This synthesis has no legal value. It is for information only, and is based on the Intellectual Property Code.
“Any legal representation, integral or partial reproduction done without the author or his/her beneficiaries’ consent is illegal ”
Art. L 122-4 of IPC.
Before using an audio CD for the soundtrack of a videogram or CD-ROM, it is necessary :
To obtain the authorisation from the author(s) of the chosen piece, but also from the producer of the chosen audio CD.
To pay copyrights to the entitled beneficiaries.
How to obtain the right to use music for Passeurs d’images’ workshop films ?
Musical pieces used in workshop films can be classified into three categories, each with different procedures.
Also commonly called “musicometer”, about 30 companies offer phonograms (sound recordings) usually recorded for film soundtracks.
Depending on a fixed rate, you can use a certain number of excerpts or works whose rights have been previously negotiated by the company holding them. Henceforth, the authorisation to use these recordings is automatic (the list of musical accompaniment productions can be found here : Sacem.
The SDRM (Society for the administration of mechanical reproduction rights) delivers the reproduction authorisation, refunded as royalties. It is given a mandate to manage all mechanical reproduction rights corresponding to the catalogue of these companies : Sacem, SACD, SCAM...
These are musical pieces with or with no lyrics recorded for a film (art. L. 113-7 of IPC).
This order is subject to an agreement between the composer and the producer and generates reproduction and representation rights,
The producer does not have to contact the SDRM.
However, in the case of video support, it is advised to have the work registered at the Sacem, at the Office for Audio-visual Works of the DDGR (Department for General Documentation and Distribution).
Passeurs d’images workshop films using music from a general catalogue can be considered as « corporate audio-visuals.” A corporate audio-visual is a videogram, which presents or promotes any enterprise or public/private organization, its products or productions, and helps train its staff. It is meant to be broadcast within its premises or during professional events. This category offers, beyond reproduction rights, the right to proceed to a limited number of copies and to pay off its rights, under certain conditions.
Music from the General Catalogue
These are musical pieces administered by the SACEM, other than « Commissioned Music » and Accompaniment Music.
- The things to do :
- Before producing a corporate film, the producer must contact the DDR (Department of Reproduction Rights), in order to obtain Authorization Requests Forms called “Corporate Films”.
The signatory of the Authorisation request can be :
- A company, a public organism (administration, local authority), or private (association...), which produces the audio-visual matrix and is in charge of the duplication of the copies ;
- An audio-visual-specialised company called « Production Society », commissioned to direct the videogram of a company or a private or public organism.
- The producer of the corporate film fills out the authorisation request, specifying :
- The number of copies he/she wishes to make or have made.
- The exact titles of the piece he plans to use, along with the names of the authors, composers and publishers.
- The timing of each track.
- The authorisation request must be sent to the DDR (Audio-visual Bureau) or to one of the regional delegations of the SACEM-SDRM.
The SDRM analyses the tracks appearing on the authorisation request, and checks for which it owns royalties.
In the case of tracks from the SCAM’s or SACD’s catalogue, the SDRM only delivers the authorisation after consulting these societies of authors.
Concerning musical pieces taken from the SACEM’s “General Catalogue”, if one or more tracks from this category appear on the authorization request, the DDR informs the producer and gives him/her the names and address of the beneficiaries (usually the music editor) so that they can give the producer to right to use the music. As soon as this authorisation is received, the producer gives a copy to the DDR who can then deliver the authorisation to reproduce and to broadcast the work(s) in question.
Note : this procedure can prove lengthy (more than 6 months) and expensive.
- The DDR gives the producer an estimate based on the price, determined according to the catalogue and the length of all used works, and to the number of copies produced.
- Upon receiving this estimate, the producer pays.
- He then receives a duplicate of the authorisation request with the mention « valid for authorisation » and a paid off debit note (used as an invoice). He can then proceed to the production of the audio-visual matrix and to the duplication of all requested copies.
For each reprint, the producer will have to give the DDR a new authorisation request, specifying the number of the previous authorisation.
- The authorisation delivered by the SDRM for corporate audio-visuals does not apply to :
- audio-visuals aimed for sale or privately rent ;
- the broadcast of these corporate audio-visuals when they generate revenues (advertising receipts, sale of access credentials...) or when they are done with other musical auditions (cinemas, balls, concerts...).
Any unexpected use of this authorisation must be subject to a specific request to the appropriate society of authors.
NB : What are the author’s moral rights ?
The right of first disclosure enables the author to be the only authorised person to publicize his/her work. Only the author can decide how it can be disclosed and establish the conditions. The right to authorship enables the author to have his/her name and position printed on the created work. The right of respect of the work aims at protecting the work from being denatured, modified or simply taken out of context. The right of withdrawal or repent enables authors to annihilate their note of assignment of copyrights. As for moral rights, the author is the composer, the lyric writer and the producer of the phonogram.
Copyrights royalties :
Regarding corporate audio-visual films used to inform, to train or to promote (the original film and the first 50 copies) :
SACEM catalogue : flat-rate of 0,9147 euro per second, excl. tax.
Increase after 50 copies :
10 % 51 à 100 ex.
25 % 101 à 500 ex.
50 % 501 à 1 000 ex.
100 % 1 001 à 2 000 ex.
200 % beyond 2 000 ex.
The presented prices do not include the VAT (5,50 %) and the authors’ Social Security (1 %). In order to know the amount of the royalty with V.A.T included, multiply the duty-free royalty by 1,065.
The authorization request as representation right.
It gives the possibility to the company or organism to broadcast or screen, for free, the audio-visual corporate film in France, in French overseas departments, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, in Monaco :
within professional premises, or as part of exhibitions, professional fairs, congresses, festivals, business conventions,
during free projections, for information, training or promotion only.
Are excluded from the present authorisation, notably, any projection of the audio-visual corporate film :
creating revenues, advertising revenues, access titles...
done together with other musical auditions (films, balls, concerts, variety shows).
N.B. : What is a related right ?
The law of 1985 has created a protection to the benefit of :
interprets/artists (for a song, the interpreter, the main actors of a film… ) ;
producers of a phonogram and a videogram (CDs, films, video …) ;
communication companies (television and radio channels...).
Thus, for instance, producers can :
authorize or forbid the reproduction of the material they have produced (whose manufacture they have financed) ;
ask for a payment in exchange of their authorization.
The law stipulates that related rights are not prejudicial to copyrights, they juxtapose.
Legal principles for exploitation rights
“The exploitation right owned by the author includes representation and reproduction rights” Art. L.122-1 of the Code for Intellectual Property (CPI).
Reproduction consists in materially fixing the work in any process that makes it indirectly visible to the audience.
Representation consists in communicating the work to the public via any process.
One must discharge his/her rights before any exploitation of a work protected by copyrights, no matter its support (image, sound, video…).
This also applies to adaptation or transformation, arranging or reproduction through art or any process. Any modification of the work can infringe the artist’s moral right.
Exceptions to the necessity to obtain an authorization
The law provides the necessity to obtain an authorization to reproduce or represent a work in the following cases (Art. L.122-5 of the IPC).
Exception for private and free representation
Representations done exclusively in a family circle.
“The notion of family circle must be understood restrictively and concerns the relatives or very close friends, who are unusually linked by family or intimate bounds. The projection must take place at home”. Ruling given by the 31st Correctional Chamber of Paris dated February 24th and 28th 1984.
Exception for private copy
Reproduction strictly reserved to the copyist’s private usage and not designed for collective use.
Exception for quotation, subject to the clear statement of the author’s name and the source, notably
Analyses and short quotations justified by the critical, polemic, educational, scientific and informative nature of the work to which they are incorporated. A musical quotation must be limited to two or three bars.
The broadcast, either press or television broadcasting, as news, speeches delivered during political, judicial or academic assemblies, and at public political meetings and official ceremonies.
Parody, pastiche and caricature, considering the laws applying to the genre.
Copyright free works
Original intellectual works : case decisions, parliamentary works, official reports, rulings …
Ideas : what is not expressed cannot be protected.
Raw data : not the product of a creative activity.
Length of the works’ protections
Moral rights : This right is perpetual, inalienable and imprescriptible. It is heritable in case of the author’s decease, to the beneficiaries. Art. L. 123-1 of the IPC
Property rights : the author enjoys, for a lifetime, the exclusive rights to exploit his/her work in any form. This right prevails to the benefit of the beneficiaries for sixty years after the author’s death.
A work in the public domain remains under the influence of the author’s moral right, claimed by his/her legatees.
As related rights, interprets and the producer of a phonogram also enjoy the exclusive right to authorize or not their work or an excerpt. Art. L.212-3 and L.213-1 of the IPC.
Collective management of exploitation rights
• Main companies managing related rights
ADAMI (Society for the administration of the rights of artists and musicians-interpreters)
SCPP (Civil society for the exercise of the phonographic producers’ rights)
SPEDIDAM (Society of collection and the distribution of rights of artists-musicians-dancers)
SPPF (Society of phonogram producers in France)
• Societies of Authors
Due to the complexity and the scope of communication networks, an isolated author is often unable to control the way his/her work is used, or simply to negotiate a satisfactory remuneration, because of the influence of some users. Graphic designers, composers, scriptwriters, directors… transfer their rights to specific organisms often called “Societies of Authors”. The role of these organisms differs according to the repertoires that they represent and the nature of the concerned work, but usually contracts and negotiations are done through them, as well as the collection and the management of exploitation rights.
Among the most important ones :
SACEM (Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers)
For musical works with or with no lyrics, exclusively musical documentaries, film dubbing and subtitling, music videos...
SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers)
For dramatic, choreographic and fictional works designed for films, television or radio, but also for works broadcast via new media : 2D/3D images – interactive games – multimedia – virtual reality...
SCAM (Civil Society of Multimedia Authors)
For literary creations, documentary works (portraits, in-depth reports, magazines…), creation videos, corporate films, and audio-visual creations done with computer-generated images...
ADAGP (Society of Authors in Graphic and Fine Arts)
For works done by sculptors, painters, photographers, new technologies creators (like computer-generated images)...
SDRM (Society for the Administration of Mechanical Reproduction Rights)
It is given a mandate to manage any mechanical reproduction right belonging to the societies of authors’ catalogues : SACEM, SACD, SCAM,...
Independently from these management organisms, the Authors and Composers French Syndicate (SNAC) receives the deposit of works coming from music composers who are not yet members of the SACEM, which will help them prove the anteriority of their work in court, in case of conflict.
A few addresses
Intellectual Property Code
Pages about Copyrights (in French)
www.culture.gouv.fr > Rubriques Culture > Infos pratiques
Laws and Management Organisms of the Ministry (In French)