Gaul court OKs tech nixing DVD copying

French Supreme Court finds in favor of industry

StudioCanal and Universal have won a landmark legal victory over the right to use technology to prevent DVD copying.

A Gallic consumer had tried to sue the companies, arguing that he had been unable to make a copy of his DVD of “Mulholland Drive,” as was his right under France’s “private copy” law.

The French Supreme Court found in favor of the industry on Tuesday, ruling that DVD copying conflicted with the normal exploitation of a film.

Verdict was based on the “three-step test” outlined in a 2001 European directive on copyright, which also states that copymaking must not be the norm and must not unreasonably prejudice rights holders’ legitimate interests.

Verdict, which has been hailed by the industry but decried by Gallic consumers’ orgs, highlights the current schizophrenia in France over copyright protection vs. consumer freedom.

Next week Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres will have another stab at getting parliament to approve legislation that will make it easier to crack down on illegal downloading from the Internet.

Draft legislation was met with politically embarrassing objections in December, when MPs from different parts of the political spectrum supported an amendment calling for a license that would entitle Internet users to download whatever they wanted for a fixed fee.