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ISP-Liability & Media Law

December 15, 2008

Other sections of this issue:
Privacy & Data Protection
| ISP-Liability & Media Law | Contracts & E-Commerce |
Electronic Communications & IT

The online platform Wizzgo was recently condemned in France. Wizzgo provided a service allowing subscribers to obtain, via the internet, recordings of television programs broadcast inter alia by the French broadcasters M6, W9 and Télévision française. According to a Paris Court, Wizzgo’s service constitutes a copyright infringement and is not comparable with the functioning of a mere video recorder.

Wizzgo is an online platform that allows subscribers to identify television programs that they wish to record. Once subscribers have made their selection, Wizzgo automatically makes a copy of the broadcast of the program (which it refers to as a mere "cache copy"), and then sends a watermarked and encrypted copy to the subscriber concerned (which it refers to as the "private copy"). Wizzgo was summoned by a number of French broadcasters that considered that Wizzgo violated their copyrights and, in subsidiary order, their trademark rights.

The decision
The Paris Court of First Instance rejected Wizzgo's argument that it only made a "cache copy" of the programs concerned (cache copies do not require the copyright holder's consent) and also held that the copy made by Wizzgo furthermore did not amount to a private copy made by an individual (private copies do not require the copyright holder's consent either).

Rather, the Court of First Instance has assimilated Wizzgo's activities to the provision of video-on-demand services and has therefore condemned Wizzgo to a compensation that was more or less equal to the income that the broadcasters would have generated had they applied their usual video-on-demand rates.

Wizzgo was also condemned for having infringed the trademarks of two of the broadcasters.

References: Judgment of the Paris Court of First Instance of 26 November 2008 [PDF]

For more information, contact: Christoph De Preter or Thomas De Meese.

For more information, please contact the professional(s) listed below, or your regular Crowell & Moring contact.

Thomas De Meese
Partner – Brussels
Phone: +