PARIS — The Gallic producer of “The World According to Bush” has filed a copyright suit against Google for carrying the documentary on its French Web site, where Internet users can view it free of charge.
Producer Jean-Francois Lepetit claimed that, according to Google’s own reckoning, the film, a critique of George Bush’s presidency, had been viewed 43,000 times, undercutting business from the video-on-demand and video distribution deal his Flach Films has with Editions Montparnasse.
The French-language version of helmer William Karel’s docu was no longer available on Google on Thursday, but the English version was there, listed among an array of Bush-themed video clips and films. It had been viewed more than 5,000 times. It was later taken down.
The suit, filed with Paris’ Commercial Court, cites Google France and Google Inc.
“This isn’t a war against the Internet. I’m a big fan of Google, and I use it all the time,” Lepetit said. “But it isn’t possible to develop legal services on the Internet as long as this kind of parasitic activity continues to exist. Google must assume its responsibilities.”
French antipiracy org ALPA (Association de lutte contre le piratage audiovisuel) said other French titles that have turned up on Google France Video include Warner Bros.’ megahit Gallic comedy “Les Bronzes 3: Friends Forever” and last year’s hit laffer “Brice de Nice.”
French law makes host sites such as Google immune from a lawsuit, but Lepetit, backed by ALPA’s antipiracy experts, is aiming to prove Google Video France is the editor of the content on its site and not merely a passive notice board on which Internet users post things.
“There is no pedophile content on Google Video, so that proves they are capable of filtering what is on their site,” Lepetit said.
“Google has no intention of flouting copyright laws, and any content on our site that does so will be removed,” a spokesman for Google France said.