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European Union/literary and artistic property and cultural heritage

Published on October 27, 2014
Communiqué issued following the Council of Ministers’ meeting
Paris, October 22, 2014

The Minister of Culture and Communication presented a bill containing various adaptation measures to European Union law in the fields of literary and artistic property and cultural heritage.

The bill transposes three directives: firstly, that of 27 September 2011 modifying Directive 2006/116/EC on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights.

The previous Community regulation set the term of copyright at 70 years, whereas that of related rights – i.e. performers, producers of phonograms, film producers and broadcasting organizations – was 50 years. Given the increase in life expectancy, these related rights for performers now expire during these artists’ lifetimes and at a time when they are generally no longer professionally active. The directive increases their term from 50 to 70 years. It has also sought to improve the economic system for producers, so that they can thus have the necessary resources to support new talent.

Secondly, the bill transposes Directive 2012/28/EU of 25 October 2012 on certain permitted uses of orphan works. It enables libraries accessible to the public to digitize works belonging to their collections and regarded as orphan – i.e. whose copyright- and related rights-holders it has been impossible to find, despite careful searches – and make them available to their users. These works are thus made accessible to the maximum number of people, thanks to digital support and in a non-profit framework. This faculty is also open to museums, archive services, the guardian institutions of cinema and sound heritage, educational establishments and public broadcasting bodies.
The works concerned take the form of books, reviews, newspapers, magazines and other written publications, as well as cinema and broadcast works.

Finally, the bill transposes Directive 2014/60/EU on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state. This revised instrument seeks to guarantee the return to a member state of any cultural object regarded as “a national treasure possessing artistic, historic or archaeological value” that was unlawfully removed from its territory after 1 January 1993./.

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