Canal Plus has lost its appeal against a $1.5m (FFr10m) fine imposed by the highest French court for unfair competition practices against rival Television Par Satellite (TPS) with regard to pay-per-view rights.

The judgement followed a complaint filed by TPS last year that Canal Plus was preventing French film producers from selling pay-per-view rights to titles it backs to any other broadcaster.

Canal Plus wields power as the French film sector's main financier - in 1999 it invested $135.8m (FFr926m) in 140 French or French co-produced titles - whereas TPS invested only $15.3m (FFr104m) in 19 titles.

The PPV issue - which has sparked a heated controversy within the French film industry - has so far delayed TPS from signing an agreement with French producers' associations BLIC, BLOC and ARP which would set out guidelines for its level of investment in domestic productions, as well as its access to the films it backs.

Canal Plus has already signed such a deal with the same organisations - although it does not iron out the PPV problems - and negotiations between TPS and French producers are likely to resume shortly.