Any person who takes part in the intellectual creation of a work may be considered an author.
A work exists provided that there is originality. The classical concept of copyright tends to see originality as mainly being determined by the fact that the work created reflects the personality of the author and therefore that another author in the same situation would not produce the same result.
A clear distinction must be made between the author's contribution and the technical contribution. Certain professions, however, cover both aspects, but the two sectors need to be separately identified and distinguished. In the audiovisual field (television), it is common practice for the same person to be simultaneously a technician, a member of the salaried staff and also an author, and thereby entitled to rights recognized as his, specifically the right to proportional remuneration for use, mostly through his society of authors.
The same often applies to multimedia production...
SESAM by-laws contain references to the different types of original works which could be protected, including words, music, still images and moving images:
ARTICLE 4. - Specifically, the meaning of texts for the purposes of the present regulations shall include any work of the mind such as books, pamphlets or other literary, artistic and scientific writing. In particular, this includes any spoken text and commentaries, interviews, conferences, addresses, sermons, pleadings or other similar works mentioned in Article L.112-2, Subsections 1 and 2 of the Intellectual Property Code (Code de la propriété intellectuelle).
ARTICLE 5. - Specifically, the meaning of musical works for the purposes of the present regulations shall include any work of the mind such as musical compositions, with or without lyrics and, more generally, any sound creation capable of attracting copyright protection.
ARTICLE 6. - Specifically, the meaning of motion pictures for the purposes of the present regulations shall include any work of the mind such as audio-visual works falling within the definition contained in Article L.112-2, Subsection 6 of the Intellectual Property Code and animated works expressed using any film, video or computer-based process.
ARTICLE 7. - Specifically, the meaning of still images for the purposes of the present regulations shall include any work of the mind such as drawings, painting, graphic or typographic works, architecture, sculpture, engraving, photography and other works created using techniques similar to photography.
Three further types of work are recognized as specific to multimedia:
- interactive scenario design
- graphic design
- creative multimedia production
You may be afraid that by making your web site, or your original work, accessible to the general public, it could be expropriated by certain indelicate third parties.
French law is not formal. Contrary to the practice for patents, the law does not insist that a work be registered with an administrative authority for rights to be recognized. It is, however, advisable to formally deposit the work as this will be accepted as a presumption of ownership of the rights.
To do so:
send the work in a sealed envelope by registered mail addressed to yourself.
you then keep the envelope unopened; or you can deposit a "Soleau" envelope at the INPI (French national institute of industrial property) or with societies of authors with similar deposit systems, e.g. SCAM and SACD.
Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle
26 bis rue de Saint-Petersbourg - 75008 Paris
T - 01 53 04 53 04 / F - 01 42 93 59 30
The French national union of author-composers (SNAC) has the same deposit system for music composers who are not yet members of SACEM:
Syndicat national des auteurs-compositeurs
80, rue Taitbout 75009 Paris
Tel : 01.48.74.96.30
However, in the event of litigation, deposits lodged by members of an authors' society with the same society are accepted by the courts of law. This makes it possible to prove the date when the work was created and therefore to establish whether it was prior to the date cited by the opposing party.
To join SESAM's member societies