18.02.2022Erwan Prely, Sandra Strittmatter

Insights – Intellectual Property – February 2022

France creates new anti-piracy agency ARCOM

On January 1, 2022, France’s media watchdog CSA (High Audiovisual Council) and anti-piracy agency HADOPI (High Authority for the Dissemination and Protection of Intellectual Property on the Internet) merged to form ARCOM (Regulatory Authority for Audiovisual and Digital Communication).

Established by law no. 2021-1382 of October 25, 2021, on the regulation and protection of access to cultural works in the digital age, ARCOM combines the remits of CSA and HADOPI, with additional enforcement tools in certain fields such as online copyright infringement, including:

  1. Blacklisting (Article L. 331-25 of the Intellectual Property Code)
    ARCOM may release a list of websites that have repeatedly committed serious instances of copyright and related rights infringement.
    Sites will be added to the list by decision of ARCOM, after their infringements have been duly documented by authorized sworn officers.
  2. Mirror site blocking (Article L. 331-27 of the Intellectual Property Code)
    Previously, websites with infringing content could be blocked or removed from search results by a court order under Article L. 336-2 of the Intellectual Property Code. But the order would apply only to the infringing website, not to any copy (or “mirror site”) running on a different server. Therefore, the copyright owner had to apply for a separate injunction against the mirror sites.
    The French Intellectual Property Code now provides that where a website has been determined to be infringing by a final, unappealable court order, ARCOM may require any person mentioned in the order to disable access to any website that copies all or substantially all of the infringing site’s content, upon motion filed by a copyright owner who was a party to the order. These measures cannot last beyond the remaining duration of those ordered by the court.
  3. Injunctive relief against infringement of sports broadcasting rights (Article L. 333-10 of the Sports Code).
    The new law provides that sports rights holders may apply to an ordinary trial court seeking an emergency or interim injunction requiring proportionate measures to prevent or stop infringement against any person likely to contribute to remedying it.
    It remains to be seen how effective these measures really are, since they largely rely on voluntary cooperation between ARCOM, intermediaries and rights holders.