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29 October 2014Copyright

France ponders copyright shakeup

The French government is considering altering its copyright law to bring it in line with EU legislation.

If implemented, the bill would increase the term of copyright protection for right holders and make changes to how they manage their work.

The bill, Provisions Amending the law of the European Union in the Fields of Literary and Artistic Property and Cultural Heritage, was presented by Fleur Pellerin, minister of culture and communication, last week.

Under the plans, protection for performers and producers of sound recordings and producers of videos would extend from 50 years to 70.

According to the ministry, due to an “increase in life expectancy” the rights of performers now expire during their lifetime and at a time when they are still creating material.

“The directive also improves the business model of producers so that they have the necessary resources and support for new talent,” the ministry said in a statement.

The proposal would also change the law to give performers, or associated right holders, the option to terminate the authorisation they give to producers to put a performance on a recording after the first 50 years of the 70-year term of protection.

Libraries may also be able to digitise and make works in their collections accessible to users where the right holders cannot be identified or located, despite a diligent search. These are known as orphan works.

The amendments bring France’s law in line with two EU directives: Directive 2011/77/EU on the term of protection of copyright and Directive 2012/28/EU on certain permitted uses of orphan works.

The government has proposed an accelerated procedure, calling for the text to be examined on November 12.

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