French Law 2012-287: Database of Digitized 20th Century Books

Law 2012-287 was published in the Official Journal of France on March 2, 2012. The law, which amended France’s Intellectual Property Code, proposes building a free, public database of digitized books that were published in the 20th Century and are no longer in commercial distribution. The Bibliothèque national de France (BNF) would be in charge of creating and administering the database.

Publishers and rights holders will have 6 months to challenge inclusion of a book in the database. It also appears that after raising a challenge, publishers have three years to demonstrate a market for the book, or that they have created their own digitized version.

I did not see a specific appropriation of funds in the bill, so it is unclear to me how the BNF will finance the project.

Reaction on French law librarian mailing lists and blogs has been positive, but muted. Wait and see seems to be the prevailing sentiment.

Whether this bill leads to a free database or not, let’s hope that it spurs debate in France, Europe, and across the Atlantic, about the role of digitized books in society.

Law 2012-287 relative à l’exploitation numérique des livres indisponibles du XXe siècle.

Full-text of the bill and links to legislative history materials are available at

Some authors’ groups have already criticized the bill for ignoring copyright law. For example, see the petition circulated by writer Yal Ayerdhal:

Additional commentary on the bill from the Rue89 blog

Festival Justice et Cinema

La Rochelle, France offers an annual justice and film festival – Festival Justice et Cinema. Now in its third year, the 2011 edition was held June 10th and11th.

Each year’s festival offers a different theme, with this year’s films focusing on  screen portrayals of investigating magistrates (juge d’instruction)

 In addition to screening  films, the festival also offers discussions by legal practitioners, film critics, journalists, and academics.

The Web site also includes a biblioghraphy.

Documentary on Jean Monnet

Professor Don Smith of the University of Denver Strum College of Law has produced and posted a 90 minute documentary  on the life of Jean Monnet, one of the architects of the European Community. The film provides an interesting look into the genesis of the institutions that produced the European Union and the remarkable life of Jean Monnet.

Jean Monnet Father of Europe

From the project description:

Jean Monnet has been called “The Father of Europe” by those who see his innovative and pioneering efforts in the 1950s as the key to establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, the predecessor of today’s European Union.

Jean Monnet’s concept of “European community” was aimed at ending the ceaseless wars on the European continent and enhancing prosperity. And yet today in Europe – to say nothing of the rest of the world – Monnet is often a forgotten historical figure, his contributions to peace and prosperity in Europe largely overlooked.

In commemoration of this 20th century giant, 18 months ago Don C. Smith, who teaches “European Union Law & Policy” and “European Union Environmental Law & Policy” at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, embarked on an effort to produce a video documentary explaining who Monnet was and what his legacy is.

Mr. Smith’s interviews capture the observations and insight of those who worked with Monnet in the key years of the 1950s as well as individuals who have been influenced by Monnet’s contributions to European integration.

hat tip to Joan Policastri

Book on French Legal Information

Stéphane Cottin, French lawyer and librarian,  has published a new book on legal information in France.

La gestion de la documentation juridque (Management of Legal Information)

Stéphane Cottin and Cédric Manara

L.G.D.F. Lextenso éditions, 2011

The book not only covers how to find legal resources, but also indicates how legal information is produced and disseminated in print and online.

Written for students and legal professionals.

Table of contents available here:

Book preface available here:

Roman Legal Tradition Journal

Roman Legal Tradition

From the journal description:

Roman Legal Tradition is a peer-reviewed journal published online by the Ames Foundation and the University of Glasgow School of Law. ISSN 1943-6483.

The journal aims to promote the study of the civilian tradition in English. The editors welcome contributions on any aspect of the civilian tradition in ancient, medieval, and modern law.

All articles and reviews published in Roman Legal Tradition are available from this site free of charge. In addition, all articles and reviews are also available to subscribers of HeinOnline. We encourage readers to use and distribute these materials as they see fit, but ask readers not to make any commercial use of these materials without seeking the consent of the editors and relevant authors.


2 Television Documentaries on the UK Supreme Court

Britain’s Supreme Court

Description from the Channel 4 /More4 Web site:

This gripping, feature-length documentary charts the first year in the life of Britain’s new Supreme Court – the highest court in the land. With unprecedented access the film meets the judges, lawyers and ordinary people whose cases will have a far-reaching effect on the everyday lives of others across the UK.

For those bringing these high-profile cases to court there is a lot at stake, and the programme reveals their hopes and fears as they and their legal teams come face-to-face with the most powerful judges in the UK.

The judges have allowed proceedings to be filmed and, uniquely, justice is seen unfolding as judges and lawyers – the finest legal minds in the country – debate key contemporary issues. See David and Goliath battles of individuals challenging the state, the outcomes of which help to define the nature of society today.


The Highest Court in the Land: Justice Makers (clips only)


Description from the BBC  Web site:

They are the UK’s most powerful arbiters of justice and now, for the first time, four of the Justices of the Supreme Court talk frankly and openly about the nature of justice and how they make their decisions. The film offers a revealing glimpse of the human characters behind the judgments and explores why the Supreme Court and its members are fundamental to our democracy.

The 11 men and one woman who make up the UK Supreme Court have the last say on the most controversial and difficult cases in the land. What they decide binds every citizen. But are their rulings always fair, do their feelings ever get in the way of their judgments and are they always right?

In the first 14 months of the court they have ruled on MPs’ expenses, which led to David Chaytor’s prosecution, changed the status of pre-nuptial agreements and battled with the government over control orders and the Human Rights Act.

They explain what happens when they cannot agree and there is a divided judgment, and how they avoid letting their personal feelings effect their interpretation of the law. And they face up to the difficult issue of diversity; there is only one woman on the court, and she is the only Justice who went to a non-fee-paying school.


Other BBC shows on justice and legal issue sare available at:

Justice a Citizen’s Guide





EU: Brussels Blogger Study 2010

Waggener Edstrom has published a 16 page report on influential bloggers on European Union affairs. You may request a copy at the following link :

Brussels Blogger Study 2010: The Influence Index

The top 5 blogs:

BBC Gavin Hewitt’s Europe

FT Brussels Blog

The Digger

Fistfulof Euros

Jon Worth/Euroblog

French Bill No.2520 of 2010 on burqas and niqabs

Here is the full-text (in French) of the May 19th, 2010 bill passed by the French National Assembly on July 13th that prohibits covering one’s face in public.

Projet de loi 2520: Interdisant la dissimulation du visage dans l’espace public. 19 mai 2010

Le présent projet de loi interdisant la dissimulation du visage dans l’espace public, délibéré en conseil des ministres après avis du Conseil d’État, sera présenté à l’Assemblée nationale par la ministre d’État, garde des sceaux, ministre de la justice et des libertés, qui sera chargée d’en exposer les motifs et d’en soutenir la discussion.

Article 1er

Nul ne peut, dans l’espace public, porter une tenue destinée à dissimuler son visage.

Article 2

I. – Pour l’application de l’article 1er, l’espace public est constitué des voies publiques ainsi que des lieux ouverts au public ou affectés à un service public.

II. – L’interdiction édictée à l’article 1er ne s’applique pas si la tenue est prescrite par une loi ou un règlement, si elle est autorisée pour protéger l’anonymat de l’intéressé, si elle est justifiée par des raisons médicales ou des motifs professionnels, ou si elle s’inscrit dans le cadre de fêtes ou de manifestations artistiques ou traditionnelles.

Article 3

La méconnaissance de l’interdiction édictée à l’article 1er est punie de l’amende prévue pour les contraventions de la deuxième classe.

L’obligation d’accomplir le stage de citoyenneté mentionné au 8° de l’article 131-16 du code pénal peut être prononcée en même temps ou à la place de la peine d’amende.

Article 4

Au chapitre V (« Des atteintes à la dignité de la personne ») du titre II du livre II du code pénal, il est créé une section 1 ter ainsi rédigée :

« Section 1 ter

« De l’instigation à dissimuler son visage

« Art. 225-4-10. – Le fait, par menace, violence ou contrainte, abus de pouvoir ou abus d’autorité, d’imposer à une personne, en raison de son sexe, de dissimuler son visage est puni d’un an d’emprisonnement et de 15 000 € d’amende.

Article 5

Les dispositions des articles 1er à 3 entrent en vigueur à l’expiration d’un délai de six mois suivant la promulgation de la présente loi.

Article 6

La présente loi s’applique sur l’ensemble du territoire de la République.

Article 7

Le Gouvernement remettra au Parlement un rapport sur l’application de la présente loi dix-huit mois après sa publication. Ce rapport présentera les mesures d’accompagnement mises en œuvre par les pouvoirs publics ainsi que les difficultés rencontrées.

Text of the bill is available online at:

Legislative reports and other legislative history documents available at:

Report on the Long-Term future of the European Union

The European Union recently released the following report:

Project Europe 2030: Challenges and Opportunities. A report to the European Council by the Reflection Group on the Future of the EU 2030.

Report Chapters:









Members of the Reflection Group and authors of the report:

Felipe González Márquez, Chairman

Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, Vice-Chair

Jorma Ollila, Vice-Chair

Lykke Friis (until November 2009)

Rem Koolhaas

Richard Lambert

Mario Monti

Rainer Münz

Kalypso Nicolaïdis

Nicole Notat

Wolfgang Schuster

Lech Wałęsa

JURISTAS – European Court of Human Rights

JURISTAS provides country specific case studies of litigation at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.  Case studies include Austria, Bulgaria, France , Germany, Greece, Romania, and Turkey. The reports detail litigation by subject and  domestic enforcement of ECHR judgments.

The Strasbourg Court, Democracy and the Human Rights of Individuals and Communities: Patterns of Litigation, State Implementation and Domestic Reform (JURISTRAS)