French Producers Call For Increased Private Copying Tax

French producers' collecting societies SPPF and SCPP (which includes the four majors) unveiled contrasted figures for 2008, both subject to later fine-tuning.

SCPP income was down 4.8% to €58.3 million ($76.5 million). According to SCPP, the drop is largely accounted for by a 10% fall on income from music videos from television.

SCPP's income from TV declined partly because of stronger performance by independent labels' acts affiliated to SPPF. Several indie artists such as Corneille performed strongly, explained Pascal Nègre, president of SCPP and president Universal Music France, in a press gathering held in Paris.

SPPF turnover rose 15% year-on-year at €14.5 million ($19 million). SPPF attributes its good performance to a 13.2% rise in rights generated by music videos.

Both societies expressed their concerns for 2009, especially regarding private copying revenues. SCPP and SPPF both called for an increase for the rates scheme that currently applies to digital devices.

Those rates were defined at a time where private copying was very much driven by blank CDs and DVDs, explained Marc Guez, director general of SCPP. Users are now utilizing devices such as hard drives, USB keys or mp4 players to copy music, for which the societies believe the private copying tax is set too low.

SCPP and SPPF also expect to renegotiate rates on recorded music played in public places in 2009. The rates on neighboring rights are set by dedicated commissions which each gathering representatives from the sectors concerned. In 2008, the rates applicable for both commercial and state-owned radios had been raised after long debates.

Nègre said that the goal for producers was to stabilize income from neighboring rights in the future.

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