Agreement on the respect of copyright in film contracts signed

14/10/2021

As highlighted by @ContexteNum, on Tuesday 12 October 2021, in the presence of the Secretary of Culture Roselyne Bachelot, an “agreement relating to the standard clauses subordinating the allocation of CNC subsidies in application of Article L. 311-5 of the Code of Cinema and the Animated Image” [1] was signed. Bringing together around the negotiating table the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD), the screenwriters’ [2] and directors’ [3] organisations and the film producers’ unions [4], the professional agreement aims to better protect the economic and moral rights of film authors.

The two go hand in hand: after the conclusion, on 17 September 2021, of a similar collective agreement [5] on contracts concluded with authors of audiovisual works [6], it is now the turn of contracts concluded with authors of cinematographic works to be subject to similar obligations. Signed on 12 October 2021, this agreement is celebrated by the SACD, which considers that it constitutes a “powerful lever to make practices contrary to copyright disappear and to favour more virtuous practices in the cinema sector[7], as well as the Société civile des Auteurs Réalisateurs Producteurs (ARP), which welcomed a “historic agreement” obtained in a fight “essential to copyright[8] ; these praises echo those addressed to the agreement of 17 September 2021, which the SACD said represented a “major step forward for authors and an essential tool to guarantee the effectiveness of their rights by avoiding the development of practices contrary to copyright[9].

It is important to stress that “the allocation of financial aid from the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC) is subject to the inclusion in the contracts concluded with the authors of cinematographic and audiovisual works and audiovisual works submitted in support of an application for aid to include standard clauses ensuring the respect of moral rights.”

The agreement is concluded for the application of the new article L. 311-5 CPI [10], as modified by article 26 of the order of 21 December 2020 [11] transposing the AVMS Directive of 2018 [12], and which the agreement recalls in its preamble; the aim being “to establish the standard clauses whose content must appear, except for derogation, in each contract concluded for the production of a work for which a financial aid to the CNC is requested[13] :

  • Only the insertion of clauses ensuring the respect of moral [14] and economic [15] rights in the contracts concluded with the authors of cinematographic (and audiovisual) works, allows producers to benefit from the CNC financial aid.
  • By way of derogation, if the producer establishes that the contract is concluded with a foreign author domiciled outside French territory and whose law prevents the inclusion of the above-mentioned clauses, the CNC may nevertheless decide to grant him the aforementioned aid.

The agreement is structured around 6 distinct articles: (i) the first deals with the scope of the agreement, (ii) the second with the standard clauses aimed at ensuring the respect of the moral rights recognised to authors, (iii) the third with the standard clauses aimed at ensuring the respect of the principles relating to the determination of the remuneration of authors, (iv) the fourth on the principle of “non-contradiction” which renders ineffective any clause to the contrary included in the contracts, (v) the fifth on the need for the producer to include the standard clauses provided for in articles 2 and 3 of the agreement in order to benefit from CNC aid, (vi) the sixth on the duration and date of entry into force of the agreement: concluded for a period of five years tacitly renewed by periods of one year, it applies to all audiovisual production contracts relating to a film project concluded as from 12 December 2021.

More specifically, Articles 2 and 3 are composed of standard, pre-written clauses.

Article 2 of the agreement refers to Article L. 121-1 and 5 of the IPC and provides that :

  • On the right to respect for the author’s name and status: the producer shall ensure that the author’s name and status appear in particular in the credits of the work as well as on other exploitation and promotion media, when material conditions allow and according to the conditions set out in the contract.
  • On the establishment of the final version of the work: the work is deemed to be completed when its final version has been established:
  • In principle, by mutual agreement between the director and the producer;
  • By way of derogation, with the agreement of other co-authors, in addition to the above-mentioned persons.

The disagreement between the director and the producer, however persistent, does not prevent the need to reach an agreement in order for the work to be deemed completed. 

  • On the right to respect for the work: by reference to articles L. 121-1 and 5 CPI, it is recalled that :
  • The matrix of the final version of the work cannot be destroyed;
  • Any modification of the final version requires the agreement of the director or co-authors;
  • Any transfer of the work to another medium for another mode of exploitation requires the prior consultation of the director.

Article 3 of the agreement refers to Articles L. L. 131-4 and L. 132-25 CPI and states that

  • Except for legal exceptions, the transfer of the author’s rights entails proportional remuneration calculated on the revenue from the sale or exploitation;
  • When the work is determined and individualizable and the public pays to receive communication of it, the producer pays the author a remuneration proportional to this price;
  • In other cases, the remuneration is paid under the conditions provided for in the contract:
  • Either by the producer ;
  • Or by the collective management organization (CMO) of which the author is a member and for the modes of exploitation and territories for which he has entrusted its management;
  • The remuneration must comply with the professional agreements on remuneration of authors which are mandatory by law.

Written by the IP/IT team of UGGC Avocats.

[1] See the agreement in question:

https://www.sacd.fr/sites/default/files/clauses_type_cinema_accord.pdf

[2] Les Scénaristes de cinéma associés (SCA), La Guilde française des scénaristes, La Société civile des auteurs réalisateurs producteurs (ARP), La Fédération des associations des métiers du scénario (FAMS)

[3] Association du cinéma indépendant pour sa diffusion (ACID), La Société des réalisateurs de films (SRF)

[4] The Union of Independent Producers (SPI), The Association of Independent Producers (API), The Union of Animated Film Producers (AnimFrance), The Union of Film Producers (UPC)

[5] See the agreement in question: https://www.sacd.fr/sites/default/files/clauses_types_audiovisuel_accord_09_2021.pdf

[6] SACD, Nouvel accord auteurs / producteurs sur les clauses-types dans les contrats cinéma, 12 October 2021

See: https://www.sacd.fr/nouvel-accord-auteurs-producteurs-sur-les-clauses-types-dans-les-contrats-cinema-0

[7] SACD, New authors / producers agreement on standard clauses in film contracts, 12 October 2021

See: https://www.sacd.fr/nouvel-accord-auteurs-producteurs-sur-les-clauses-types-dans-les-contrats-cinema-0

[8] ARP, Signature of a fundamental and expected agreement reaffirming our sovereignty and the uniqueness of our model, 12 October 2021

See: https://larp.fr/communiques/signature-dun-accord-fondamental-et-attendu-reaffirmant-notre-souverainete-et-la-singularite-de-notre-modele/

[9] SACD, A major advance for audiovisual authors, 17 September 2021

See: https://www.sacd.fr/une-avancee-majeure-pour-les-auteurs-de-laudiovisuel-0

[10] See: https://www.circulaires.gouv.fr/codes/article_lc/LEGIARTI000042726223

[11] Article 26 of Order No. 2020-1642 of 21 December 2020 transposing Directive (EU) 2018/1808 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 amending Directive 2010/13/EU on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services, taking account of changes in the realities of the market, and amending the Act of 30 September 1986 on freedom of communication, the Code of Cinema and the Moving Image, and the time limits relating to the exploitation of cinematographic works.

See: https://www.circulaires.gouv.fr/loda/id/LEGIARTI000042724534/2020-12-24/

[12] Directive (EU) 2018/1808 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 amending Directive 2010/13/EU on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive), taking into account changing market realities.

See: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32018L1808

[13] Agreement referred to above, preamble, in fine.

[14] As provided for in Articles L. 121-1 for the rights to respect for the name, authorship and respect for the work, and L. 121-5 for the special moral rights applicable to audiovisual works.

[15] As provided for in Articles L. 131-4 for issues related to assignments, the scope of the assignment, and methods of remuneration of the assignment for the benefit of the author, and L. 132-25 providing that each mode of exploitation of the work gives rise to a right to remuneration for the author and the cases in which this is proportional.

Transposition of Article 17 of Directive 2019/790: setting an audience threshold (400,000 unique visitors) and uploaded works (variable according to type)

IP-IT-Media
The determination of the platforms falling within the scope of Article 17 of the Copyright Directive, transposed into French national law, has been clarified with the publication in the Official…

The future of television and streaming

IP-IT-Media
French television channels are increasingly switching to streaming to vary their offers, services and content and to stand out from competitors. Given the increasing popularity of streaming in the media,…

The development of the draft "CABLE-SATELLITE" decree

IP-IT-Media
Following the first public consultation on the draft decree on the film and audiovisual contribution of television and radio service publishers distributed by networks not using frequencies assigned by the…