France/ 5.2 Legislation on culture
There is no overall legal text covering the entire field of culture. Each area of culture has its own laws and regulations.
Principal laws and texts regarding the installation of cultural policies:
- Law 41-401 of 27 September 1941 (amended) relating to archaeological excavations: government authorisation must be obtained prior to excavation; defines conditions under which the discoverer can claim ownership of objects recovered;
- Law n° 89-874 of 1 December 1989 relating to maritime goods of a cultural nature: extended the regulations covering objects found on land to objects found at sea; and
- Law n° 2001-44 of 17 January 2001 relating to preventive archaeology: definition of preventive archaeology; creation of a national public body; establishment of a levy to be paid by town planners and used for diagnostic and excavation work.
- Law n°77-2 of 3 January 1977 on Architecture: scope of the activities of architects and state qualifications.
- Law n° 79-18 of 3 January 1979: defines public archives and the time period governing the release of documents to the public.
Public Service Missions Charter for Contemporary Art Institutions (circular of 27 November 2000): defines the responsibilities of national, local and regional government and contemporary art institutes with regard to the fostering of creativity and cultural devolution.
Role and organisation of the Ministry of Culture and Communication
- Decree n° 82-394 of 10 May 1982 (amended) relating to the organisation of the Ministry for Culture and Communication; and
- Decree n° 2002-898 of 15 May 2002 relating to the role of the Minister for Culture and Communication.
- Law n° 86-1067 of 30 September 1986 relating to freedom of communication, amended in 1994 and 2000 (by law n° 2000-719 of 1 August 2000). The Law confirmed the termination of the state monopoly of radio and television broadcasting. It created an independent regulatory authority for French broadcasting (Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel), lead to the privatisation of TF1 and created a single group uniting three public television companies.
- Law n°92-1477 of 31 December 1992 amended by Law n° 2000-643 of 10 July 2000 relating to products subjected to certain circulation restrictions: definition of cultural goods and national treasures and conditions for the circulation of works; creation of an export certificate; possibility for the state to select and purchase "national treasures";
- Law n°95-877 of 3 August 1995 relating to the restitution of cultural goods illegally removed from French territory: aimed at preventing illegal trading in art works; facilitates collaboration between EU member countries; and
- Law n°2000-642 of 10 July 2000 on the regulation of voluntary sales of furniture to public auction houses; abolition of auctioneers' monopoly; approval procedure for sales organisations
- Law of 25 October 1946 on the National Film Centre: creation of a public body to support and promote the French film industry;
- Decree n° 91-1131 of 25 October 1991 on the definition and classification of art cinemas.
- Law n° 92-651 of 13 July 1992 on local government action in support of cinemas: authorising local and regional governments to allocate funds to art cinemas.
- General code on local and regional government: more particularly: Part I, Volume IV, Section II, items I, II & III (local public services), and Vol. VI, item IV (compensation of competence transfers) and VI (Measures specific to art works): defines the competence in the cultural field of régions, départements and municipalities.
- Law n° 84-53 of 26 January 1984: creation of a public regional and local civil service including cultural occupations.
- Law n° 2002-6 of 4 January 2002 relating to the creation of the Public Cultural Co-operation Establishments (EPCC): creation of a legal structure for the partnership between the state and local and regional governments for the administration of cultural public services.
- Law n° 89-468 of 10 July 1989 relating to dance teaching: state qualification compulsory for teachers; regulations on the safety and hygiene of premises.
- Law n° 92-546 of 20 June 1992 relating to legal deposits: compulsory registration of all documents available to the general public, including broadcasting.
- Decree n° 93-1429 of 31 December 1993 specifies the public bodies to which various types of documents must be deposited.
- Law n° 88-20 of 6 January 1988 relating to arts teaching: regulations for the teaching of arts in secondary and high schools; regulations for certification of arts teaching establishments and diplomas.
- Law n° 94-665 of 4 August 1994: defines regulations on the use of French in public information, international organisations and conferences, the media, advertising and scientific publications, and fosters multilingualism.
- Law n° 81-766 of 10 August 1981 (amended) relating to fixed book pricing: compulsory application of fixed book prices by all book sellers, price to be stipulated by the publisher; to books; authorisation of a maximum discount of 5%.
- Law n° 87-571 of 23 July 1987, on the development of sponsoring, specifies the conditions under which sponsor companies are authorised to benefit from a range of tax incentives.
- Law n° 90-559 of 4 July 1990 relating to the creation of corporate foundations: authorises companies to set up cultural foundations, defines their scope of activity.
- The range of legal texts relating to the protection of authors, the protection of minors, and the prevention of illegal photocopying and reproduction applying to new technology media.
- Ordinance n° 45-1546 of 13 July 1945 (amended) on the provisional organisation of fine art museums: definition of museums; defines national, classified and supervised museums; operating procedures.
- Law n° 80-532 of 15 July 1980 relating to the protection of public collections against vandalism: introduction of penalties for the degradation of art works.
- Law n°93-20 of 7 January 1993 relating to the introduction of a government guarantee for certain temporary art exhibitions: enables the state to replace private insurance companies for this purpose.
- Law n° 2002-5 of 4 January 2002 relating to French museums: definition of French museums (state-owned or owned by any other non profit-making private or public legal entity), their brief, state supervision and guidance.
- Law of 31 December 1913 (amended) on historic monuments and its application laws: levels of protection, conditions and procedures for the different types of protection applied to buildings and objects and obligations of classified or registered historic monument owners.
- Law of 2 May 1930 relating to the protection of natural monuments and sites with artistic, historic, scientific, legendary or aesthetic value: measures to protect monuments and natural sites.
- Law n° 96-590 of 2 July 1996 relating to the "Heritage Foundation" (Fondation du patrimoine): creation of a partnership linking the government, local authorities and private legal entities for the funding of unclassified and unregistered monuments.
- Law n° 92-597 of 1 July 1992 (amended) and Decree n°95-385 of 10 April 1995 (amended): defines literary and artistic property.
- Ordinance n° 45-2339 of 13 October 1945, amended by Law n° 99-198 of 18 March 1999: regulation of the professional activity of performing arts entrepreneurs and defines conditions under which licences are attributed (other than occasional events).
- Public Service Missions Charter for the Performing Arts (circular of 22 October 1998): although it has less status than a law, this important text defines public service missions, in partnership with local and regional government, assigned by the state government to private legal persons or entities.
There is currently no overall legal framework for the cultural industries. However, sector frameworks - often highly developed - do exist, for example in the book industry.
The selling prices of books to the public are fixed by the publishers, and a maximum discount of 5 % can be applied. This law operates in accordance with professional agreements with a number of other European countries; it aims to regulate the different forms of competition in the book sector. It encourages the quality of book selections rather than the systematic search for the lowest price. As well as ensuring editorial diversity and creativity, the provision is aimed at reinforcing the bookstore network, thus ensuring that all citizens pay the same price for books throughout France.
Royalties for private copying
The reproduction of works for private use is authorised, which is an exception in terms of authors' rights. A compensation payment for private copying collected by the various societies that administer authors' rights was laid down in the law of 3 July 1985, supplemented by the law of 17 July 2001.
The law of 3 July 1985 exclusively concerns audio-visual works, which deals with fees for blank tapes suitable for the analogue re-recording of sound and video recordings (e.g. cassettes).
The growth of private copying in digital form of different types of works has highlighted the gaps in the law in regard to the remuneration of authors as well as substantial material loss. The law of 17 July 2001 accorded a compensation payment for private copying to authors and publishers of works reproduced on digital recording media regardless of their original medium (images, texts, sound).
An independent commission was appointed to calculate the compensation payment due from manufacturers and importers of digital recording media. The initial decision of the Brun-Buisson Commission - set up to determine the fees for private copying on digital media (4 January 2001) - established the amount payable on all removable digital recording media. A more recent decision (4 July 2002) laid down the amount of fees for recording media integrated into decoders, television sets, hi-fi systems and personal stereos. The opportunity of subjecting computer hard disks to the same compensation payment is currently being studied.
In the field of books, press and music, the reproduction of protected works (texts, drawings, photographs, music supplies, etc.) for strictly private use is free. The reproduction of works for professional use is subjected to authorisation from the French Centre of Copy Exploitation (CFC). This authorisation is obtained by the signing of a contract and payment of a yearly fee.
In regard to books, two legitimate demands were taken into consideration when the lending rights issue was approached: that of the authors who are seeking to be fairly remunerated to enable them to pursue their creative activities, and that of library professionals directly concerned by the imperatives of equal access to books by all citizens. A report on this issue, prepared by Jean-Marie Borzeix, was followed by a bill covering payments for public library book lending and authors' social security.
The bill provided for the establishment of a legal licence giving libraries the "right to lend" books in accordance with the laws pertaining to authors' rights. Authors will be remunerated via a "lending royalties" mechanism (as opposed to the "lending fees" paid by book users each time they borrow a book), jointly guaranteed by the state government and local and regional authorities.
Lending royalties are to be distributed by one or more of the societies that administer authors' rights. Payments are to be divided between an immediate payment to authors and publishers as royalties and a deferred payment to authors via the funding of a complementary retirement scheme.
The project relating to the grouping together of existing laws on heritage in a single Heritage Code expresses the government's intention to make legal texts more accessible and more coherent. For historical reasons, particularly those involving the organisation of cultural administration by sector, heritage law currently exists in the form of dispersed and complex provisions.
The Heritage Code will cover heritage in the widest sense of the term, covering all public and private buildings and movable property of historical, artistic, archaeological, aesthetic, scientific or technical interest.
The Code will provide for the retention of the unity of the major laws in the field of culture, such as the law of 31 December 1913 on historic monuments, the law of 27 September 1941 on the regulation of archaeological excavation, and the law of 3 January 1979 on archives. It will also cover recent laws such as the law of 17 January 2001 on preventive archaeology and the law of 5 January 2002 on French museums.
Legal incentives for investment in culture
The overall framework for legal incentives for public-private partnerships was laid down in Law n° 87-571 of 23 July 1987 on the development of sponsoring. It specifies the conditions under which sponsor companies are authorised to benefit from a range of tax incentives. Companies may deduct, from their taxable earnings, gifts of a cultural nature to charities or organisations of general interest up to a maximum of 0.225% (or, under certain conditions: 0.325%) of their turnover.
A specific provision relates to contemporary art. Companies that purchase original works by living artists can, over a period of 20 years, deduct from their taxable earnings an amount equal to the purchase price. To benefit from this deduction, the company must exhibit the acquired work in public.
The site Legifrance provides access to the texts of French laws and regulations – http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/
Chapter published: 27-02-2008