Libération Fined 2000€ for Authors’ Rights Violation

The French Superior Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris) ruled on 12 January that the French daily, Libération, has infringedthe copyright of journalist, Marc Mangin,  by making unauthorised use of his articles. Libération was asked to pay € 2,000 to Mangin for violating his copyright and moral damages.


Mangin is a freelance journalist and reported the presidential elections in Iran. In June 2009, Libération published two of his articles. On 26 June, the Belgian newspaper La libre Belgique which is affiliated to Libération published the same articles without Mangin’s consent and further payment. The articles were later made available to other media affiliated to the Libération News service without further payment.


When Libération later approached Mangin for publication of another article, Libération demanded a worldwide licence to publish the article in all of its publications, including third party’s publications, both online and offline. But Mangin refused to sign the unfair contract. Libération notified Mangin on 18 July 2009 that they will terminate future works with Mangin. 


According to the ruling based on Article L132-40 of the French intellectual property law, further use of copyrighted works (including third party’s uses) should be subject to further payment and negotiation between the author and publisher; and such negotiation shall respect the existing collective agreements. However, freelance journalists and individual creators are often pressured to sign away their rights without further payment. (Read more)