French Appellate Court: Private Copying Exception Trumps DVD Copy Control

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I reported here and here that a Paris District Court ruled in UFC v.Films Alain Sadre et al that a copy protection system on a DVD does not conflict with provisions of the French Intellectual Property Code, which limit copyright owners’ rights regarding reproductions made strictly for the copier’s private use. UFC, a consumer rights association, claimed it received complaints from consumers about DVD copy protections that prevent purchasers from making copies for private use. The court confirmed that such technical protection measures comply with the EU-Copyright Directive (EUCD), though the EUCD is not yet transposed into French law.

Some days ago, however, a Paris Appellate Court reversed the ruling. I haven’t had a chance to analyze the decision, but it reportedly requires film producers Alain Sarde and Studio Canal to remove copy controls on their DVDs in order to enable the beneficiaries of the private copying exception as set forth by French law to exercise their rights.

Further, the Court criticized that the DVD producers did not provide sufficient consumer information as far as copy restriction is concerned. The label “CP” for “copy protected” was printed on the jacket, but in small characters and not sufficiently explicit.

See news report in French, and English translation.

It will be interesting to analyze the ruling in detail and to think about its compliance with EU law vis-�-vis Article 6 of the EUCD (see here.)

Update: The decision (in French) is published here.

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