The international medium of film poses many challenges for authors and copyright owners. So do the practices of the advertising industry. Each jurisdiction approaches these challenges differently. In a recent French decision three issues that are of interest in Australia were discussed – the copyright status of a literary or dramatic character, the use of such a persona in character merchandising, and the moral right of film directors to control the exploitation of the persona. This article examines the 2004 decision of the Paris Court of Appeal in the matter of the film “The Fifth Element”. It compares the protection offered to author and copyright owner under French law with the protection offered by Australian legislation and common law.