French copyright law under scrutiny as Constitutional Council targets filesharers

Parts of France’s new copyright law may have to be rewritten after the Constitutional Council ruled that four articles were unconstitutional.

The council toughened the laws on illegal file-sharing, recommending several years in prison or a fine of up to ?500,000 (£341,990) for pirates, replacing the original ?150 (£103) fine for uploading copyrighted material.

Denis Monégier du Sorbier, an IP partner at Linklaters in Paris, said: “The Constitutional Council’s decision makes the new law more severe.”

Known as the ‘Dadsvi law’, France’s copyright law has long been a source of political controversy. The French Socialist party has lobbied for more relaxed rules on file-sharing.

When implemented, the law may require Apple to make music files on iTunes compatible with MP3 players other than its own iPod. But the council ruled that Apple should receive compensation if forced to license iTunes in this way.

Parliament had passed the law at the end of June, but all laws must receive approval from the Constitutional Council to make sure they do not conflict with the French constitution.