The owner of a shop in Toulouse, France, was convicted on Feb. 10 for producing illegal copies of sound recordings with CD-R equipment.

LONDON--The owner of a shop in Toulouse, France, was convicted on Feb. 10 for producing illegal copies of sound recordings with CD-R equipment.

The criminal court action followed complaints from French collecting societies SCPP, SDRM and SPPF, acting on behalf or rights owners. They filed charges against the owner of the shop for breach of French copyright law two years ago.

The shop was offering customers pay-for replications of pre-recorded CDs. The shop owner argued that he was acting within the law, which authorizes copies for home usage.

However, the tribunal determine that he has breached the law by selling CDs without authorization from rights owners.

The shop owner has received a suspended three-month jail sentence, all his material has been confiscated and he will have to pay SCPP 27,360 euros ($35,000) in damages. The defendant has 10 days following the judgement to appeal.

"The tribunal has made a decision we are satisfied with," says SCPP legal director Laurence Marcos."The fine is in line with the prejudice we evaluated."

IP ON THE RADAR

Marcos adds that French courts and judges seem to be much more sensitive to piracy and copyright infringement cases affecting intellectual property.

"We have won quite a few cases in recent times and we hope they have a deterrent effect," she comments.

"A lot of people offer services that look like they are legal but actually show a complete disregard for intellectual property rights. We always try to obtain the toughest judgements to deter from these practices," Marcos adds.

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