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France

E-commerce

The Supreme Court has rendered four anticipated rulings in relation to Google's liability for its paid referencing service, AdWords. The four rulings implement the ruling of the European Court of Justice, which considered the cases in a referral, and annul the appeal rulings that held Google liable for trademark infringement.

In accordance with the government's aim of liberalizing the online gambling sector before the 2010 World Cup, the National Assembly recently adopted the proposed legislation as presented by the Senate so that it could be ratified and promulgated. However, the Socialist opposition has challenged the terms for liberalization before the Constitutional Council.

Search engines are not subject to a statutory liability regime. In a recent case the Paris Court of Appeal reiterated several rules relating to the technical role of a search engine. Within this framework, the court reiterated search engines' obligations and then determined how they may be held liable.

Media & Entertainment

The video recording of concerts, operas, musicals and other shows is now a common practice, and the industry around this practice is growing. However, the protection to which the producer of such an audiovisual work is entitled is still unclear. A recent Paris Court of Appeal decision illustrates this issue.

The Paris Court of First Instance recently issued an interesting ruling on copyright and the right of communication to the public as it applies online. The case involved a website which live streamed programmes broadcast by the French public services channels, on the grounds that the French must-carry regime entitled it to do so. However, the court disagreed.

The French broadcasting regulatory authority, the Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel, has rejected requests from three television channels to move from pay television to free-to-air television, holding that, despite their quality and diversity, all the channels were likely to create difficulties by compromising the editorial diversity of the free digital terrestrial television offering.

Film financing is a complex, constantly evolving field. While the rates of some tax credit systems are decreasing and are not a priority for some governments, the French system, introduced in the 2000s, has had positive results. The French government recently strengthened its system by widening the categories of eligible expenses and increasing some of the applicable caps.

Protecting the Cannes Film Festival is an ongoing concern for its organisers. In the absence of copyright protection of the event, the organisers may find protection through an unfair competition claim. A case brought before the Paris High Court illustrates the benefits of claiming unfair competition.

The Paris Civil Court has issued a high-profile judgment in respect of the action taken by film producers' and distributors' unions against the main internet service providers and search engines active in France. The claimants deliberately chose to make a claim not against the illegal download and streaming sites, but rather against the intermediaries.

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