Copyright protection for a work of street art: Paris Court of Appeal – July 5, 2023
If the case has caused a stir, it’s because it involves the truculent Mr. Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his party called La France insoumise.
In 2017, following the arrest of Théo Luhaka, street artist Combo pasted a Marianne with Asian features holding a flag inscribed “Liberté, égalité, humanité” on Boulevard du Temple in Paris.
During a demonstration by La France insoumise, the party’s cameras filmed the work, which was subsequently reused in Mr. Mélenchon’s campaign video for the 2017 presidential election and the 2020 municipal elections.
After a formal notice went unanswered, the artist Combo decided to sue for unauthorized reproduction of his work.
At first instance, the debate centered on the place of the work within the clip: was it a brief quotation, or a wide shot including this work located on the public highway. The Court dismissed Combo’s claims.
However, on July 5, the Court of Appeal overturned the judgment and ordered Mr. Mélenchon and his party to pay Combo 40,000 euros in damages.