Lescure report: a step forward for creators, music fans and Europe’s cultural mix

As some of our readers may know, in 2012 Pierre Lescure was appointed to lead a well-timed consultation on cultural policy in the digital era by the French government. Yesterday, he presented his findings to the French President, Françoise Hollande and the culture minister Aurélie Filippetti. Sacem, our French author society, has welcomed the report with much interest.

Many of SACEM’s suggestions have been taken into account in the report. The society is pleased that the report demonstrates an underlying concern for the protection of artists’ remuneration. It also applauds the report’s positive attitude towards the cultural industry and its acknowledgment of the close affinity between music and digital sectors.

The report – some key highlights:

Broadening fans’ access to cultural works – especially music

Sacem was pleased with the numerous propositions that aim to make it easier for fans to legally access creative content online. In particular, the society welcomes the report’s proposal to extend the scope of ‘cultural actions’ (initiatives of general interest funded by societies through 25% of private copy levy compensation) to digital projects, demonstrating Mr Lescure’s appreciation of the digital space for promotion and success.

On the other hand, Sacem is disappointed that the report did not tackle the issue of music used in television – and stands ready to push this issue forward in the future.

Promoting up-to-date regulation on digital culture, fighting piracy

Sacem is pleased with the report’s efforts to maintain a proportionate response to piracy – and is interested to note the suggestion to impose a responsibility on Internet intermediaries, who have until now been treated unduly lightly.

Making private copying stronger and more transparent

Sacem is delighted that the concept of private copying is upheld, and that the method for fixing tariffs is described as ‘robust’.

What’s more, the society supports the suggestion to improve transparency in this area, notably regarding the allocation of funding through its cultural actions – and recalls that the website www.monprojetmusique.fr was launched last summer to do just this.

Sacem also notes with interest the proposal to introduce a tax on internet-connected devices (smartphones and tablets) – an interesting way forward.

Adapting online works to taxation regimes – putting an end to the ‘digital exception’

Sacem welcomes the measures that support a European digital online market – a crucial step towards eliminating competitive distortions that penalise creators in the online space.

Support for Collective Rights Management

Finally, Sacem is pleased to note the unequivocal support that the report provides for Collective Rights Management and its vital exclusive assignment principle. As the European Directive on Collective Rights Management reaches its finale in the months to come, this vote of confidence has particular resonance.

Commenting on the report, Mr Jean-Noël Tronc, CEO of Sacem reflected: The report confronts many of the pressing issues facing collective societies across Europe today.  We appreciate Mr Lescure’s endeavours to create a fairer and more open environment for creators and fans alike, by recognizing the importance of collective societies for the remuneration of creators, the efficient delivery of licenses to users, and to ensure transparency and non-discrimination. Of the utmost importance to us was also the fact that in proposal 33, the report strongly underlines that, for collective societies to function properly, the rule of exclusive assignment of rights need to be firmly upheld.”

You can dowload Sacem’s press release (in French) below.

Published on 15 May 2013