The Rights of Sound Recording and Music Video Producers
THE LAW OF JULY 3, 1985
The law of July 3, 1985 recognizes rights related to producers’ copyrights for sound recordings and music videos which were codified in 1992 in the French Intellectual Property Code. Some of these related rights are exclusive rights to authorize or prohibit. Others, by exception, are subject to a legal license and are merely remuneration rights.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS OF SOUND RECORDING AND MUSIC VIDEO PRODUCERS
The exclusive rights provided by the French Intellectual Property Code(Articles L. 213-1 and L. 215-1) for sound recording and music video producers allow them to authorize or prohibit the following uses and to negotiate, where applicable, the terms of their authorization:
- The reproduction of their sound recordings or music videos.
- Making them available to the public through sale, exchange, or rental.
- Their communication to the public.
Producers can manage their related rights individually or, for certain uses, entrust their management to the SCPP. In the context of the mandates entrusted to it, the SCPP thus proposes users conclude general contracts of common interest in order to facilitate the use of the sound recordings and music videos belonging to the catalogue of its members who are producers. In return for the authorizations given by the SCPP in the context of general contracts of common interest, the latter receives remuneration directly from the users.
This collective management mechanism enables users to use all or part of the SCPP's social catalogue without having to individually request authorization from each producer.
EXCEPTIONS TO EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TO AUTHORIZE
The French Intellectual Property Code provides for two categories of exceptions to the producers’ exclusive rights for which collective management is otherwise mandatory. In this case, users do not have to obtain authorization but must pay a fee.
- Legal Licensing Schemes
Article L. 214-1 of the French Intellectual Property Code stipulates that when a sound recording has been published for commercial purposes, the performer and the producer may not object:
1) To its direct communication in a public place (e.g. a night club or other music venue), as long it is not used in a show.
2) To its simultaneous, full radio broadcast and cable distribution, and to its reproduction strictly reserved for these purposes which is carried out by or on behalf of audiovisual communication companies for adding a soundtrack to their own programs broadcast over their antenna and those of audiovisual communication companies that pay fair remuneration.
In all other cases, it is the producers of said programs’ responsibility to comply with the exclusive rights of the related rights holders provided for in Articles L. 212-3 and L. 213-1.
These uses of sound recordings published for commercial purposes, irrespective of their place of fixation, create an entitlement to remuneration by the performers and producers.
This remuneration shall be paid by those who use the sound recordings published for commercial purposes under the conditions mentioned in points 1), 2), and 3) of this article.
It is based on the operating revenues or, otherwise, assessed on a flat-rate basis in the cases provided for in Article L. 131-4.
It is divided in half between the sound recording performers and producers.
3) To its communication to the public by a radio service within the meaning of Article 2 of Law no. 86-1067 of September 30, 1986 on freedom of communication, excluding radio services whose main program is mainly dedicated to a performer, the same author, the same composer, or comes from the same sound recording.
In all other cases, it is the online public communication services’ responsibility to comply with the exclusive rights of the related rights holders provided for in Articles L. 212-3, L. 213-1, and L. 213-2.
This is true for services that have implemented features that allow a user to influence the content of the program or the sequence of its communication.
This legal licensing scheme means that the authorization is given by law and that, therefore, the producer cannot oppose the uses of their sound recordings that are subject to this scheme.
It can no longer negotiate the remuneration corresponding to this use and said remuneration is designated by the term "Fair Remuneration" and is fixed by an administrative commission.
Fair remuneration is collected by SPRE which pays 50% to sound recording producer societies and 50% to performers' societies.
- Exception for Private Copying
Article L. 211-3 of the French Intellectual Property Code provides an exception to the reproduction right for copies made by an individual for strictly private use.
The remuneration due for private audio copying is collected from the manufacturers and importers of blank media and portable players or living room equipment by SORECOP which distributes it among the beneficiaries in the amount of ¼ for producer companies, ¼ for performing artists and musicians companies, and half for authors' societies.
Moreover, COPIE FRANCE collects the remuneration due for private video copying and distributes it up to one third of each category of beneficiaries (audiovisual producers' companies, performers' and authors' companies).
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