DADVSI (usually called dadsi) is the abbreviation of the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act in the Information Society. . This is a bill reforming French copyright law, mainly to implement the European Copyright Directive 2001 (known as the EUCD), which implements a 1996 WIPO treaty. The law, although initially dismissed as highly technical and of no interest to the average person, provoked considerable controversy when it was considered by the French Parliament between December 2005 and June 30, 2006, when it was finally voted by both rooms. The bulk of the bill focused on the exchange of copyright-protected works on peer-to-peer networks and the criminalization of circumvention of digital rights management (DRM) safeguards. Other sections dealt with other copyright-related issues, including the resale rights of works of art, the copyright of works produced by public servants and the copyright exceptions for copyright. education and the disabled. The law was highly controversial in France because of fears that it could significantly impede free software and could also significantly restrict the right to make copies of copyrighted works for private use. Some amendments to the bill, which were not in the original version, would potentially force manufacturers to share their proprietary digital music formats with other software developers (due to the need to provide the necessary documentation for interoperability ). For this reason, a controversy arose with Apple Computer and the associated American industrial groups, who protested loudly in the US press; therefore, the DADVSI bill was sometimes referred to as the iTunes Act or the iPod Act in the English-language press (see interoperability and controversy over Apple), although the law is not mentioned in this way in France.

The title of the DADVSI law refers to droit d’auteur et droits voisins (authors’ rights and related rights). Authors’ rights, in French law, have two components: Copyright is a related concept, but pertains to Anglo-American common law; one notable difference is that copyright does not generally involve moral rights. The legal clauses governing authors’ rights and related rights form the first book of the French Code of Intellectual Property (CPI). This article will thus refer to articles from this code as CPI Lnnn. The notion of ‘author’ extends to that of composer (of music), playwright, painter, photographer, etc., though the law makes it a requirement that the work should be original (or show some supplemental originality, in the case of a derived work) in order to be protected. In practice authors often cede their rights to publishers, who then enforce the “exclusive right” and some are members of societies that enforce their rights on their behalf. The latter is de facto nearly compulsory in case of songwriters and composers, almost all of whom are members of Sacem. Performers and publishers of audio recordings enjoy “related rights”. These follow different rules and have a shorter duration than the rights of authors. In practice performers often cede their rights to publishers, or have them enforced by societies. The exclusive right of the author is not absolute. According to WIPO treaties, local legislation may make exceptions to exclusive copyrights only if these exceptions fulfill a “three-step test”: limitations and exceptions Exceptions to copyright in French law are defined in CPI L122-5. Among them is the notable exception for private copies: French residents may freely make copies of works (except software) for their private use, and freely display those works within their family circle (which is interpreted to include friends), without the agreement of the copyright holder. However, French law includes a “tax on private copies” meant to address the losses incurred by copyright holders; this tax is levied on blank media (audio and video cassettes, CD’s, DVD’s, as well as memory and hard drives in portable media players). Normally taxation is reserved for legislation, a prerogative of the French Parliament, but a statute endowed an ad hoc commission to set the rates and conditions for this tax. European directives are generally not directly enforceable in EU member states. They first have to be transposed into local law, generally by an act of the legislature of the member state. While they give a general framework and impose some options they may leave significant leeway: in the case of EUCD, for instance, the directive gives a list of optional copyright exceptions, and mandates appropriate legal protection for DRMs, without defining what constitutes an appropriate protection. Member states have to transpose directives within reasonable delays, or they face action by the European Commission. There may be subsequent litigation before the European Court of Justice if subsequent the implementation is deemed to be inadequate. In March 2006, the Cour de cassation, France’s highest court in civil and criminal matters, ruled in a decision nicknamed Mulholland Drive (from the name of a DVD involved). It quashed a decision by the appeals court of Versailles that ruled that Digital rights management techniques that contradicted the “right to private copy” were illegal. Legal scholars noted the following: The crux of the discussion on private copy is the nature of this so-called “right”. One can interpret it weakly, as an exception to the general possibility for copyright holders to prevent any unauthorized distribution of their work, or strongly, as a prohibition for copyright holders to use technical means to prevent private legal copies. The “three-step test” was also copied into article “1 bis” of the draft law, which updates CPI L122-5. See Copyright exceptions.

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