Jean-Luc Godard helps out a stranger, gives 1,000 euros to downtrodden Frenchman arrested for MP3 downloads

Jean-Luc Godard helps out a stranger, gives 1,000 euros to downtrodden Frenchman arrested for MP3 downloads

We reported recently on the Swedish downloader who shared a paltry 6,000 audio files, hopefully scaring you into putting your torrent obsession on hold. As we know, internet piracy happens the world over, and in France James Climent was brought to court for downloading 13,788 MP3s (at the time of his arrest in 2005; now he claims to have more than 30,000). Finally, after years of judicial jousting, he was fined 20,000 euros in 2009.

These things never seem to end, and Climent has been in and out of French news since the court proceedings began in 2007 (for the last year, he has given updates on his blog as he makes plans for an appeal before the European Court of Human Rights). In August, the French paper Libération ran a profile on Climent, detailing his woes, and caught the attention of one Jean-Luc Godard.

That’s right. Jean-Luc Godard, better known as the masterful director who induced you to dabble in ostensibly high-brow cinema with Breathless, Masculin Féminin, and Week End. After reading about Climent in Libé, Godard was so moved by Climent’s tribulations that he offered 1,000 euros to help pay for his legal expenses.

If you are familiar with post-New Wave Godard (not everything ended in 1968), this display of support may not come as a total surprise. Only last year, he declared in an interview (loosely translated, entitled “Artist rights? The artist only has duties”), “Of course, I’m against HADOPI. There is no intellectual property.” (He continues with an interesting quote against inheriting artists’ rights and property: “Je suis contre l’héritage, par exemple. Que les enfants d’un artiste puissent bénéficier des droits de l’œuvre de leurs parents, pourquoi pas jusqu’à leur majorité….”)

Since announcing Godard’s contribution, Climent has also admitted that he has received between 1,000 and 1,200 euros from ATILD and a hefty sum from followers sympathiques via PayPal and Flattr.

Now why didn’t those Johnny Depp movies show this kind of kindness towards pirates?

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