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Canal+ strikes deal with collecting society after long dispute

Vivendi-owned pay TV operator Canal+ has struck an agreement with rights collecting agency SACEM, which music rightsholders in France, concerning the payment of rights for works used on its channels and services.

Canal+ said that it had agreed to pay SACEM all the fees due for 2017, while SACEM had agreed to end its legal moves to enforce payment. The pair have struck a new deal for a two-year minimum period that will take effect in January.

Jean-Noël Tronc

Jean-Noël Tronc

Jean-Noël Tronc, chief executive of SACEM, said that his organization had defended the rights of its members without making any concession and that the agreement showed the power of collective action to protect the rights of creative. He said that SACEM hoped that Canal+’s strategic repositioning would enable it to succeed to the profit of all involved in the content creation ecosystem.

Canal+ president Jean-Christophe Thiery said that he was delighted that the new deal took account of Canal+’s new offerings and of the place of sport in its packages and channels.

He said that the deal reaffirmed Canal+’s commitment to finance content creation and its support of authors.

Canal+ has been in dispute with France’s four main rights collecting societies – SACD, SACEM, SCAM and ADAGP – for several months, with the four groups taking legal action to enforce payment of fees they said were due to their members.

In July, SACEM maintained that it had not received any payments since the end of last year. At the same time, SACD said that Canal+ had not responded to its requests to discuss the matter, even though representatives of the pay TV operator were indicating through the press that they had tried to engage in dialogue with the societies since September 2016.

Canal+ reportedly contacted the rights collecting societies at the end of 2016 to demand significant reductions in the amounts due.