French court says Netflix shark hit can keep streaming in copycat row

Berenice Bejo strives to 'save Paris from an international bloodbath' in the Netflix hit (LOIC VENANCE)
Berenice Bejo strives to 'save Paris from an international bloodbath' in the Netflix hit (LOIC VENANCE)

A French court Wednesday ruled that a shark horror film titled "Under Paris" could continue to stream on Netflix despite a copyright case against it.

The Paris court threw out an emergency request from a film director who alleges copying to ban the streaming of the film because it was directed at the platform's French subsidiary, and not its international branch.

The court said Netflix France was not the "operator, publisher or host" of the streaming platform, according to its ruling seen by AFP.

But it did not rule on accusations that the watery nail-biter about a killer shark, set during the coming Olympic Games, largely copied the script for another unmade film about a giant catfish.

In a separate legal procedure, filmmaker Vincent Dietschy is also suing the producers of "Under Paris".

He claims the film, which has notched up more than 84 million views on Netflix since early June, unfairly borrows from his 2011 project "Silure", named after a type of catfish.

He and co-screenwriter Emily Barnett say their project included "the same story, the same characters and several identical scenes" as the shark thriller.

Netflix has argued that the similarities were questionable and that nothing proved a third party had gained access to Dietschy's project, which was never made.

"Under Paris" is directed by Xavier Gens and stars French actor Berenice Bejo, known for 2011 Oscar winner "The Artist", as a marine biologist.

"In order to save Paris from an international bloodbath, a grieving scientist is forced to face her tragic past when a giant shark appears in the Seine," according to the synopsis.

It is the fourth most watched non-English film on Netflix, and has been in the Top 10 for four weeks.

"Silure" was set to follow a Paris woman police officer and diver who has to tackle a giant aggressive catfish.