French and International Copyright

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  • Does anyone have any insight to French copyright? I have heard that after 70 years everything becomes public domain. I find that hard to believe and wanted to see if anyone else has dealt with International Copyright issues.
  • Parlez vous Francais? The French Intellectual Property Code is obviously in French. I don't believe that there is an easily accessible English translation, but I could be wrong. [color=blue]Google's language tools[/color] do an adequate job of translating the text, but not adequate enough for me to post the translation. I know enough French to answer your question, but my knowledge is rudimentary. If you don't read French and really want to know what the code says, you should get a professional translation. Here's the section you care about: [quote]CHAPITRE III - Durée de la protection Art. L. 123-1. L'auteur jouit, sa vie durant, du droit exclusif d'exploiter son oeuvre sous quelque forme que ce soit et d'en tirer un profit pécuniaire. Au décès de l'auteur, ce droit persiste au bénéfice de ses ayants droit pendant l'année civile en cours et les soixante-dix années qui suivent.[/quote] The first sentence says that the author's work is protected for the duration of the author's life. The second sentence says that when the author dies, the work continues to be protected for the remainder of the calendar year and the following 70 years. [color=blue]Titre II, Chapitre III[/color] contains Art. L. 123-1 and 11 other articles that deal with special situations like collaborative and posthumous works. Art. L. 123-5 indicates that Art. L. 123-1 was modified in 1997 to incorporate the European Union's 70-year duration of protection. You can also read the entire [color=blue]Intellectual Property Code.[/color] Click on Livre 1, skip Titre Ier, and click on Chapitre III under Titre II to get to the section I quoted. I think Celog, the organization that posted the code, is the French equivalent of West, but I'm not sure. You could try emailing them:
  • The most authoritative English version I know is linked from the UNESCO website, to Terms of duration are stipulated in Articles L123-1 through L123-5. The basic copyright term in France is life of the author plus 70 years:

    “On the death of the author, that right shall subsist for his successors in title during the current calendar year and the 70 years thereafter. .. In the case of pseudonymous, anonymous or collective works, the term of the exclusive right shall be 70 years from January 1 of the calendar year following that in which the work was published…�

    But keep in mind that if you are using a French work in the U.S., U.S. law, not French law, applies. Hope this helps--

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