French rights holders have started proceedings against Canal+ with the High Court of Nanterre, claiming more than EUR10 million in unpaid private copying rights.
This private copy levy applies to all electronic products with memory capacity, in this case, the hard drive of the Canal+ Cube decoder. The levy is paid to producers, writers and performers, who are organized in the Copie France association. In exchange for payment, everyone can make copies for private use and record programmes from the channel.
According to Copy France Canal+ has used a trick to avoid paying the levy but play ing the hard drive outside the Cube set-top box rather than internally. According to the association, the separate hard disk is usable only with the Cube, and should in fact be considered internal. This would mean a one-time payment of EUR45 rather than the EUR9 that the broadcaster is paying.
In 2013, Canal+ adopted another trick, according to Copy France, by reducing the freely available capacity on the hard drive to 320GB, which would command a EUR18 levy instead of EUR45.