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The CSA gives his opinion on the projet de loi on the digital economy

Official statement of the Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Seized for opinion of the government bill for confidence and the security in the digital economy, the Superior council of audio-visual formulated, in his plenary session of December 17th, 2002, his observations which relate in particular to the legal mode of the departments of communication online.
The Council points out that the convergence of the services and the networks must encourage the legislator to tend towards technological neutrality and thus towards the equal treatment between departments of communication audio-visual with the similar contents accessible on different supports. This principle must however be moderate according to various criteria justifying that various levels of obligation are envisaged and holding in particular with the scarcity of the resource of the networks, with the relative impact of the services according to the borrowed support or the intervening variable degree of the user.
The technological change would thus have justified a more radical legislation adaptation, which calls into question the current architecture of the law of September 30th, 1986 based on a regulation by support. The Council considers it regrettable that such is not the approach adopted in the government bill.
Thus, the definition of the public communication online as a subset of the audio-visual communication remains purely theoretical insofar as the government bill online withdraws the departments of communication public from the general principles of the right of the audio-visual communication. It thus consolidates a great disparity of modes between the services of radio and television and services assimilable according to their mode of diffusion (hertzian terrestrial, cable and satellite on the one hand, Internet on the other hand).
This is why the Council esteem necessary which the law defines clearly the criteria making it possible to qualify a television service or of sound broadcasting and the applicable legal mode, whatever the support of the service. For the public communication online, this definition should be able to as well apply to the resumption in integral and simultaneous transmission of services of radio and television already diffused to other supports as to the diffusion of original services comparable for the public to such services.
In front of the development prospects soon offered to the services of television on the Internet with high flow, the CSA underlines the serious disadvantages of a total absence of regulation, in particular concerning the respect of the principles recalled to the articles 1st and 15 of the law of September 30th, 1986 (respect of the property and freedom, human dignity of others, child welfare and adolescence, safeguarding of pluralism and cultural diversity, required development of a national industry of audio-visual production). This absence of regulation would create a risk of distortion of competition and skirting of the obligations relating to the audio-visual contents by a migration towards the least constraining support. It could in the long term open up the way for a more radical deregulation of the traditional mediums.

Consult the complete text of the opinion of the CSA.