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March 11, 2005
French Court Says Downloading for Private Use May Be Defensible
Via Frank Field @ Furdlog, this news from Audionautes.net: "On Thursday, the French Court of Appeal of Montpellier released a 22-year-old Internet user free of charges after he was sued for copying nearly 500 movies on Internet, burning them on CDs and sharing them with friends. The Court based its decision on the article L-122-5 of the French Intellectual Property Code stating that 'authors can't forbid copies or reproductions that are only intented for the private use of the copyist.'"
CoCo blog (who helpfully provides a link to the statute in English):
This does not mean that the Court has judged that movie downloading is now legal in France on a general basis. Though I have not (yet) seen the judgment, it (probably) gives the indication that private use may be a defense against a claim of copyright infringement for downloading. While this might be called a recognition of the private copying clause in the digital environment, it is not clear if this will hold up. There are currently about 50 comparable criminal cases pending, and in the past users have been sentenced for these acts.
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