French content creators reject proposed ‘private copy’ rules

Groups representing French content creation professionals have hit out at proposed changes to EU rules governing the creation of ‘private copies’ of audiovisual works.
Twelve organisations – ADAMI, ADAGP, ARP, Copie France, PROCIREP, SACD, Scam, SACEM, SAIDF, SCPP, SPEDIDAM and SPPF – issued a joint communiqué rejecting proposals made by former justice and home affairs commissioner António Vitorino to internal market commissioner Michel Barnier to revamp the way rightsholders are remunerated and reconciling disaparate national levy systems within the Single Market.

The first part of the proposals seeks to enable new business models by clarifying the principle that copies that are made by end-users for private purposes in the context of a service that has been licensed do not cause any harm that would require additional remuneration in the form of levies.

The second part relates to recommendations to improve the functioning of the single market. These would see a shifting of liability to pay levies from manufacturers and importers of equipment to retailers, to place more emphasis on operator levies rather than hardware-based levies, to make these levies visible to consumers and to simplify regulations across member states.

The 12 French organisations that have taken issue with Vitorino’s proposals accuse him of lending his voice to those – including device manufacturers led by Apple – who like to see the disappearance of remuneration to rightsholders for private copies in the interest of seeking to enable the exploitation of works online. They also argue that the transfer of responsibility from importers to retailers would be complex and lead to more fraud, and that Vitorino’s proposals would be disproportionately to the advantage of importers and device manufactures whose sole objective is to raise their margins.