Monday, November 19, 2007

MySpace Liable in France for Copyright Infringement as Publisher

In France, MySpace has been found liable for infringement of comic Jean-Yves Lambert's publicity rights and copyrights.

MySpace was held liable because the court ruled that it was not only a hosting provider but also a publisher of the infringing content. The court observed that, according to its terms of service, MySpace defined itself as “a social networking service that allows its members to create unique personal profiles online in order to find and communicate with old and new friends.”

The court also observed that MySpace “allowed its members to create personal web pages structured by frames displayed in a way specific to the website.” All MySpace pages, the court noted “display on the top an advertisement banner and then a number of frames within the page, each displaying specific information about the member such as its picture, identity and contact details, URL address, interests, personal details, friends and comments from friends etc…”

The court concluded that “by imposing such a specific, frame-based, structure for members to present their personal information and by displaying [revenue generating] ads for each and every visit [made on the pages], [MySpace acted] as a publisher.”


Unlike in the US, French courts have been fairly consistent in finding social networking sites and search engines liable for infringement.

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