Monday, 24 December 2007

The ‘Spiderman’ DVD Packaging is a Work Protected by Copyright

Court of Appeal of Versailles (12th Chamber), 7 June 2007, n°06/01686 (obs. Costes L., in RLDI 2007/33, n°1100)

In 2002 Gaumont commercialized a DVD of the film Spiderman, in a specially designed package, presented as a limited edition for collectors. The packaging consisted of a wooden box containing a double DVD, a figurine representing Spiderman, a sketch-book…

M. J. created this packaging and Mastery took care of its production and marketing, while MPO was only in charge of manufacturing it. Subsequently, MPO published a photograph of the Spiderman package on its website, on a page dedicated to its ‘packaging creations’. M. J. and Mastery took action against MPO on the grounds of copyright infringement and unfair competition.

MPO argued that under copyright law the litigious packaging was not original, as it was merely a reproduction of boxes that had been drawn by the author of the Spiderman comic strips.

The Court of Appeal of Versailles ruled that a package designed and created for a specific product is a work as defined by the Intellectual Property Code and therefore qualifies for copyright protection. The Court condemned MPO for copyright infringement.