A fake Netflix France account on Twitter: infringement or parody?
Cybersquatting on social networks, which consists in the creation of a fake account, has been spreading for several years. Most often, the perpetrators of these misdeeds do not just reserve the name of the account. They work hard to confuse users. In order to reduce the popularity of impostor accounts, some social media platforms have installed a procedure for recognizing official accounts. This is particularly the case with Twitter.
Legally, in the event that such confusion was intentionally sought, intellectual property infringement would be retained. On the other hand, the defendant, presumed impostor, could escape any conviction for intellectual property infringement by asserting a fundamental right or freedom capable of competing with the force of the intellectual property right. For example, the right to parody, which falls under the freedom of expression, could substantially weigh in the balance, provided that a form of humor is effectively identifiable.
Netflix France appears to be the victim of intellectual property infringement on Twitter, unless it is said to be just a parody account. An account was created under the name @Netflix_FRa “Netflix France”, which imitates that of the official account @Netflix_FR “Netflix France”, reproduces the logo of Netflix wearing a Christmas cap as well as the banner of Netflix promoting a series called “Witcher”. Furthermore, the unofficial account displays a symbol instead of the sign symbolizing the official character of the account. The only notable difference is the addition of the word “parody” in parentheses. In this regard, it should be recalled that, under French and European law, intellectual property infringement is assessed in terms of resemblances and not differences. Let us add that the good faith or the bad faith of the infringer is not taken into consideration.
As for the alleged parody, there is no guarantee that creating a fake calendar visually similar to that of Netflix is enough to qualify the account as “parody.” In any event, the said calendar has attracted numerous comments from Internet users who have admitted that they had granted it credit, which could point to a risk of confusion.
Source . Numerama
Editor’s note: the @Netflix_FRa account has been suspended while this article was being written.