French filmmaker loses legal battle against Internet firms

A filmmaker who made one of France's biggest domestic box-office hits, "The Choir," had lost a court battle against several Internet companies that he accused of promoting illegal downloading of movies, an AFP report said.

According to the report, French filmmaker Christophe Barratier had alleged that AOL France, Telecom Italia France, Neuf Telecom,, financial firm Finaref, and the state lottery company La Francaise des Jeux were complicit in the activity by putting illicit download sites on poster ads.

But the Paris court, while recognizing that such sites were illegal, refused to convict the companies, saying Barratier's claims "relied purely on hypotheses."

"No evidence shows their intention to commit the infraction they are accused of," the report, quoting the Paris court, said.

Several of the companies themselves blamed the presence of the offending sites on their posters on advertising management companies, the report said.

Barratier had been seeking a symbolic, rather than financial, court victory to make an "example" of the companies, the report further said.