[Foundation-l] Does "free content" exist in France?

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Sat Apr 21 16:44:52 UTC 2007

Birgitte SB wrote:

>--- Delphine Ménard <notafishz at gmail.com> wrote:
>>I'll add that moral rights are not only recognized
>>in the
>>English-speaking world, but basically in at least
>>the whole western
>>world. France being one among many countries (yeah,
>>I didn't like
>>France being singled out in the subject :P)
>I agree; these rights are recognized to some degree
>about everywhere that honors Berne.  Of course the US
>is significant example of a juristiction not honoring
>this part of Berne.  
Nevertheless Section 106A of the US copyright law does deal with this issue.

>I wasn't meaning to pick on
>France, but I was completely certain what I was saying
>was true for France.  Whereas I believe is it also
>true in Germany and most of the EU, I am not sure
>which juristictions allow these rights to waived.  I
>know for certain that France takes the hard line on
>the issue, so that makes the best example.
It does lead to some bizarre results. See 
http://www.caslon.com.au/mrcasesnote.htm  The one that I really liked 
there was a 2006 Swedish decision: "Stockholm court of appeal finds in 
favour of Swedish film makers in 2006 after claims that their moral 
rights were breached by TV4 through insertion of advertisements in 
broadcast of films"

An interesting comment in the Supreme Court of Canada in Théberge v. 
Galerie d'Art du petit Champlain: " evaluation of a potential breach of 
moral rights calls for the exercise of a good deal of judgment. A 
distortion, mutilation or modification of a work is only actionable if 
it is to "the prejudice of the honour or reputation of the author". The 
artist or writer should not become the judge in his own cause on such 

The problem seems to be that French courts have gone completely over the 
top with this, and have recorded some bizarre results.  They would cover 
any kind of remixing of music or video subject   This is the kind of 
thing that YouTube thrives on.

While we should be respectful in our approach to moral rights laws, I 
don't think that we should pander to the kind of lowest common 
denominator that has been expressed by the French courts.


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