Culture-acte 2: 80 proposals regarding digital cultural content [fr]
On May 13th, Pierre Lescure presented to the President of the French Republic and the French Minister of Culture and Communication his report on cultural policy in the age of digital content: 80 proposals regarding cinema, music, television, books, video games, the Internet, and the proper usage of these types of media.
- Remise du rapport de M. Pierre LESCURE, consacré à l’acte II de l’exception culturelle
- © Présidence de la République - P. Segrette
Act II of the cultural exception. In August 2012, the government assigned Pierre Lescure, former president and CEO of the Canal+ group, a mission regarding “Act II” of France’s cultural exception policy. The official name of this mission is the Mission de concertatation sur les contenus numériques et la politique culturelle à l’ère du numérique.
The idea of cultural exception, promoted in France since the 1980s, is based on the idea that culture is not like other types of merchandise to be sold. Its economic dimension must obviously be taken into account. However, the role that it plays in the personal development of individuals is too important to let it be completely controlled by the market. It seems necessary for governments to intervene in order to ensure that rich, varied, and accessible cultural content continues to be available to the greatest possible number of people.
“Access must be easy, possible, for everyone. However, it is unnatural for something to be completely free, said Pierre Lescure just days before he submitted his report. In an article published in the Républicain Lorrain, a notable regional French newspaper, he added that France must continue to preserve the principles behind the creation of culture in all its forms, as well as the principle of balance between use and the means of creation.
Taking into account the relationship between creators, cultural industries, and Web users, the mission’s projects dealt with all of the artistic sectors affected by digital innovation: books, music, cinema, audiovisual content, the press, photography…
The “Act II” project, officially launched by Minister Aurélie Filippetti on September 25th, 2012, has led roughly one hundred hearings to date.
The three objectives of the project:
In order to protect creators of cultural content, the project must produce conclusions as to how to work with our European partners to effectively fight illegal practices while taking certain expectations and social practices into account.
The regulation of cash flows associated with artistic creation also involves the definition of mechanisms that will guarantee better balance and will prevent the progressive concentration of value for the most powerful parties involved in the cultural content market.
The recognition of public expectations and the intention to offer digital access to the greatest possible number of people were meant to lead to proposals regarding financing for digitization, adapting the supply to suit the demand, mechanisms for financing creation of content, and methods of managing certain rights.
The major guidelines behind the Lescure report:
A. PUBLIC ACCESS TO CULTURAL CONTENT ONLINE
1. Further improve the availability of cultural content
2. Promote the development of a network of innovative digital culture services capable of promoting cultural diversity
3. Provide the public with an accessible and functional supply of cultural content that will also respect their rights.
B. REMUNERATION FOR CONTENT CREATORS AND FINANCING FOR ARTISTIC CREATION
1. Guarantee remuneration for content creators based on digital use of their content
2. Improve the contribution of digital stakeholders to the financing of artistic creation
3. Support new creative forms and new means of financing
C. PROTECTION AND ADAPTATION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAWS
1. Re-establish priorities for antipiracy efforts in order to target lucrative counterfeiting and to scale back the graduated response system
2. Adapt intellectual property law to cover digital use
3. Facilitate access to metadata
Among the Lescure report’s proposals as to how to finance the digital transition of cultural industries was notably the imposition of a tax on smartphones and tablets (up to, for example, 1%). It does not, however, support the creation of a “Google tax” (right to remuneration based on Web links to content), as sought by publishers in the press and music industries. The legal feasibility of such a tax seems “doubtful”.
Ongoing use of the graduated response strategy is a suitable means of fighting digital piracy, but certain reductions to the system are also being explored. The mission proposes to do away with the punitive cancelling of Internet subscriptions and to significantly reduce the value of fines by bringing them to a “flat sum of 60 Euros, potentially subject to increase in the event of recurrences”, as opposed to the current maximum of 1500 Euros. The mission also proposes to do away with Hadopi (Haute autorité de diffusion des oeuvres et de la protection des droits sur Internet) as an independent administrative entity and to delegate the fight against illegal downloading to the CSA (Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel), which will become the new regulatory body for the supply of cultural content.
To support the legal availability of content and to discourage piracy, video-on-demand should become available more quickly when films are released in theatres.