rfi

On air
  • RFI English Live
  • RFI French Live

Law Paris France Media New technology Copyright Court case Digital media

Issued on • Modified

Paris paper threatens to sue blogger over Parisienne title, report

media
The Parisienne's masthead (detail)

French tabloid Le Parisien is threatening to sue a blogger for using the title The Parisienne. The daily claims that it has copyrighted the term for a female inhabitant of the French capital for exclusive use by its women’s supplement.


After five years of blogging, “Nathalie”, who also writes in English on Girls’ Guide to Paris, told her public this week that Le Parisien’s legal department has threatened to sue her for 20,000 euros in damages for infringement of copyright.

Like secrets? Find out about the Hidden Paris

It also demands that she change the name and URL of her blog, claiming that it is a breach of the paper’s copyright of the name La Parisienne.

She claims that an attempt to reach a compromise the paper’s legal department ended with them advising her to engage a lawyer and was followed by a formal warning of legal proceedings.

Nathalie says that she has been overwhelmed by messages of support from readers and fellow bloggers surprised to hear that a company claimed to own the word for a Parisian woman.

RFI was unable to reach Le Parisien for a comment on Tuesday afternoon.

The publicity on social media is unlikely to improve Le Parisien’s image.

Last year Pho Holdings Ltd restaurants in Britain were forced to back down from an attempt to persuade a small London restaurant, Mo Pho, to change its name on the grounds that they had copyrighted the use of the name of the Vietnamese soup after outraged charges of bullying on Twitter.

The case also brings to mind Groucho Marx’s claim that Warner Brothers had threatened to sue the Marx brothers over the title of their film A Night in Casablanca because it was similar to the title of the Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman move Casablanca.

He was said to have threatened a countersuit over the use of the word “brothers”.

The story turned out to be a slight exaggeration, boosted by Groucho for humorous and publicity purposes.