just five of them – two from France, two from Belgium and one from and Switzerland – had proven that they had legitimate claims against the former doctor. Each was awarded symbolic damages of one euro. The lawyer acting on behalf of the fans, Emmanuel Ludot, told AFP: “As far as I know, this is the first time in the world that the notion of emotional damage in connection with a pop star has been recognised”. Ludot added that none of the five fans intend to seek their payout from Murray, but instead hoped that their legal status as victims of Jackson’s death would gain them access to his burial site. A Californian court has…

Research says that French “three strikes” law has no deterrent effect
Copyright , Internet / February 2014

COPYRIGHT Internet   The effectiveness of graduated-response anti-piracy systems that have now been implemented in France, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea and the USA has always been debated, and new research from American and French researchers, based on a survey of 2,000 internet users in France, has found that the so called 2009 ‘three strikes’ system in France (the ‘Hadopi’ law) has not deterred individuals from engaging in digital piracy and the system does not reduce the intensity of illegal activity of those who did engage in piracy. The researchers from the University of Delaware Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and the Université de Rennes I – Center for Research in Economics and Management also noted that for those internet users with closer links to the piracy community – a classification based on the piracy chat in said users’ social networks – the introduction of three-strikes in France, which targeted exclusively P2P file-sharing, pushed file-sharers down other routes to accessing unlicensed content.  More than a third sampled —37.6 percent—admitted to illegal downloading, with 22 percent using P2P networks and 30 percent using “alternative channels.” About 16.4 percent of those who had engaged in the downloads received a warning from Hadopi, the government agency with the…

France looks set to drop French language quotas on radio
Competition / February 2014

COMPETITION LAW Broadcasting   Back in 2011 music industry representatives in France aired concerns over quotas on French-language titles saying that it was almost impossible to fulfil requirements that demanded 40% of songs played be French-language titles, half of which are required to come from new artists, with the number of French pop songs being produced dwindling. The law was introduced in 1994 in an attempt to stem an invasion of English-language songs. Increasingly French singers have switched to singing in English in recent years due to ease of export and the languages perceived better-suitability for pop music  Now the Higher Audiovisual Council has admitted that the legislation has been rendered obsolete by the collapse im the number of French albums being produced – and the fact that many are sung in English. The Council is now calling for a new law to allow radio stations to play more songs in languages other than French.  The Council said that just 264 French language albums were produced in 2012, compared to 531 a decade earlier and noted artistes such as Daft Punk, David Guetta, Lou Doillon, Shaka Ponk, Air and Phoenix all sing in English.

Over 2,000 premium SoundCloud users demand copyright policy change
Copyright , Internet / May 2013

COPYRIGHT Internet   SoundCloud’s copyright policy has been met with complaints as almost 2,500 premium registered teir displeasure that their activities are being limited by StormCloud policies on mashups, mixes and more. A petition is requesting the streaming site reverts to “a real promotion tool” and “not a website just to have fancy audio players.” The campaign is being headed up by French DJ/producer Stephan Hedfors, who said: “Soundcloud was a great promotion tool for musicians. Unfortunately, with their new copyright policy, even original content can be flagged as copyrighted content, removed from their website and account from the artists can be closed” adding “Bootlegs, mashups are not allowed anymore, despite the facts that people who make them don’t earn money from them and that some of the biggest artists support them.” Soundcloud have responded saying that they are “striving to resolve any conflicts that have arisen from legitimate rights holders getting caught up in any takedown requests.” Acknowledging some user’s frustration, a spokesperson told Music Week: “At SoundCloud we use a well-established and market leading third party content ID system to help identify and block known copyright works from appearing on our platform. Unfortunately, this sometimes has the unwanted…

Bow Wow loses porn star by default
Artists , Copyright , Image Rights / April 2013

COPYRIGHT / IMAGE RIGHTS Artistes   Rapper Bow Wow has been ordered to pay out $80,000 in damages to French porn star Celine ‘Katsuni’ Tran after he used footage of her dancing in a music video without permission. Tran appeared as a dancer in a video for French band Electronic Conspiracy, but Bow Wow then used some of that footage for the pop promo for his track ‘Drank In My Cup’ last year. Recognising that Bow Wow and his label Universal may have sought permission from whoever filmed the original footage, Tran sued for publicity right violations, rather than copyright infringement. In the end, though, that distinction didn’t matter because Bow Wow failed to respond to the lawsuit, so the judge overseeing the case automatically ruled in Tran’s favour, ordering the rapper to pay damages and legal fees totalling $79,346.07.   Posting on Facebook  Bow Wow said: “Yo! That dumb ass pornstar chick who ever she is ain’t getting a dime from us! We ain’t make no video. That video was mashed up by somebody on YouTube and I reposted cuz it was dope. People mash up artist videos all the time online. Everybody looking for a hustle. Then they…

Mills calls for more support for the content industries from technology loving politicians
Copyright / February 2013

COPYRIGHT All areas   Beggars Banquet chief Martin Mills has spoken out against politicians who pay lip service to the creatuve industries. Using a speech at MIDEM to attack the “predatory behaviour” of the majors, and expressing concerns at Sony/ATV/EMI’s recent decision to licence Pandora in the US directly rather than via the collective licensing system Mills went on to say the tell his audience: “I want to address the lack of support that governments, politicians and bureaucrats worldwide show to the creative industries”. He added: “Many [in governmental and political circles] pay lip service to the value and importance of the creative economy, but most fail to match that with their actions. Creative industries are built upon strong and defendable intellectual property rights, and without that they will inevitably wither and fail. It is impossible to make the investments to produce new creative goods without the security that ownership of them is protected. Yet governments are seduced daily by elements of the new technology industry into diluting and compromising that security”. Admitting that rights owners – especially the bigger ones – have made various mistakes in the way they licence online content services in the last fifteen years, and…

Japan introduces new download sanctions
Copyright / October 2012

COPYRIGHT all areas Illegal downloaders in Japan now face prison terms of up to two years and fines of nearly 2 million yen (U.S. $25,679) from today. The Japanese government says that the move is aimed to protect the film industry and stop falling music sales in the World’s second largest music market, where record industry officials estimate only one in 10 downloads are legally purchased. The Recording Industry Association of Japan says the legal download music market shrank 16% in 2011, the second consecutive year of decline. The slide comes despite global sales of digital music increasing 8% last year to $5.2 billion, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and Japan content owners hope the new regime will mirror the success of the ‘three strikes’ legislation introduced in South Korea which the IFPI says warns off 70% of infringers after the first notification and France where according to the IFPI Peer-to-peer piracy levels declined by 26% in France in 2011 after the implementation of the law Hadopi.

Innocence of the act is no defence
Copyright , Internet / October 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   It seems that a 40-year-old Frenchman who was summoned to court in France under the French anti piracy ‘HADOPI’ three strikes legislation for illegally downloading pirated music, has found himself on the receiving end of a conviction – even though it was his wife who illegally downloaded the two Rihanna songs in question. PC World report that Alain Prevost was fined for failing to secure his Wi-Fi network after Prevost self-incriminated himself by admitting he knew his wife illegally downloaded the songs. Under French law the “three strikes” are as follows: first, an email message is sent to the alleged offender: Secondly if the alleged offender illegally downloads copyrighted material again within the next six months, a certified letter is sent to the alleged offender: Thirdly if the alleged offender does not stop downloading illegally within one year from the receipt of that letter, the offender’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) is required to suspend their Internet access. According to TorrentFreak, content owners have identified a total of three million French IP addresses associated with piracy since October 2010. Of these three million IP addresses identified, 1.15 million were eligible for a first strike, 102,854 eligible for a…

French count the cost of Hadopi
General / September 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   Hadopi, the body charged with hunting down repeat infringers under France’s three-strikes law, has sent a million warning e-mails and 99,000 registered letters although just 134 cases have been examined for prosecution and no cases have as yet resulted in an Internet user being disconnected. Hadopi has a payroll of over 60 and annual costs have now reached a reported 12 million Euros,  prompting French culture minister Aurélie Filippetti to describe the system as “unwieldy, uneconomic and ultimately ineffective”. Filippetti told Le Nouvel Observateur that Hadopi had also failed in a key part of its mission, to foster legal content to replace illegal downloads prompting the French government to  launch a consultation to re-examine it’s response Internet piracy with Filippetti talking of a post-Hadopi future. In a separate interview, Pierre Lescure, head of the commission into the “Future of Piracy” and a former boss at Canal+, endorsed Filippetti’s stance, saying he attaches “great importance” to the development of legal offers, and that the temptations to piracy are so great “only a priest would not yield” saying “The error of Hadopi was to focus on the penalty”, telling Le Nouvel Observateur. “If one starts from the penalty, it will fail”, adding…

Hadopi claims 50% drop in French piracy
Copyright , Internet / May 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet A new report on the effectiveness of the French three-strikes ‘Hadopi’ anti-piracy law claims that it had managed to cut Internet piracy in half in 2011. Well I imagine it would, as it’s from the Hadopi office itself, and as Torrentfreak points out the Report is “conveniently written in English so it can be used by lobbyists all around the world”, The Report says that “Benchmarking studies covering all of the sources available shows a clear downward trend in illegal P2P downloads. There is no indication that there has been a massive transfer in forms of use to streaming technologies or direct downloads.” The report goes on to cite a variety of statistics ranging from a 29 percent decrease in visits to “pirate” sites in 2011, to a 66 percent drop in illegal file-sharing traffic in France in the same period. Impressive figures indeed, and Hadopi correlates this to the French three-strikes law. However there is no corresponding rise in digital sales in France and Torrentfreak asks “[if] the entertainment industry has claimed that digital piracy is the main cause for the gradual decline in revenues …… one would expect that the revenues are soaring, right? But they’re not”…

Hadopi enters first round of the ‘third strike’phase
Copyright , Internet / March 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   Hadopi, the French authority responsible for the protection of content owner’s rights on the Internet, has revealed that it has now sent its first batch of files of Internet users suspected of illegally downloading films and music protected by copyright law to the French public prosecutor’s office. The public prosecutor’s office must now decide whether or not to instigate legal proceedings against the repeat offenders as the final [art of the French ‘Three strikes’ or graduated response programme. All of those accused will already have had a warning email and if they continued to infringe, a further  letter sent by registered post and email. Punishment includes a fine of EUR1,500 (USD1,971) and the initial suspension of the individual’s Internet account for a period of up to a month. All decisions are made by a court. At the end of December, 822,014 Internet users had been sent a first warning, 68,343 had received the “second strike”, the registered letter, and 165 repeat offenders had been placed under investigation. In January 2011 research showed that despite the new law, 49% of French internet users continued to illegally download music and films.

French fans launch Jackson action
Artists , Criminal Law / February 2012

CRIMINAL LAW Artists   In another bizarre twist in the Michael Jackson story, a group of French fans of the King of Pop are launching a legal action in France against Dr Conrad Murray, who has now been convicted of involuntary manslaughter after the singer’s death in 2009 in the USA. They are each claiming symbolic damages of one Euro for the ’emotional damage’ the death has had on them. Murray was sentenced to four years imprisonment. and Leonard Watters, the 24 year old unemployed Irish dance instructor who wrongfully accused X-Factor judge and BoyZone/Westlife manager Louis Walsh of groping him in a Dublin nighclub toilet has been imprisoned for six months.

The Doors close on Lizard Bar
Artists , Trade Mark / July 2011

TRADE MARK Artists A French bar called the Lezard King bar, a play on Jim Morrison’s nickname of the ’Lizard King’, and which is situated close to the Pere Lachaise cemetery where the Doors frontman is buried in Paris, is on the receiving end of a letter from the band’s lawyers who have objected to the bar, its name and its association with Morrison and the Doors.  The letter said that the bar, which features cocktails with names based on the band’s hits such as Light My Fire, Waiting for the Sun  and Strange Days,  had no right to use the band’s name or photographs of the Doors in connection with the sale of alcohol and said that the band did not want to be seen as endorsing the bar or the sale of alcohol.  Jeff Jampol, the bands manager reportedly said “there is a difference between a homage to Jim being created by a fan, and a business owner”. The Times  10th June 2011

Internet companies challenge French data collection law
Copyright , Internet , Privacy / May 2011

COPYRIGHT / PRIVACY Internet The BBC reports that Google, EBay and Facebook are among a group of net heavyweights taking the French government to court – the legal challenge has been brought by The French Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC) and relates to government plans to keep web users’ personal data for a year. The case will be heard by the State Council, France’s highest judicial body. The law obliges a range of e-commerce sites, video and music services and webmail providers to keep a host of data on customers. This includes users’ full names, postal addresses, telephone numbers and passwords. The data must be handed over to the authorities if demanded. Police, the fraud office, customs, tax and social security bodies will all have the right of access. ASIC head Benoit Tabaka believes that the data law is unnecessarily draconian. “Several elements are problematic,” he said. “For instance, there was no consultation with the European Commission. Our companies are based in several European countries. “Our activities target many national markets, so it is clear that we need a common approach,” said Mr Tabaka. ASIC also thinks that passwords should not be collected and warned that retaining them could…

Google liable for damages in France
Copyright , Internet / April 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet A French court has ordered Google to pay $598,000 in damages for copyright infringement to a number of filmmakers and a photographer after their works appeared in Google’s search results and on Google Video. The appellate court in Paris ruled in favour of film producer Mondovino and others who brought copyright infringement claims against Google. Google reportedly removed the works when asked by copyright holders, but the works then reappeared online. The company is said to be considering an appeal.

Early Law Hadopi results disappoint French music industry
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2011

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet In October France’s “Creation and Internet” law formally went into effect but Jared Moya at ZeroPaid reports that it seems that it has yet to warn as many suspected file-sharers as the music industry had hoped. The French “three-strikes” measure to fight P2P in that was first proposed back in June of 2008. The Director General of the French record labels trade body David El Sayegh said the music industry has already been identifying and submitting to the  the HADOPI Agency the IP addresses of more than 25,000 suspected file-sharers per day, and recently raised their daily submission to 50,000, but it appears that HADOPI is so far only notifying a mere 2,000 IP addresses per day – just  4% of what the music hoped for. The Ministry of Culture had said that it hopes to send at least 10,000 warning letters per day.

Online infringement
Copyright , Internet / November 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINKS;  A useful review of the recent Digital Music Summit at Belmont University titled “Music industry fights clashing digital battles” with comments from record label associations the IFPI and the RIAA and some different views from consumer champions EFF, amongst others: Also, in the wake of the cyber attack on ACS:Law and the leaking of personal details of thousands of suspected illegal downloaders and file shares, an update on the Ministry of Sounds’ actions against individual actions in the UK here and actions by filmmakers in the USA here and for Kiss front man Gene (sue ‘em all) Simmon’s views see Victoria Espinel, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement co-ordinator , visited the Future of Music Policy Summit and offered a brief summation of what’s on her agenda at And France’s brand new three strike’s law has launched wit the first wanrning emails being sent to suspected illegal downloaders and file shares. More here All Eyes on France as Officials Enforce New Antipiracy Law at

France approves Loi Hadopi – and Europe drops opposition to three strikes
Copyright , Internet / November 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet France will send out it’s first warnings to digital pirates early next year after passing its much debated ‘three strikes’ legislation allowing for Internet access to be cut for those who illegally download movies and music. The French Constitutional Court passed the law at the end of October to the joy of President Nicolas Sarkozy.  Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said the members of a watchdog to oversee application of the digital clampdown would be named in November and the first warnings would go out “from the start of 2010”. The law sets up an agency that will send out an email warning to people found to be illegally downloading films or music. A written warning is sent if a second offence is registered in six months and after a third, a judge will be able to order a one-year Internet rights suspension or a fine. At the same time, efforts in the European Parliament designed to hinder the three-strikes system have been dropped. CMU Daily reports that moves to amend new Europe-wide telecom rules so that disconnecting the net access of persistent file-sharers would be illegal. has been dropped, seemingly in response to pressure from those European governments…

Hadopi part II – three strikes is back!
Copyright , Internet / October 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet France’s much debated internet piracy law, the so called Loi Hadopi which introduces a ‘three strikes’ approach to persistent illegal downloaders and fileswappers and which would allow authorities to disconnect repeat infringers, has passed through the lower house of parliament in a revised form. The law, supported by President Sarkozy, was passed by 285 votes to 225, with the Socialists, Greens and other left-wing parties opposing it and the ruling UMP party voting in favour. The bill must still be approved by the French parliament and may still face another challenge in the constitutional court. A previous version of the law, approved by parliament in June, was rejected by France’s top constitutional court who said that it wasn’t happy with proposed new body that would have had the power to cut Internet access ruling that the new body could only have the power to issue warnings and that any disconnections could only be ordered by a judge. Record companies, film producers and artists have supported the bid to crack down on Internet piracy, which recording industry body SNEP estimates has destroyed 50 percent of the value of the French recorded music market in six years but consumer groups…

Second death at Madonna stage collapse
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2009

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry A British worker, Charles Prow aged 13 has been named as the second person to die following the tragic stage roof collapse in Marseilles. The death of French worker, Charles Criscenzo (aged 50) had already been confirmed. The condition of two other people was described as serious and thirty six other people have injuries, some with minor injuries and shock. Madonna has said that she was appalled by the incident saying “two men lost their lives which is a great tragedy to me. I feel so devastated to be in any way associated with anyone’s suffering”. Police are now interviewing witnesses, studying videotape footage and reading commercial contracts with a view to establishing is a charge of causing death unintentionally at a place of work could be brought and if health and safety regulations, procedures and standards had been met. The incident happened on Thursday 16th July when the roof of a stage for Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet tour was being built at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome collapsed. Maurice Di Nocera, from the Marseilles local authority said on radio that the roof had been about two-thirds complete and that it collapsed gradually allowing most workers to evacuate the area. …

Taiwan brings in ‘three strikes’ law as the French version is finally approved
Copyright , Internet / June 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet Taiwan’s legislature has passed an amendment to the island’s Copyright Act aimed at discouraging digital copyright infringement over peer-to-peer networks and increasing the responsibility of Internet Service Providers. The country has adopted the much debated ‘three strikes’ system where web users who continue to access unlicensed sources of content after receiving two warnings could lose their internet connections – or at least have them restricted. Whilst a number of countries have looked at this system, so far only France and New Zealand have implemented ‘three strikes’ as law. In France the much criticised proposals have now worked their way through the French parliament although in New Zealand the Government is still trying to work out how to implement their new and again much criticised law . The Taiwanese government has introduced the system in order to achieve it’s twin aims of cracking down on internet piracy – without flooding the courts with lawsuits from foreign content owners against the providers of file-sharing services or individual file-sharers. The courts in Taiwan are known to be overburdened. It seems the new law means that repeat offenders will have their internet access “restricted” rather than automatically cut off. That could mean…

New Swedish anti-piracy laws triggers a thirty three percent drop in internet use and legal downloads might have doubled
Copyright , Internet / May 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet It’s been good and bad news for record labels, film companies, music publishers and other content owners in April as legislators in two European countries finally began to tackle the problem of internet piracy and peer-2-peer file swapping. First up French lawmakers moved a step closer to passing a “three strikes” law under which people who repeatedly pirate music, movies or TV shows could have their Internet connections cut off for up to year. On the 2nd April  the National Assembly voted in favor of key elements of the law on April 2nd but whilst The Senate have passed the President Sarkozy supported Creation and Internet law, the French initiative stalled at the last hurdle when the National Assembly then failed to pass the legislation on the 9th April. Despite this setback it is expected the bill to pass possibly as early as April 29th and possibly in an amended form: When passed, France would be the first in the world to cut off Internet access to people accused of copyright violations although consumer groups and human rights activists oppose the move: some consumer groups had warned that the wrong people might be punished – should hackers hijack…

French piracy bill accused of ‘Big Brother’ policies
Copyright , Internet / April 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet The French government has been accused of “Big Brother” tactics over an anti-piracy bill which aims to punish people who repeatedly illegally download music and films by cutting off their internet access for up to a year. The proposed law, championed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, will be debated in parliament this week, will create a new state surveillance agency to monitor internet users online. Web surfers illegally downloading music, films or video games will be identified and they will first receive an email warning, then a registered letter, and if caught again they will see their web access cut off for up to a year. The culture minister, Christine Albanel, has argued that France is “the world number one” in illegal downloading. In 2006, an estimated 1bn pirated files were shared in France. A recent poll found 57% of 18-24 year-olds admitted they had made illegal downloads and one in three French internet users admitted to online piracy. Although the senate has passed the bill, a heated row over civil liberties is expected as parliament debates the law this week. Christian Paul, a Socialist MP leading opposition to the law, said it would create a precedent for “massive…

French first lady takes action over bag
Artists , Image Rights / January 2009

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has brought a legal action in the St Denis Court in Reunion Island (located in the Indian Ocean) over the use of her image. The case centres on a bag produced by a company called Pardon which featured a ‘posterised’ nude image of Bruni- Sarkozy taken in 1993 for an anti-AIDS campaign when she was 25. The former model claimed damages of 125,000 Euros which it was argued represented the commercial rate which would have been appropriate although the claim made in clear that Bruni-Sarkozy had no wish to market her image in this way. The court agreed that Pardon did “not have, or even claim to have, Ms Carla Bruni’s consent to use her image as part of a publicity campaign.” Awarding Bruni-Sarkozy 40,000 Euros (£37,000), the court also banned all sales of the bag. Pardon’s, which sells fashion clothing and accessories on the Island had already withdrawn the 3 Euro bag. Boss Peter Mertes said after the hearing the damages were “excessive” adding “It’s a heavy price to pay for a silly mistake”. Pardon have said they will appeal. Sarkozy-Bruni (and President Nicolas Sarkozy) had previously filed a lawsuit…

French courts holds eBay liable for sale of counterfeit goods
Internet , Trade Mark / July 2008

TRADE MARK Internet Two court decisions in France have left eBay reeling and the online commercial community nervous of further actions. Firstly a French court ruled that eBay must pay Hermes 20,000 euros for allowing counterfeit Hermes bags on its site. The court found that “By selling Hermes bags and branded accessories on the site, and by failing to act within their powers to prevent reprehensible use of the site… [both eBay and the seller] committed acts of counterfeiting and imitation of French brand names … to the detriment of Hermes international.” The court ordered that eBay must also publish the ruling on its homepage. Counsel for Hermes argued that eBay was more than a mere passive intermediary, instead: “eBay is an active player in the transaction because not only does it offer a number of services to improve the sale, but when it does not work well enough or fast enough, they intervene with the client…They are perfectly informed of the transactions since they take a percentage cut.” The IPKat adds that that it isn’t sure about the ruling adding that it “doubts whether someone at eBay really has knowledge of every transaction that is taking place” and that “forcing someone to…

Irish labels take on Eircom
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / April 2008

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet The Irish recorded music sector’s four major companies – EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music, and Warner Music (together as the Irish Recorded Music Association) have decided to take Irish Internet Service Provider (ISP) Eircom to court in order to force them to implement countermeasures against piracy. Willie Kavanagh, Chairman of the Irish Recorded Music Association and Managing Director of EMI Ireland, blamed the action on a “dramatic and accelerating decline” in the Irish music industry’s income: 30% over the past six years, up to 2007. Kavanagh attributed a “substantial portion” of that decline to the increasing use of broadband, facilitating a sharp increase in the use of download services, like BitTorrent or LimeWire. Sales dropped from €146m ($224m USD, not counting inflation) in 2001 to €102m ($157m USD) in 2007, said Kavanagh. The case represents the first of its kind in Eire with record labels taking the ISP to court instead of individual file swappers and attempts to compel Eircom, under the Irish Copyrights and Related Rights Act of 2000, to implement specific countermeasures to prevent its network from being exploited for piracy. Last October Eircomm said that it was in no position to consider monitoring users and was under no…

Good news for the labels as the UK follows France in looking to ISPs
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / March 2008

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet But whilst in Spain, Italy, Germany and Switzerland the record labels faced up to bad news in their ongoing battle against internet piracy and illegal downloading, in The United Kingdom the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) launched a green paper on the creative industries and one new suggestion was a “three strikes and you’re out law” to combat illegal downloads. Under the proposal, UK internet users will be monitored by their ISP’s for illegal downloads, and those caught will receive an e-mail warning in the first instance, internet suspension the second time, and then termination of their contract on the third strike. A similar law was proposed in France in November 2007 and Australian legislators are considering the idea too. In the UK, broadband firms which fail to enforce the rules could be prosecuted, and the details of customers suspected of making illegal downloads would be made available to the courts. I n Denmark, the Danish Courts have barred internet access to The Pirate Bay download site (although it seems the publicity has generated new traffic to the site). The organisers of the site are already facing criminal prosecution in Sweden (on both stories…

France backs term extension for sound recordings
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / March 2008

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artists It seems that the show’s not over for an extension to the copyright term of sound recordings. According to an article in the Times, France is due to make the extension a priority of its upcoming six-month presidency of the EU, despite opposition from the UK and Germany. According to the French Culture Minister, Christine Albanel. “Today, whole swaths of the recording catalogue of the 1950s and 1960s, representing a significant part of the national pop heritage, are falling progressively into the public domain…That creates an obvious problem of fairness. Artists who began their careers very young are being stripped today of all remuneration from their first recordings.” The illustrious IPKat says it cannot quite share Ms Albanel’s indignation adding that “there aren’t many other industries where success in your youth guarantees you an income for life”. See more on this from the EC and Scotland below.

French love attracts labour laws
Artists , Employment Law / March 2008

EMPLOYMENT Artists, television Contestants on the French equivalent of Temptation Island, I’lle de la Tentation, have been awarded substantial payouts by the Paris Appeal Court which found their activities on the island were subject to full French Employment laws. Production company Glem, the reality division of broadcaster TF1, had contracted to pay each contestant E1,525 (about £1,200) as an advance payment against Image/merchandising rights. But the court decided that during the twelve day ordeal the contestants were employed as production staff and they worked 24 hors a day, 7 days a week. The French maximum working week is 35 hours and Glem were ordered to pay the three claimant contestants E8,176 in overtime, E817 for holiday pay, E500 for unfair dismissal and E1,500 for wrongful termination of contract with a further E16,000 awarded for illegal employment. Glem had said the contestants were engaged in entertainment, not work. In the UK we have not heard about any claims against the contracts contestants enter into with the producers of programmes like Big Brother and Castaway – but a number of contestants most notably Jade Goody have become national celebrities and have made substantial sums from a variety of new revenues streams after…

France to instigate new penalties agains downloaders
Copyright , Internet / December 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet The French government is to issue a new ‘three-strikes-and-you-are-out’ policy against repeat illegal downloaders where repeat offenders will have their Internet access removed by a new independent government body. The proposals, drawn up by an independent review headed by Denis Olivennes – the Chairman of French entertainment retail chain Fnac has led to a Memorandum of Understanding, signed in Paris by music producers, audiovisual producers, internet service providers and public authorities

eDonkey servers taken offline
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels Legal steps by the record industry in France, Germany and the Netherlands have cut off more than one million users of the one of the largest P2P networks – no doubt to the huge annoyance if music fans. Seven servers on eDonkey were shut down this week after court injunctions in Germany. This follows on from similar eDonkey server closures in Netherlands and France. eDonkey is a peer-to-peer file sharing network widely used to swap copyright infringing music files.  The eDonkey network relies on servers for its effective operation and eDonkey servers are run by one or more individuals using software to enable users to find other users connected to the same server that have files the user wants to download. A series of legal actions by national groups of the International Federation of Phonographic Iindustries, representing the recording industry, have forced many eDonkey servers offline, significantly reducing the effectiveness and reach of the network.  In the last few weeks the number of eDonkey users worldwide has been reduced by more than a million, knocking an estimated third of users off the network.  Fresh actions will continue to target the remaining eDonkey servers. The new actions against…

EMI signs as streaming deal with AOL, Warners ties up with Last.FM , Viacom takes on YouTube and JASRAC are still not best pleased!
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / March 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels EMI Music has signed an advertising-supported music video streaming agreement with leading digital content provider AOL Europe. The agreement, covering the UK, French and German markets, enables consumers to stream music videos free-of-charge via the AOL portal. All forthcoming new releases will be available for music fans to stream, as well as music videos from EMI Music’s extensive back catalogue. EMI Music will also benefit from additional exposure for EMI’s artists via promotional activity such as “Artist of the Month” and “Breakers.” Exclusive “AOL Sessions” are also planned, with all recordings to be made available for AOL users to stream. Consumers will have access to music videos from EMI Music artists, including Coldplay, Corinne Bailey Rae, Norah Jones and Lily Allen, as well as Camille, Diam’s and Raphael from France, and Wir Sind Helden and La Fee from Germany. AOL is a global Web services company and a majority-owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. And Warner Music has entered into a streaming license with covering the US and Europe. This is’s first content deal with a major. In the February issue of Five Eight there will be an interview with Martin Stiksel, co-founder of…

Norway rules that Apple DRM is illegal
Competition , Record Labels / February 2007

COMPETITION Labels, technology As France, Germany and Finland join the growing list of countries looking at iTune’s DRM and lack inter-operability which include Sweden and Denmark, the Norwegian Ombudsman rules the software illegal and the Dutch Consumer Protection Agency joins the protest against Apple in the Netherlands.

French labels join majors in suing
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / February 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The French Civil Society of record Producers has filed a lawsuit against two Russian Web sites accused by record companies of illegally selling pirated music. The lawsuit has been filed in the French courts against X-Media Ltd. and Mediaservices, the operators of and Both sites sell entire albums for as little as US$1 (€0.77), but record companies say that they do so without permission. Moscow-based Mediaservices, which owns, maintains that it pays 15 percent royalties to Russian Coollection Societies on the sales in compliance with Russian law. The French suit follows similar moves by U.S., Danish, British record companies. Warner Bros. Records, Capitol Records, UMG Recordings and Arista Records are among a group that filed a suit in New York last month, demanding unspecified damages from Mediaservices.

IFPI continue actions against file swappers
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2006

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet Legal actions against thousands of music file-sharers across the world have been announced as the recording industry stepped up its campaign to deter copyright theft and promote legitimate use of music on the internet. Over 8,000 new cases in 17 countries are being announced today, including the first ever cases against illegal file-sharing in the two biggest markets of South America and in Eastern Europe.   A total of more than 13,000 legal actions have now been taken outside the United States. Legal actions are being extended to Brazil, where more than one billion music tracks were illegally downloaded last year and a country where record company revenues have nearly halved since 2000. Mexico and Poland are also seeing actions for the first time – while a further 14 countries are launching fresh actions against illegal file-sharing.  Over 2,300 of people have already paid the price for illegally file-sharing copyrighted material, with average legal settlements of €2,420.   Many of those on the receiving end of legal action are parents whose children have been illegally file-sharing.  They are finding that in many countries they are liable for any activities third parties undertake using their internet connection.  In…

New French law manages to antagonise everyone – consumer groups, online retailers and rights owners
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2006

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels After a protacted debate The French parliament has finally adopted a law that could force Apple Computer to rethink its digital music business model and move away from its closed system of iPod players and iTunes online music. The controversial law maintains that all electronic devices should be “interoperable”, so that consumers can play legally downloaded music on any type of digital player. This means Apple, which has previously called the law “state-sponsored piracy”, would have to remove the copy protection measures that prevent consumers playing tracks bought at its iTunes store on music devices that rival Apple’s iPod. The final text, a compromise agreed last week, now gives a new regulatory body powers to impose fines of up to 5 per cent of global turnover on companies that refuse demands to publish the source code to their systems. Industry representatives and consumer groups have savaged the outcome. Those who want interoperability to increase consumer choice say the law has watered down the principle by making the regulatory authority, open only to professional claims, its arbitrator. They say the enw law – the so-called “Loi Vivendi Universal” now favours big companies with the capacity to fight…