The French copyright law changed by the Constitutional Council
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The French Constitutional Council ruled on the most controversial copyright
and related rights law, known as DADVSI law, concluding that some
provisions of the law “violated the constitutional protections of property”.
The Council has considered as unconstitutional several provisions adopted by
the French Parliament that were meant to balance the initial text which was
too much in favour of the industry, thus making the law even stricter.
One of the aspects considered by the Council as against the equality
principle was the gradual system in the application of fines for making
works available on P2P networks, which was ranging from 38 to
150 euros. Under the circumstances, the penalties remain at the level of 3
years of imprisonment and 300,000 euros in fines.
“By eliminating the reduced penalties, the council put ordinary people
sharing music back in the same league as criminal counterfeiters,” said
Jean-Baptist Soufron, legal director for the Association of Audionautes.
Probably the most severe decision of the Council is related to provisions
related to interoperability. Basically the Council considered the government
did not define interoperability properly and withdrew interoperability from
the DRM circumventions exceptions.
This definitely pleased Apple. Dominique Menard, partner at the Lovells law
firm and a specialist in intellectual property said: “The Constitutional
Council has highlighted fundamental protections for intellectual property in
such a way as to put iTunes a little further from risk of the French law.”
The Council changed also some of the provisions adopted by the French
Parliament making the creators of file-sharing software and software that
could interact with DRM-protected content to be sued by copyright holders,
even if the “software is intended for non-copyrighted contents”.
The law, which is now stricter than the initial text, will be either
promulgated and then published in the Official Journal after which it can
enter into force or it can be resubmitted to the Parliament for further
DADVSI : The Constitutional Council makes the law tougher ! (27.07.2006)
The DADVSI law validated and made stricter by the Constitutional Council
EDRI-gram : New French copyright law gives Apple satisfaction (5.06.2006)
Parts of French “iPod law” ruled unconstitutional (29.07.2006)