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Provisions applicable

The legislative and regulatory provisions governing copyright in France are contained in the French intellectual property code.

French copyright legislation itself derives, to a large extent, from European and international law. 

THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CODE

Two acts established the main principles of copyright :

act n° 57-298 of 11 March 1957 on literary and artistic property ;
act n° 85-660 of 3 July 1985 relating to copyright and rights of performers, record and video producers and audiovisual communication companies.

The provisions of these two acts were integrated into the intellectual property code (“codified”) byact n° 92-597 of 1 July 1992. 

The intellectual property code, supplemented in particular by the “DADVSI” act of 1 August 2006 and the “HADOPI” acts of 2009, currently constitutes the reference text in terms of copyright.

>> View the intellectual property code on Légifrance. 

EUROPEAN LAW

Several European directives govern copyright.

For creators of visual arts, the two most important texts are :

- the European parliament and Council directive 2001/29/EC of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society ;
- the European parliament and Council directive 2001/84/EC of 27 September 2001 on the resale right for the benefit of the creator of an original work of art.

These texts are supplemented by abundant case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which is imposed on the French courts.

INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS

Several international conventions deal with copyright.

The Bern Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works, adopted on 9 September 1886, is the basic text for copyright on an international level.

It has been supplemented, in particular, by the WIPO treaty on copyright dated 20 December 1996.