US internet giant Google has been found guilty of violating copyright of a film that was posted on its site prior to seeking authorisation from the owner.
Paris District Commercial Court found Google guilty for posting the film, "The World According to Bush" (Le monde selon Bush) by William Karel, online without seeking permission from the copyright holders and despite their protests, film producer Jean-Francois Lepetit announced on Friday.
"In compensation, the internet group has to pay 150,000 euros ($220,000 dollars) in damages to Flach Film, the company that produced the movie, and Editions Montparnasse, which had been contracted to distribute it legally," said Lepetit.
In November 2006, Flach Film filed a lawsuit against Google because it had allowed internet users to access the movie in its entirety and free of charge, through its site Google Video France, despite complaints from the producer, according to Lepetit.
"Until the court proceedings began in December 2007, it was possible to find the film on Google," the producer said.
The American giant was thus found to have been in "contravention of the provisions of the Intellectual Property Code on copyright and related rights," he added.
In its defence, Google, world's leading internet search engine, said it "appreciated the recognition by the court of its status as host."
"We believe, however, that mandatory filtering imposed by the judgment was impossible to meet without the cooperation of content owners," Google France legal director Yoram Elkaim said shortly after the judgment was handed out.