French Publishers Join Sister Cultural Leaders on EU Copyright and Piracy

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Calling for an end to the ‘digital wild west,’ France’s publishers are among 54 cultural groups messaging Digital Services Act negotiators in Brussels today.

At Paris’ Musée d’Orsay on January 1, ‘the six continents,’ South America, Asia, Oceania Europe, North America, and Africa. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Marina

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘The Stakes Are Too High’
France’s publishers—the Syndicat national de l’édition (SNE)—today (February 10) has issued a forceful communiqué in concert with 53 sister organizations from the cultural and creative industries, demanding that negotiators to the European Parliament’s trialogue on the Digital Services Act heed threats to copyright protection and to the battle against content piracy online.

Publishing Perspectives readers will remember that members of the European Parliament on January 20 voted strongly in favor of the Digital Services Act’s regulatory framework, essentially the next step in the European Union’s efforts to limit the scale and scope of the major tech companies, especially at a time when platformed misinformation and disinformation have become rampant in public life and discourse.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act are moving through Europe’s legislative development procedures. The “trialogue” stage brings together representatives of the European Commission, the council, and the parliament—three entities—to develop provisional agreement on a text wrought from legislative proposals.

The French publishers’ association is one of a total 54 of the nation’s creative and cultural leadership agencies issuing a joint statement. Wisely, they’re leveraging their statement on the fact that France has just begun its six-month stint in the European Council presidency.

Among the most significant developments instigated under Emmanuel Macron’s leadership is the One Ocean Summit opened Wednesday (February 9) to run through Friday in the seaport of Brest. During the summit, delegates will explore a concept of—as Paris has described it—a Europe that reaffirms its vital role as a counterweight in the international governance of the ocean and plays its full part in bringing about international mobilization for the ocean in 2022.”

And on land, while trialogue goes forward in parallel on the Digital Services Act, France’s cultural and creative industries have messaged negotiators in Brussels with a statement titled, “Europe in the Hands of Digital Giants.”

“We, actors of all the cultural and creative industries in France,” the text being read by negotiators says, “cannot watch in silence the questioning of the achievements obtained for 20 years in terms of the protection of our rights on the Internet in the midst of the French Presidency of the European Union.

“The Digital Services Act aims to strengthen the responsibility and duty of care of all digital services; that is to say, to regulate online content and protect citizens against illegal content.

French Presidency European Council logo lined ftw

“The intentions are there. And for the moment, the acts say the opposite.

“When the European Parliament and the council vote to soften the responsibility of major digital players and weaken the ability of rights holders to appeal against their pirated content, how are we to understand this?

“France, a spearhead in the protection of our works and our content against the giants of the Internet, must seize, with the other member-states, this opportunity to put an end to the ‘digital wild west.’

“The stakes are too high to advance at a forced march on the grounds of cross-functional regulation or a constrained schedule. Legislation on digital services must remain of general interest, without weakening the implementation of copyright–the only guarantee of freedom of expression and cultural diversity.

“This is why we solemnly ask our government, our elected representatives, our representatives in the European authorities, to create the conditions for a start during the trialogue in order to restore consistency between the spirit and the letter of the Digital Services Act, and in particular: to fight better against illegal offers and content, including beyond market places alone, and to avoid the weakening or even calling into question of European and national achievements in respect of intellectual property rights.

“This must be the ambition of the French presidency of the European Union.

“Our sectors already have a long history on the Internet: it must remain a force for the benefit of all.”

The Joint Statement’s 54 Signatories

Image: SNE

France’s association of publishers has more than 720 publisher-members and is one of these 54 cultural and creative organizations issuing their statement to the European Parliament’s trialogue negotiators:

  • ACID Association of Independent Cinema for its Distribution
  • ADAGP Society of Authors in the Graphic and Plastic Arts
  • ADAMI Civil Society for the Administration of the Rights of Performing Artists and Musicians
  • AGrAF Group Authors of French Animation
  • AnimFrance Syndicate of Independent Audiovisual and Cinematographic Animation Production
  • API Association of Independent Producers
  • ARP Civil Society of Authors, Directors and Producers
  • BLIC Film Industry Liaison Office
  • BLOC Film Organizations Liaison Office
  • CEMF Union Chamber of Music Publishers of France
  • CFC French Center for the Exploitation of Copy Rights
  • CISA Inter-union Audiovisual Coordination
  • CSDEM Union Chamber of Music Publishing
  • DIRE United European Independent Distributors
  • EUROCINEMA Association of Producers, Cinema and Television
  • F3C-CFDT Federation Council, Communication, Culture – CFDT
  • FASAP-FO Federation of Arts, Entertainment, Audiovisual and Press – FO
  • FNSAC-CGT National Federation of Performing Arts, Audiovisual and Cultural Action Unions – CGT
  • GFS The French Guild of Screenwriters
  • GNCR National Group of Research Cinemas
  • PROCIREP Society of Film and Television Producers
  • SACD Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers
  • SACEM Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music
  • SATEV Syndicate of Audiovisual Press Agencies
  • SCA Associated Cinema Screenwriters
  • SCAM Civil Society of Multimedia Authors
  • SCPP Civil Society of Phonographic Producers
  • SDI Union of Independent Distributors
  • SDLC Union of Distributors of Cultural Leisure
  • SEAM Society of Publishers and Authors of Music
  • SEDPA Syndicate of Audiovisual Program Distributors
  • SFAAL French Union of Artistic and Literary Agents
  • SFA-CGT French Union of Performing Artists
  • SGDL Society of Literary People
  • SLF Syndicate of the French Bookstore
  • SMA Syndicate of Current Music
  • SNAC National Union of Authors and Composers
  • SNAM-CGT National Union of Unions of Musician Artists of France
  • SNE National Publishing Union
  • SNEP National Syndicate of Phonographic Publishing
  • SOFIA French Society for the Interests of Written Authors
  • SPECT Syndicate of Producers and Creators of Audiovisual Programs
  • SPI Syndicate of Independent Producers
  • SPIAC-CGT Syndicate of Audiovisual and Cinema Industry Professionals
  • SPPF Civil Society of Phonogram Producers in France
  • SRF Society of Film Directors
  • U2R Union of Directors
  • UCMF Union of Film Music Composers
  • ULM Union of Music Libraries
  • UNAC National Union of Authors and Composers
  • UNIFAB Union of Manufacturers
  • UPC Union of Cinema Producers
  • UPFI Union of Independent French Phonographic Producers
  • USPA Union of Audiovisual Production

More from Publishing Perspectives on copyright is here, more on issues in book piracy is here, more on Europe and its publishing industries is here, more on the European Union is here, more on digital publishing is here, more on France is here, and more on the Syndicat national de l’édition is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.