On August 7, 2018 , the Tribunal de grande instance de Paris (TGI) released a decision, Décision du 07 août 2018, 1/4 social N° RG 14/07300, declaring ‘null and void’ numerous terms found in Twitter Inc’s (Twitter) user agreement. Twitter, as part of its terms and conditions of service (T&C), includes several licensing provisions relating to the copyright of user-generated content.
Twitter requires that users grant certain rights in exchange for the services it provides. According to Twitter’s T&C, users retain the rights to their content. The agreement states: “What’s yours is yours — you own your Content”. However, Twitter’s T&C subsequently contradicts this statement by granting Twitter “a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, copy, […] and distribute [user content …]”.
The Union fédérale des consommateurs (UFC) brought the case before the Tribunal challenging Twitter’s licensing provisions on two grounds. First, UFC argued that the T&C is misleading. The licencing agreement initially suggests that the scope of rights granted to Twitter is limited, while in fact, it is quite extensive. Second, UFC argued that the grant of rights contained in the T&C is overly broad, contrary to the French Intellectual Property Code (IPC). UFC alleged that the IPC requires transfers of rights to be specific in content and prohibits the assignment or licensing of future works.
The TGI agreed with UFC and declared the offending provisions of Twitter’s user agreement ‘null and void’ for infringing the IPC.
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Summary By: Jae Morris