|AG Melchior Wathelet|
This piece of legislation amended the French Code de la propriété intellectuelle by adding a new chapter (Chapter IV - Articles L 134-1 to L 134-9, subsequently amended) to Title III of Book I therein.
Among other things, this French law gives approved collecting societies the right to authorise the reproduction and the representation in digital form of out-of-print books, while allowing the authors of those books, or their successors in title, to oppose or put an end to that practice subject to certain conditions.
More specifically, the relevant implementing decree has established a legal framework intended to encourage the digital exploitation of works reproduced in books published in France before 1 January 2001 which are no longer commercially distributed by a publisher and are not published in print or digital format. In that case the right to authorise the reproduction or performance of those books in digital format is exercised, six months after their registration in a publicly accessible database for which the National Library of France is responsible, by collecting societies approved to do so by the Minister responsible for culture.
Further to a reference to the Conseil constitutionnel in 2013 regarding the compatibility of Law No 2012-287 with the French Constitution [in 2014 the Conseil constitutionnel responded in the sense of its compatibility], the Conseil d’État decided to stay the proceedings and refer the following question to the CJEU:
The AG Opinion
First: what needs to be considered?