a lawyer answers four questions about the evolution of the law

This is a new step in the fight against illegal streaming. A new law relating to the regulation and protection of access to cultural works in the digital age was promulgated on Monday 25 October. In particular, it will allow the constitution of lists making it possible to index the pirate sites. For Franceinfo:sport, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property law and digital law answers four questions.

Who wanted this law to be extended?

Since the advent of private TV channels and TV rights, illegal streaming has never been better. The problem is that the broadcast media pay dearly for these rights, which then trickle down to the leagues and clubs.

“All these major sporting events illegally streamed jeopardize the business model, not only of the media, but also of the soccer clubs, explains Etienne Bucher, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property law and digital law. The latter live precisely because there are dtelevision rights royalties. So it is a law that was requested at the beginning by these people and precisely this law which has been promulgated will allow these people, but also others to benefit from the new provisions which have been put in place.

How will it be implemented?

In fact, this new article published in the Official Journal, should allow the creation of public lists to identify pirate sites. The latter, in addition to a permanent blocking, expose themselves to criminal sanctions. In addition, the so-called “mirror” sites, those which reproduce a major part of the content of a condemned site will also be blocked. “In fact, it will work a bit like blacklists to precisely list all the entities that have engaged in these infringing practices at one time or another. It’s not a revolution in the law, a simple evolution to the new uses against which it is necessary to fight.

What are its limits ?

“In the spirit of the law, it is a very good provision and it is something that goes in the right direction, begins the lawyer. But the difficulty is that it is extremely easy to create new sites that will not be blacklisted. They [les créateurs de ces sites] don’t even need to set up a company. So it’s a good thing to “stop the bleeding a little bit” and prevent these well-established sites from continuing to do illegal streaming.

Thus, if the best known sites should quickly be identified and then taken offline, new sites will be able to continue to broadcast these meetings in streaming.

What do users and broadcasters really risk?

According to a barometer carried out by HADOPI, nearly twelve million Internet users take advantage of these illegal pirate sites. Therefore, it is impossible to imagine sanctions against each of these Internet users. If the spectators do not run great risks, the administrators of sites, them, expose themselves to heavy sanctions.

“TF1 or beIN will not file a complaint against you because you watched a match in streaming, believes Etienne Bucher. It is technically possible but completely unthinkable from a judicial point of view. This is why the legal and legislative arsenal put in place will directly target the entities that put this content on the Internet and which are remunerated through advertising. They are in the pure infringement of copyrights, production rights, rights of organizer of sporting events. They risk extremely large fines and if they are natural persons they risk prison because counterfeiting is a crime.

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