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Copyright rules in France

Published on 23 January 2018

Get to grips with the framework of copyright law in France with the 2018 TerraLex Cross-Border Copyright Guide.

What are the main sources of copyright law in France?

The main source of copyright legislation in France is the Intellectual Property Code, enacted by a statute of 1 July 1992. At the time of the enactment of the Code, French Copyright law was ruled by an Act of 11 March 1957, modified by the Act of 3 July 1985. Their dispositions were incorporated in the Intellectual Property Code in 1992. 

As France is a member of the European Union, the interpretation and application of French legislation by the judiciary must be read in accordance with European Directives and Regulations which have direct effect. Further, the French courts and other EU national courts often refer questions of law to the European Court of Justice, whose decisions are binding on national courts. As a result, French copyright law is frequently added to and updated from both internal and external sources. 

France is also party to several bilateral and international conventions, such as the Berne Convention of 9 September 1886 for the protection of literary and artistic works; the Universal Geneva Convention of 6 September 1952 on author’s rights; the Rome Convention of 26 October 1961 on the protection of performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organisations; the Geneva Convention of 29 October 1971 for the protection of producers of phonograms against unauthorised duplication of their phonograms; and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of 15 April 1994.

To find out more about subsistence of copyright, ownership, infringement, remedies, enforcement and copyright reform in France, download the 2018 TerraLex Cross-Border Copyright Guide.