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France Télévisions, TF1 sue Canal+ for unfair competition

September 29, 2021

From Pascale Paoli-Lebailly in Paris

French public service broadcaster France Télévisions and private broadcaster TF1 have taken legal action against Canal+, accusing the pay-TV operator of not observing release windows.

The pair are seeking reparation of over €41 million, following Canal+’s decision to offer free-to-view access to its content and films on all IPTV boxes during the first Covid lockdown from March 16th to March 31st 2020.

According to business daily Les Échos, France Télévisions is claiming €30 million and TF1 €11.3 million. Both have filed a complaint to the Paris Judicial Court (Tribunal Judiciaire de Paris), accusing Canal + of “unfair and parasitic competition”.

All FTA channels must wait 22 months before releasing movies they have con-financed. The Canal + pay-TV window opens at eight months after the theatrical launch.

Authors’ rights body the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD) has accused Canal+ of “behaving like pirates”.

French justice has offered a mediation process that could to lead to an amicable settlement.

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