August 1, 2021

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Audiovisual: 5 things to know about the anti-piracy bill

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The bill on audiovisual reform could not be adopted due to the health crisis. With the “bill relating to the regulation and protection of access to cultural works in the digital age”, readily called the bill against audiovisual piracy, the government intends to put the work back on the job.

The objective of the text, which arrives at first reading in the National Assembly on Tuesday, is to fight against illegal streaming sites, to strengthen audiovisual control or to preserve access to French works to the public. While the Senate amended the text, the deputies worked in committee to restore the initial version.

1. The creation of a Communication and Digital Regulatory Authority (ARCOM)

The flagship measure of the bill is the merger of the High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI) and the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) within a single body, the Communication and digital regulatory authority (ARCOM). This new regulator will have more powers.

ARCOM will have a regulatory mission, the conclusion of agreements to remedy infringements of copyright and neighboring rights and the evaluation of these agreements. ARCOM agents will also have investigative powers, particularly online.

2. A “blacklist” of infringing sites

ARCOM may also place sites that infringe copyright on a “blacklist”. When a site is registered on this list, all of its business partners, including advertisers, must come forward. The list will also be a support for the rights holders who take legal action against these sites. Removal from the list can only be done after a request justifying compliance with the law.

3. Means of combating “mirror sites”

In the hunt against illegal streaming sites, it happens that the content of prohibited platforms is completely or partially repatriated to another site, called a “mirror site”. The new law intends to allow ARCOM to prohibit access and referencing of these “mirror sites” from the moment when the courts have prohibited access to the source platform. Justice may also be seized by the beneficiaries for the application of such measures.

4. An accelerated procedure against sports streaming

With regard to the illegal retransmission of sports events or competitions which are the subject of an exclusive broadcasting right, the professional sports league or the media concerned may refer the matter to the president of the judicial tribunal of Paris. The latter will then be able to do everything to block access to the illegal streaming site.

5) A guarantee of public access to French works

Last flagship provision of the bill, it is expected that a catalog of French cinematographic and audiovisual works sold to a foreign company must remain accessible to the French public. Such transfers will now have to be notified to the Ministry of Culture, which will thus be able to ensure compliance with these provisions by the purchaser.

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