French consumers aren't entitled to make personal copies of DVDs, even if they don't distribute them, France's highest court said today in a victory for film companies such as Vivendi Universal SA.
The defendant in this lawsuit backed by the UFC Que Choisir consumer association, was arguing that Vivendi's Studio Canal film-production unit didn't have the right to use a device that made it impossible to burn duplicate digital video discs for his personal use.
The "Cour de Cassation" in Paris, the highest court, quashing a decision by a lower court, ruled that a consumer can't make a backup copy of David Lynch's Mulholland Drive.
This ruling certainly will have an influence on neighboring sets of laws, including those regulating the music industry because it defines and limits the consumers' usage of copyrighted material, more specifically movies in this case.
The right to make personal copies can be restricted by copyright holders when duplication "could cause an unjustified damage to the legitimate interests of authors," today's judgment said.
This latest judgment comes amid efforts by French lawmakers, music and film publishers and lobbyists to strike a balance between copyright protection and consumer rights. The country's National Assembly is to examine a bill on intellectual property and royalties on March 7th and will officially be voting on March 14th.