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Draft law on the regulation and protection of access to cultural works in the digital age

The purpose of the draft law is to amend the provisions of the Intellectual Property Code in order to, on the one hand, merge two independent administrative authorities, the Higher Council for the Audiovisual Sector (CSA) and the High Authority for the Dissemination of Artworks and the Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI), the new body being ARCOM, and, on the other hand, to strengthen the tools at the disposal of this new authority to combat online piracy.

In this regard, Article 1 of the draft law aims to improve the means of combating counterfeiting on the Internet and redirect this fight to combatting websites offering streaming, direct downloads or referencing, which profit from putting works online in beach of the creators’ rights.
The draft law thus entrusts ARCOM with the task of drawing up, after an adversarial procedure, a list of sites that seriously and repeatedly infringe copyright and related rights. By objectifying the characterisation of websites, this mission will aim at securing self-regulation actions on the part of various intermediaries, such as those involved in payment and advertising (the so-called “follow the money” approach) or other intermediaries, namely those involved in referencing. The list drawn up by ARCOM may also be invoked by rights-holders in support of their legal actions.
The draft law also proposes to strengthen the scope of the measures imposed by the judge against counterfeit sites in order to address the phenomenon of “mirror sites”. ARCOM is given the power to request the blocking or delisting of a site deemed illegal pursuant to an initial decision by a judge. If ARCOM’s request is not acted upon or if new infringements of copyright or related rights are noted, the judicial authority may be called upon to order any measure intended to end access to the illegal sites concerned.
Finally, Article 3 of the draft law aims to amend the provisions of the Sports Code in order to provide for a specific referral mechanism to combat sports piracy. This system takes into account the urgency inherent in live broadcasts of sports events (“live streaming”), the damage being instantaneous and irreversible in this situation.