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Copyright and the employees rights in France

Home > Intellectual Property in France | Published 2010-10-20

France remains one of the most appealing destinations for numerous authors, painters, sculptors, novelists and many others. These professionals must go beyond their artistic inspiration and hire an IP Lawyer for his or her “legal inspiration” in order to maintain focus on the indispensable…ART!

French Law protects the original creation of an employee as his own property.

The employee possesses moral and property rights based on the French Intellectual Property Code, art. L. 111-1.

Thus, the employee has discretion over the decision to:

  • Disclose the creation
  • Disclose his name
  • Prohibit the employer from modifying the creation
  • Cancel the copyright agreement with his employer (assuming that he or she will indemnify him or her)

Additionally, the employee can sell his property rights relating to:

  • Communication about the creation
  • Copyright
  • The possibility of obtaining a percentage on the sales

In any case, if the employee wants to sell his copyrights, written compliance is required by French Law (art. 131-2 Intellectual Property Code), otherwise the agreement is void. It is also mandatory to specify the scope, location, and duration of the sale.

The selling price cannot be the employee’s salary. It must be of additional value, otherwise the agreement is void.

The mandatory method of compensating the employee for his work is a payment of commission based on the gross sales. This may be modified if it is impossible to calculate a fair percentage or if the creation is, for example, software (nevertheless, other exceptions apply).

The only option for the employer who does not want to pay copyrights to his employee is to attempt to qualify the creation as a product of “teamwork”. In this case, other rules and exceptions will apply.

Intellectual Property in France is a technical and intricate field in which authors, employees, and employers need the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.

This article is available online for public information purposes. It is updated regularly, as needed. Due to the constant evolution of the laws and the legal system, we cannot guarantee that the information in this article is still applicable. We invite you to contact us with any legal questions or concerns you have regarding this topic at +33 1 56 79 11 00. In no way can this firm be held liable for articles that contain inaccuracies or are now out of date.

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