A country every week: France

The French government has a history of being involved in protecting it’s musicians at home. In 1922, the Syndicat National de l’Edition Phonographique was established to collect royalties due to artists and to protect them from copyright infringement. Much like ASCAP and BMI work, SNEP attempts to provide musicians with what is owed to them.

Recently, the SNEP has taken a front seat in attempting to revive the supposedly dying music industry. With the artist’s views alway in mind, the SNEP has passed some laws that actually make it more difficult for others in the music business, as well as on the outskirts, to get by.

The first step towards protection of French music was the enacting of a bill in 1994 to require radio stations to air at least 40% of their music programming in French. This was prompted by a large influx of English language music, with the perception that no one would record in French anymore. Radio stations found a way around this by playing only older artists and songs that were proven hits. The SNEP revised the bill later on stating that at least 20% of the French programming had to be up and coming artists. This proves difficult in the age of globalization where artists, in order to be more universally appealing, sing mostly in English. Radio stations are attempting to appeal the bill so they can have more freedom to promote French artists who sing in English.

In 2009, SNEP introduced the HADOPI law (Haute Autorite pour la diffusion de oeuvres et la protection des droits sur internet). This law was enacted in order to reduce piracy and the use of unregistered sites to stream and download content. It required a committee to monitor the usage of unregistered sites and attempt to punish users who were accessing these sites. The first warning was a cease and desist email from the committee. If downloading continued, the committee sent a written warning by mail. If the user still ignored the warnings, the ISP was required to stop internet services to the user and the committee could sentence the user to high fines and even jail time. In early 2013 the law was repealed. It was costing the government too much to police the internet and the benefits had not yet been realized.

This was an important step forward however, because the use of unregistered sites has dropped dramatically as well as illegal downloading activity. The record labels are realizing that the money they are losing in sales is pretty much even with the rise in payment for streaming. It’s promising to see that the money is ending up back in the industry, even if it is not going to the record labels.

In an increasingly globalized world, the French are attempting to save their own culture. It’s proving a difficult task but the artists in France are appreciative. It is necessary to preserve ones culture because there is a fear that at some point, it will no longer exist. The French government is making it easy to put money back into the country and the resources and culture that exist there.

The number one song this week in France.

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