My French is very rusty, and there doesn't seem to be any coverage of this story yet in English-language news… but apparently, the great French-Swiss film director Jean-Luc Godard (above) donated a thousand euros toward the legal defense costs of James Climent (inset), a 37-year-old French citizen accused of downloading 13,788 MP3s.
From what I can make out, Climent was fined 20,000 euros by SACEM and SDRM following lengthy court proceedings.
Mr. Godard read a profile of Climent's BitTorrent troubles in Liberation, and decided to help him out. When first contacted by the nouvelle vague godfather, Climent thought he was being hoaxed. Suspicion turned to elation when he realized one of his heroes was reaching out to assist. Climent has since published an account on his blog: "God(ard) bless us." (English, sort of / French).
This cartoon about the whole affair is awfully funny if you are familiar with French cinema, and understand the language.
Godard is often credited with having once said, "It's not where you take things from—it's where you take them to."
Here's a Google robotranslation of the Godard/Climent story.
Update: Boing Boing reader Paul R. offers this translation of an important Godard quote in the linked news story (emphasis mine):
I am against Hadopi [the French internet-copyright law, or its attendant agency], of course. There is no such thing as intellectual property. I'm against the inheritance [of works], for example. An artist's children could benefit from the copyright of their parents' works, say, until they reach the age of majority… But afterward, it's not clear to me why Ravel's children should get any income from Bolero…
(thanks, Guillaume Remy, via BB Submitterator)