French content creators reject new EU rules

French film-makers and content producers are keeping up their fight against the European Union to maintain rights over private copies and ensure that service providers continue to pay levies to subsidize original TV and movie production.

These two separate issues have been simmering for some time, with the latest round of conflict coming this month when groups representing French content creation professionals hit out at proposed changes to EU rules governing creation of "private copies" of audiovisual works.

Twelve organizations: ADAMI, ADAGP, ARP, Copie France, PROCIREP, SACD, Scam, SACEM, SAIDF, SCPP, SPEDIDAM and SPPF, issued a joint statement rejecting proposals to change the way rights holders are remunerated when copies are made within the European Union. One part of the proposed changes sound reasonable enough and in line with the principle of initiatives such as Ultraviolet that seek to allow individuals to play content they have paid for on all their devices.

But, the main issue is the second component of these proposed changes, which the 12 French organizations fear may have been made under pressure from big device manufacturers led by Apple, which would like to see ending of remuneration to rights holders for private copies made over a network in order that they can exploit them online.

The other aspect of the conflict concerns the tax levied on ISPs in France to support original content production. The industry group for content creators Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD) has been criticizing the European Commission for being too slow to examine the new tax proposed to support production, after becoming concerned over its legality. The SACD condemned the delay in approving the changes, which it said allowed ISPs to escape responsibility for contributing to content creation.