The Producers' rights
The Act of 3rd July 1985 recognises the rights of producers of sound recordings and music videos, codified in the Intellectual Property Code in 1992. Some of these rights are exclusive rights to authorise or forbid, with exceptions subject to a statutory licensing system and merely rights to remuneration.
Exclusive rights of producers of sound recordings and music videos
The exclusive rights specified by the Intellectual Property Code in favour of sound recording producers enable them to authorise or forbid the following uses and to negotiate, where appropriate, the terms of their authorisation:
- reproduction of their sound recordings or their music videos,
- their supply to the public via sale, exchange or rental,
- their communication to the public.
The SCPP has been instructed by producers to administer their rights for certain uses.
Exceptions to the exclusive authorisation rights
The Intellectual Property Code provides for two categories of exceptions to the producer’s exclusive rights (these categories must be administered collectively):
Statutory licensing systems
Article L. 214-1 of the Intellectual Property Code makes the broadcasting of commercial sound recordings, their simultaneous and full transmission by cable and their direct communication in a public place (e.g. discothèques and premises using background music) subject to a statutory licensing system.
The statutory licence means that the authorisation is given by law and consequently the producer cannot oppose the uses of its sound recordings covered by this system. Nor can the producer negotiate the fee corresponding to this use, which is referred to as “fair remuneration” and is set by an administrative committee.
The fair remuneration is received by the SPRE, which allocates 50% to the college of the sound recording producers and 50% to the college of artists/performers.
The private copying exception
Article L. 211-3 of the Intellectual Property Code provides for an exception to the right of reproduction for the copies made by private individuals for strictly personal purposes. This exception is not a consumer right but, rather, is tolerated by the law because producers cannot control copying in a domestic setting.
A committee decision on Article L. 311-5 of the Intellectual Property Code of 30th June 1986 states that a fee must be paid by manufacturers and importers of tapes and discs that can be used for private copying. This financial compensation amounts to FF1.50 per hour for private copying of sound recordings and FF2.25 per recordable hour for private copying of video recordings.
The private sound copying fees are received from manufacturers and importers of blank tapes and discs by the SORECOP, which distributes them between the beneficiaries on the following basis: ¼ for producers, ¼ for artists/performers and half for authors.
The private audiovisual copying fees are collected by another society called COPIE FRANCE, which distributes one third to each category of beneficiaries (producers, artists/performers and authors).
International treaties adopted in December 1996 under the auspices of the WIPO have introduced new provisions made necessary by the development of new technology. In particular, the treaty on related rights has created an exclusive right of supply to the public whereby producers can authorise or forbid interactive communication of their sound recordings to the public.
A draft European directive to transpose the provisions of these treaties into European law is also being discussed.