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The audio-visual sector in general

For what is used the “contribution to the audio-visual public”, new name of the royalty?

Many televiewers inform the Council of their interrogations on the use, by the chains, of this tax: “ How is it made that there are as many repeat broadcasts on television? A royalty nevertheless is paid! ». Or: “ Why do I receive television badly whereas I pay the royalty? ». It is undoubtedly to specify the use of this particular tax that the name of “royalty” was abandoned in 2009, to the profit of that of “contribution to the audio-visual public”. Because the first thing to underline, it is that this contribution does not finance the whole of the TV channels and radio, but only the public sector of the audio-visual one.

It indeed constitutes the principal resource of this public sector. This public sector is composed of France Televisions (the chains France 2, France 3, France 4, France 5, France Ô and public channels of overseas, mainly), of Arte France (the Arte chain), of Radio France (the stations France Inter, France Info, France Culture, France Musique and France Blue, mainly), of France Media World (Radio France international, the chains France 24 and TV5 World) and of the National institute of audio-visual (INA), in charge of the conservation of the audio-visual archives. Thanks to the means which are affected to them, the chains of the public service can propose their programs on almost the totality of the metropolitan territory and overseas, like in the other countries. They have public service missions which consist in particular diffusing the emissions of the National institute of consumption, the emissions of direct expression in favour as of political trainings and the professional organizations, the religious programs, the emissions of the electoral campaigns, etc These missions are assured whereas the recourse to publicity and sponsorship is less important on the audio-visual public than that authorized for the private channels.

Thus, the time devoted to the diffusion of publicity on France 2 and France 3, for example, cannot be higher than six minutes per hour of antenna on average daily, without being able to exceed eight minutes for a hour given. Each screen of advertisements is limited to four minutes. And 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., the public channels do not diffuse any more advertising screens. On TF1 and M6, on the other hand, the daily average duration of the advertisements is also six minutes per hour, but these two chains can diffuse up to twelve minutes of publicity for a hour given, and this, all the day.

The contribution to the audio-visual public is due by any person imposed on the tax of dwelling, holding a television equipment or any device allowing the reception of the televised programs January 1st . The fixing of the amount of the royalty and the methods of its perception do not concern the competence of the CSA, but of that of the Parliament and the Treasury.

With which to express its dissension or its disapproval about a TV program or radio?

You can write to the president of the TV channel or the radio station concerned (you will find of them the contact in the directory of the operators): it is him who is in charge of the contents of the emissions diffused on its service.

However, its responsibility in the case of does not apply a such rigorous way remarks expressed live: the chain or the station does not have indeed completely the possibility of controlling what is diffused in this way, even if the journalist or the presenter must preserve the control of the antenna and react in a possibly critical way to the remarks of a listener, even of a guest. In this case, it is before all the author of the remarks who will see his committed responsibility in the event of infringement.
In another register, the president of a TV channel or a public radio is not responsible for the remarks made during the emissions of the official countryside relative to a poll: it is the CSA which exerts a control a priori on the emission and signs a “good to be diffused”. As for the emissions of direct expression reserved for political trainings represented by a group at the National Assembly or the Senate and the representative trade-union organizations and vocational with the national scale, they are under the responsibility of each assignee of a time of emission.
Lastly, to seize the CSA is legitimate, if you wish to not inform it of a simple personal opinion, but of an unquestionable or probable infringement. Admittedly, the programs concern the freedom and the responsibility for their diffusers. But this freedom is limited by the respect due to some basic principles: human dignity, the respect of the public order, the child protection and of adolescence in particular. If an emission, a report, even a matter, proved to carry seriously reached to the one of these principles, the Council would be in right to intervene and to initiate a procedure of sanction against the audio-visual service concerned.

The form to announce a program to the CSA.

How to on television obtain a right of reply or to the radio?

The right of reply was instituted to allow each natural person or morals put in question on the antennas of a radio or a television to counteract the made remarks relating to it and which are likely to carry reached to its honor or its reputation. The conditions of opening of this right are however very strict. The reasons justifying the recourse are indeed precisely framed by the law. The implementation of a right of reply escapes competence from the Superior council from the audio-visual one. It is thus appropriate, for the person who wishes to obtain this right, to turn itself first of all, within a period of three months following the diffusion of the remarks accused, towards the department of communication audio-visual in question.

However, when the aforementioned remarks were diffused at the time of the exercise of criminal prosecutions, this time is reopened with the profit of the person blamed for the same duration (3 months) as from the day when the decision of nonplace whose she is the subject intervened or that of release or payment putting it expressly or not out of cause became final. 

In the event of refusal or of audio-visual failure to reply of the department of communication within a period of eight days, the applicant can seize the legal judge. 

The texts which organize the right of reply  

It is on the one hand modified article 6 of the law of July 29th, 1982 relating to the freedom of communication maintained into force by the law of September 30th, 1986. This article organizes the exercise of the right of reply on the departments of communication audio-visual.
It is in addition decree n°87-246 of April 6th, 1987 which lays down the modes of enforcement of article 6 of the law of 1982.
Modified article 6 of the law of 1982 provides that in any legal person who ensures a department of communication audio-visual, a person in charge, charged with ensuring the execution of the obligations being attached to the exercise of the right of reply, must be indicated. 

Who can profit from a right of reply?   

  • The exercise of the right of reply is opened to any natural person. It can, in the event of death, being exerted by the heirs online direct, the sole legatees or by the spouse of the person reached in her honor or its reputation. 
  • The exercise of the right of reply is also opened to any legal person put in question at a rate of her activity. The legal people exert their right of reply via their legal representative.
  • This right is also acknowledged to fight associations against racism since the law n°90-615 of July 13th, 1990 relating to the repression of any racist act, anti-semite or xenophobe. These last can intervene so of the charges likely to attack the honor or with the reputation of a person or a group of anybody at a rate of their origin, their membership or their not-membership of an ethnos group, a nation, a race or a given religion were diffused within the framework of an activity of audio-visual communication. If the charges aim at a person considered individually, association can exert the right of reply only if it justifies agreement of the person. Lastly, the law adds that only one right of reply can be exerted for the same facts by the whole of associations.  

The remarks which can justify a right of reply  

The reasons allowing the opening of a right of reply on the departments of communication audio-visual are restricted.
If the calling into question of an individual is a requirement with the implementation of the right of reply, it is not therefore a sufficient condition. The person must be reached in her honor or her reputation. The attack thus supposes a damage, which results from charges in defamatory matter, abusive or offensive. The attack must also be personal. 

Procedure to be followed to obtain a right of reply  

To be admissible, the request for right of reply must meet a certain number of conditions which milked with the deadlines and the form. These conditions are specified in the decree of April 6th, 1987 taken for the application of article 6 of the law of July 29th, 1982.

The time

The request for exercise of the right of reply must be made within a period of three months following the diffusion of the disputed emission, or the reception of the message for the services of videotex.
However, when, at the time of the exercise of criminal prosecutions, were diffused within the framework of an activity of audio-visual communication of the charges likely to attack the honor or to the reputation of a natural person or morals, the three months deadline is reopened with its profit for the same duration as from the day when the decision of withdrawal of case whose she is the subject intervened or that of release or payment putting it expressly or not out of cause became final.  

Methods of form 

It must be a question of a registered letter with acknowledgement of delivery, addressed to the director of the audio-visual publication of the department of communication.  

Contents of the request

The request must comprise a certain number of mentions. It must specify the references of the accused message, the circumstances in which the message was put at the disposal of public, mention of the disputed passages and charges on which it is wished to answer.
The request must also indicate the content of the answer which the applicant wishes to make.
For the services of videotex, the person put in question can also ask the correction or for the suppression of the message for the period when it is still accessible to the public.

The insertion or not of the answer    


The director of the publication has a eight days deadline as from the reception of the request to make known his decision with the applicant of the right of reply.
Its acceptance or its refusal must be notified by registered letter with acknowledgement of delivery. An absence of notification is equivalent to a refusal.
The eight days deadline is tiny room to twenty-four hours during the electoral campaigns when a candidate is blamed.
When the director of the publication accepts the request for right of reply, it must notify its agreement with the applicant by specifying the date of diffusion of the answer and its content.
In all the cases, the answer is free.
The absence of answer having the agreement of the applicant is comparable with a refusal and gives to the applicant the right to the recourse near the judge. 

The rule of the parallelism of the forms


The law provides that the answer must be diffused, on the one hand, under technical requirements equivalent to those of the emission containing the accused message and on the other hand, so that an audience equivalent to the emission in question is assured for him.
The answer must be announced like falling under the exercise of this right, refer to the title of the emission and point out its date of diffusion.
These provisions are founded in order to locate the answer within the framework of the initial message.
The answer must be diffused in its entirety, the director of the publication not having the power to modify the text. 

Contents of the answer 

The text of the answer cannot be higher than thirty typed lines.
The total duration of the message cannot exceed two minutes. 

Appeals in the event of refusal of publication of the right of reply

The legislator set up appeals in the event of refusal of insertion of an answer or his bad diffusion.
The judge of the summary procedures is the qualified judge on the matter.
The applicant who sees himself opposing a refusal of the director of the publication can approach the president concerning the Court of Bankruptcy within a period of eight days following that of the reception of the notification of the refusal, or with the expiry of the period of reflection granted to the director of the publication, or the diffusion of the answer if the applicant the regard nonin conformity with the legal requirements.
The president of the court can order under obligation the diffusion of the answer. It can declare its ordinance executory, notwithstanding call.

 - Article 6 of the law n° 82-652 of July 29th, 1982 maintained into force by the law n°86-1067 of September 30th, 1986 modified by the law n°90-615 of July 13th, 1990 relating to the repression of any racist act, anti-semite or xenophobe, Official journal of July 14th, 1990, by the law n° 93-2 of the bearing January 4th, 1993 reforms penal procedure, Official journal of January 5th, 1993 and by the law n°2000-515 of June 15th, 2000 reinforcing the protection of the presumption of innocence and the rights of the victims, Official journal of June 16th, 2000.
 - Decree n° 87-246 of April 6th, 1987 relating to the exercise of the right of reply in the departments of communication audio-visual, Official journal of April 9th, 1987, p. 4035.

How to protect a concept of TV program or radio which one is the author?

All “work of the spirit” (for example, the writings, sound, cinematographic or audio-visual works) profits from a legal protection. It must, for that, to satisfy two requirements:

  • the requirement of a formal concretization of work: any intellectual creation must to profit from the protection of the copyright being materialized in a form which makes it materially perceptible. The copyright protects the form from the expression literary or artistic and not ideas, concepts or the methods which are at the base of creation, which are of free course and cannot be the object of a privative appropriation. On the other hand, the fact that a work is unfinished or under development does not prevent its protection (L.112-2 CPI), thus for example the drafts or outlines can give taken to the copyright;
  • the requirement of an original form: the originality is the requirement and sufficient to profit from the protection of the copyright. The originality is the legal expression of the creativity of the author, it is defined like the print of its personality. The condition of originality is a relative concept, the judges appreciating the original character of work on a case-by-case basis. It is distinguished from the concept of innovation heard objectively (example: two painters painting the same subject, the second table is not new but will be regarded as original because it expresses the personality of the author).  

This legal protection of works of the spirit is not competence of the Superior council of the audio-visual one. We advise you, to study your case, to consult the information published on the site of the ministry for the Culture and the Communication which will give you many information.