Frances Sacem Ends Royalties Dispute With Vivendi-Owned Canal Plus

Richard Smirke | October 12, 2017

Authors' rights society Sacem has ended its legal action against leading French film and television studio and distributor Canal Plus over the non-payment of royalties and agreed to a global deal for the use of its members' repertoire.

Sacem had recently begun legal proceedings against Canal Plus, which is owned by Universal Music parent company Vivendi, after it stopped paying the collection society royalties for music broadcast on its TV networks in late 2016.

That dispute has continued throughout this year and was only resolved this month when the two parties signed a deal over the payment of royalties for the use of Sacem works across all of the broadcaster's channels and satellite services.

Under the terms of the agreement, Canal Plus will pay Sacem "all sums due for 2017" and submit details of the works used so that collections "can be distributed as soon as possible to the creators and publishers concerned."

In return, Sacem is dropping all pending legal proceedings and has also entered into a new agreement with Canal Plus that carries a minimum duration of two years, beginning January 1 2018.   

"Once again, Sacem has demonstrated the importance of the collective management model in defending the rights of creators," said CEO Jean-Noël Tronc in a statement.  

"We hope that the strategic repositioning of Canal Plus Group will allow it to successfully re-establish itself to the benefit of the entire creative ecosystem," he went on to say.

"With this agreement, our group renews its commitment to the financing of creation and support of authors in France," added Jean-Christophe Thiery, chairman of the Canal Plus Group Management Board.

The benefits of the deal also extend beyond France with just under 20,000 of Sacem's 161,000 members coming from outside the country. In 2016, the organization -- which represents over 118 million works and some of the world's most successful songwriters -- generated record revenues of €1.37 billion ($1.5 billion) and paid out €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) to members and affiliate neighbouring rights organizations (up 2 percent on 2015).

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About the author: Richard Smirke is a U.K. journalist specializing in music and the music industry, who writes regularly for Billboard magazine, Billboard.biz and Billboard.com.