Implementation of French Law on Author’s Rights: additional sanctions for circumventing DRM

05 March 2007

Jeanne Méhaud

The first decree issued under the French DADVSI (French Law on “authors' rights and related rights in the information society”) has been published in the French official journal on 30 December 2006.

This decree, aimed at supplementing the range of financial sanctions applying to the circumvention of DRM, inserts two new provisions into the regulatory part of the French intellectual property code. It imposes a €750 fine on individuals using (or retaining in contemplation of using) a device designed or specially adapted to either bypass a technical means of protection of a protected work or to suppress or alter information allowing the identification of the protected work.

The decree clearly specifies that these sanctions will not apply where such acts are carried out either for computer security purposes or within the framework of scientific research in the field of cryptology. The scope of these two exceptions is restricted, however, and they will not apply where bypassing DRM in these cases harms intellectual property right holders.

The next decree being drafted by the French government in application of the DADVSI will create an authority with powers to regulate DRM. This measure is expected to be implemented shortly, as a draft decree has already been prepared.