The following qualifications fall under the general injunction not to commit false testimony and not to damage the reputation of others, to preserve people's privacy, and they take on a more pronounced meaning with the technologies of the net which can (and is not automatic either) enable large-scale and targeted dissemination of information.
Image rights, in law, have a more restricted technical meaning than the subject of the protection of brand image and reputation. The right to the image of natural persons falls under the theme of the protection of privacy. The owner's right to the image of his property is a separate topic.
As soon as they have a link with France or its nationals, these qualifications are likely to be apprehended by the French courts.
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Defamation, what is it?
According to the law relating to the freedom of the press “Any allegation or imputation of a fact which undermines the honor or the consideration of the person or the body to which the fact is imputed is a defamation. »
The concepts of honor and dignity are restricted with regard to businesses, for which reference is usually made to the notions of denigration and unfair competition. The publication of defamation is punishable by a fine (paid to the State) the amount of which varies according to the seriousness of the attack and the quality of the victim, or even by imprisonment, and may be sanctioned by damages (paid to the victim). Proof of the truth of the defamatory fact, when it is admitted, can possibly serve as an excuse, with good faith.
Insult, what is it?
The same law punishes insult “Any outrageous expression, terms of contempt or invective which does not contain the imputation of any fact is an insult”, the excuse of provocation possibly being accepted.
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Privacy, what is it?
The invasion of privacy (publication of private facts), including the unauthorized use of the image, is also sanctioned on the civil (9 C.Civ.) and criminal (226-1 C.Pén.) levels. – The right to the image, the right to be forgotten, join this theme – Respect for the presumption of innocence too (however subject to the regime of press law (short prescription).
Commercial disparagement, what is it?
It is the practices of denigration in the business world that are concerned here. They are to be distinguished from other numerous topics usually attached to competition law: anti-competitive practices which do not directly damage the reputation of the company or its products or services (restrictive practices, imitation (parasitism), disorganization, abuse positions, agreements, mergers).
Denigration is mainly found in advertising and is sanctioned by the commercial judge with damages.
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To act :
Contact a lawyer to study criminal or civil proceedings, acting quickly to escape the short prescription of three months from the date of posting with regard to the press offence. You can also use the procedures provided for by the LCEN law, by sending withdrawal requests to publishers, authors, search engines and hosts. Recourse to a simple complaint before a police authority is insufficient in principle to stop the prescription in the absence of detailed investigation requisitions. If you call a bailiff, ask him to respect the conditions for drawing up a report specific to the internet. Indeed, bailiff's reports on the internet must meet specific constraints, which, if they are not respected, can found a nullity.