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Association Croyances et Libertés v. Air-Paris, JCDecaux Publicité  Lumineuse and GIP, Arrêt n° 05-06086, Cour d'appel de Paris, 14e chambre B, 8 avril 2005

Facts: The companies Air-Paris and JCDecaux Publicité Lumineuseconceived for the company GIP, which was selling clothes for women,an advertisement displaying a parody of the "Lord's Supper", withthe brand/ logo "Marithé François Girbaud" (designer of clothes).The poster showed young women wearing the promoted clothes and menhalf naked. The applicant Association Croyances et Libertés broughta claim against the societies which were responsible for thedisplaying of the ad, on the ground that the poster insulted one ofthe most important symbol of the Catholic religion.

Holding: The CAA of Paris held that the poster violated the right for respect of religious beliefs and therefore issued an injunction to stop the displaying of the poster, and condemned the defendant societies to damages towards the plaintiff.

Reasoning: the poster insulted catholic beliefs and faith under articles 29(2) and 33(3) of the Law of July 29, 1881 which expressly prohibited insults against a group of persons adhering to a particular religion. That Law defined "insult" as "any offensive expression", so the representation of a holy scene for the sole commercial purpose fell under that definition. The defendants could not claim as a defense the respect of their right to expression which was overweighed by the right to respect for religious beliefs. An injunction was therefore necessary to stop the displaying of that poster which troubled the religious believes of the Catholic community.

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