Presidents and Directors-General,Ladies and Gentlemen,
We all remember this rule of common sense, which was once
taught at school: “Don’t separate form from substance.” I know that it is
poets who, like Alfred de MUSSET, wonder: Whatever the bottle, provided
But on the one hand, I’m not sure that “drunkenness” is
truly the goal we must seek in the face of the digital revolution, and
I believe that the new means of communication should instead invite us to
“reason to keep” and to reflect as calmly as possible on their issues.
On the other hand, I am convinced that it is more important in this field than in any other
other, not only to “not separate form from bottom” – the “containers”
(or what are also poetically called “pipes”) of the contents they
vehicles – but that it is a question of finding between them, in a relationship
dialectic, the best possible balance.
In 10 years, the digital revolution – and in particular the Internet – has entirely
changed our environment, changed our cultural practices and
habits of thinking and creating. This upheaval is clearly an opportunity
for the dissemination and transmission of our heritage. It is
also a formidable vector of creation, for each of us and in all
fields, from music to cinema, including the visual arts, the
literature or video games.
But of course, these new resources are also a challenge for all
cultural industries, which must adapt to new models
economic benefits. The creative proliferation made possible by the Internet
must have as corollary a regulation that guarantees respect for copyright and
intellectual property, and ensures the sustainability of creative funding.
That is why the “digital decade” that is coming to an end has also forced us to
constantly modernize and reinvent our regulations. The latest illustration
and one of the most emblematic is the Order in Council on
on-demand audiovisual media, the “SMAd”, through which we
under the watchful eye of our European neighbours.
That is the first point I would like to make to you.
The arrival of these new on-demand services required us to adapt our
audiovisual regulation. The law of 5 March 2009 made it possible to
services in the field of actors who contribute to the financing of production
of French and European works.
In order to prepare its application in a realistic and adapted way, we
have launched, as you know, a public consultation to gather
professionals. After receiving and hearing them, we finalize
currently this draft decree, which will help find a balance
between the growth of the emerging video-on-demand market, and the
contribution of these new services to the creation and preservation of
The adoption of this text reflects the culmination of a long journey
policy that began several years ago with the negotiation of
the Audiovisual Media Services Directive of 11 December 2007,
which changed the one on Télévision Sans Frontières (TVSF).
On that occasion, the French authorities fought for a long time,
first alone before rallying our partners to this cause, so that
new audiovisual services on demand are taken into account
in the field of Community legislation.
What was at stake? To enable the new audiovisual services of
be applied, with necessary modifications, the principles and
rules that have allowed television channels to continue to offer,
on the screens, a substantial part of European and French works,
and not just American, and actively contribute to the
development of the audiovisual and film industry. This is in
the first condition for our creators to continue to
to express oneself, and that our society keeps its own gaze on itself
within the new digital universe.
The objective of the regulation of the SMAd is therefore above all cultural: it is a question of
encourage the renewal of French audiovisual creation and
to ensure the radiation.
Alongside the public authorities, all the players in this new market
must contribute to this common ambition. Only this broad adherence
will avoid the risks that weigh on the regulation of
on-demand media services: outsourcing and competition
unfair to unregulated operators.
In order not to hinder the development of these new services, three
Key principles have guided us in the development of this system:
First, taking into account the economic model of these services,
Video-on-Demand Services on a fee-for-service basis.
to develop this offer so that it is most widely available
accessible, and that the attractiveness of the legal offer contributes to reducing
illegal downloading practices.
In particular, this means avoiding the development of practices
exclusivity. For this, it was necessary to distinguish the modalities of the
production contribution according to the type of service proposed. As such, it is
VoD subscription services, given their
competitive situation different from the VoD to the act, must be the subject
of a specific treatment.
But at the end of the day, it is all about supporting creation, and ensuring a
exhibition of European and French-language works, guarantees of
diversity and outreach.
The second principle is the consideration of the emerging character of these
new services, which calls for less restrictive rules
for television, and to set a turnover threshold above which
only production obligations will take place. This allows
operators to anticipate their entry into this scheme.
Finally, the third principle is the concern for simplicity and readability of the rules.
While the complexity of audiovisual law is the subject of criticism by
increasingly lively, it was not imaginable, for these new services,
to create a complicated system, which would have provided multiple
categories and derogations.
The adoption of this text has been a little delayed, particularly because of the
which was the basis for its development. I hope that
effective January 1, 2011. We understand that the
publish by September 2010, obviously taking into account the
various bodies whose opinion is required: the
the audiovisual industry, the Council of State and the European Commission.
That order in council, as I said, is a first step. But it’s part of
a broader and more permanent reflection on how we can
develop online cultural services, and adapt our
regulation: I am thinking, in particular, of the mobilization around the rate
reduced VAT for cultural goods online. I also think, more
to the issue of net neutrality, and this is the second
point I would like to address here.
2nd POINT: NET NEUTRALITY
This issue of net neutrality is complex and, I know, the subject
important debates; today’s contributes to them.
This concept means, in its maximum acceptance, that
data are transported and processed (on the Internet) in a
undifferentiated from their point of origin to their final destination.”
This issue of discrimination of content carried on the internet -
according to their nature, source or destination – emerged in a
context. That of exponential consumption of content on
Internet, generating very high network traffic, and requiring
for operators to invest massively in their infrastructure and
in the quality of their service.
This debate on the neutrality of the Internet raises many questions about
society, which is of direct interest to the culture and
How to ensure access to all content, including
networks in a transparent manner and not
discriminatory? How to guarantee pluralism and freedom of information
How to reconcile respect for copyright with this possibility of
be able to access any content?
How to ensure the development of the Internet by allowing each
link in the value chain - operators, content and
services - to develop an economic model that guarantees
development in the long term? The question of
financing of creation, to which I am particularly attentive.
These questions are just as essential as those posed to the world
telecommunications, although to my mind they have been less
taken into account.
The debate was the subject of a number of consultations, including the last one
by the Authority for the Regulation of Electronic Communications and
ARCEP is still open.
However, I also think it essential that the
content are also widely taken into account, as they are
of course, I repeat, inseparable from the networks through which they
One of the main issues is the fight against piracy. Given
ambiguities that sometimes exist in the formulations of certain
defenders of the «neutrality of the Internet»,
that the freedoms guaranteed to the consumer are, of course,
subject to lawful access to content that is also lawful.
The second issue is the regulation of audiovisual services, and
undistorted competition between players.
The growing use of the Internet to broadcast video programs,
linked to the rise of connected TVs can be a source of distortion
competition to those who are now helping to finance the
creation. We need to be aware of that.
We must also think about the consequences of the
disintermediation in the audiovisual value chain. As the rise
in the power of connected terminals, combined with a very neutral
quality of service of video on the Internet, could
encourage the various actors to operate directly on the network to
free himself from the actor who precedes him in the chain.
In short, the entire audiovisual channel could be
and, in the aftermath, the virtuous principles of solidarity
The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy, Mr President.
For the content industries, therefore, there are considerable
still insufficiently examined. I invite you today to take all
your share of the ongoing reflections and consultations. We
let’s also think about these issues as part of the mission
entrusted to Dominique RICHARD on «Audiovisual in 2015».
In conclusion, I am delighted that this symposium is the occasion for a
a rich and in-depth discussion on the outcome of this first
“digital decade”, but also of course the future of the
creation in the age of the Internet, and on all the challenges that the
More and more creators and consumers
choice of Internet, we must offer more than protection
additional revenues for the former, thanks to the
the exploration and invention of new sources of remuneration, and
the second, a more attractive legal offer of cultural content, and
forms. This is the very condition for the full exercise of the
creative freedom in the digital age.
It is clear from the issues we are concerned that there is no
unique solution, but an articulated cluster of measures, projects and
initiatives. Their multiplication and complementarity will create a
new spirit, and will make the Internet the preferred vehicle for
dissemination of culture, both attractive for its users and respectful
I share this wish with you: let’s combine the potential of digital and
Internet with our own resources, those that our
our capacity for innovation, but also our political will.
Let us find the best possible balance between freedom and
regulation, but also between «form and substance», between the logic of
networks and the demand for cultural content.