Much awaited by rights holders and members of the industry alike, the Council of State (the French highest administrative court) rendered, on 19 November 2014, two decisions approving the remuneration scales established by decisions No. 14 of 9 February 2012 and No. 15 of 14 December 2012 of the French Committee provided for by Article L. 311-5 of the French Intellectual Property Code, known as the “Commission Copie Privée”.
To recall, decisions No. 11 and 13 of the Commission Copie Privée were respectively lifted on 17 June 2011 and 25 June 2014 by the Council of State because professional uses were included in the scope of application of the royalty fee.
The two new decisions approve the scale established for multimedia touch screen tablet computers (decision No. 14) and for all recording mediums subject to the royalty fee such as multimedia mobile devices, external hard drives, smartphones, touch screen tablet computers and decoder-recording devices (decision No. 15).
Pursuant to Article L. 311-4 of the French Intellectual Property Code, the amount of the royalty fee is determined by taking into account the type of medium at stake, its recording duration and capacity and its use.
The Council of State approves in particular the circumstances in which decision No. 15 was adopted on 14 December 2014, after the resignation of five of the its six members from the industry. Further, the Council gives green light on the calculation method used. In this regard, the ruling confirms the legality of decision No. 15 and considers that the sales price of the medium must not be taken into account when determining the amount of the remuneration.
The judicial saga that we have faced in recent years in France seems to come to an end, even if some more minor decisions are still expected. Stakeholders may now have to reconsider their positions in view of the findings of the Council.