COPYRIGHT AND PERFORMING RIGHTS ISSUES IN FRANCE


1. Use of photocopied music

There is an organisation in the  UK, called Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) to which your church can subscribe and submit an annual return of photocopied music used. A fee is then charged which goes to the author and composer, as is only fair.

Unfortunately this does not apply in France but there is an equivalent organisation called LTC and their website is www.ltc-asaph.com. Their system is different in that there is no annual return required, but the church pays an annual fee according to the number of members.  There is a list of authors and publishers included in the scheme and a tariff of fees, plus the option to sign up. This covers hymns and songs sung in English or French and includes some of the well-known British publishers such as ThankYou Music. However, it only covers the use of words, either on paper or screens, not music. Music is covered by SEAM (Société des Editeurs et Auteurs de Musique) www.seamfrance.fr, but the only facility for churches is the liturgical music of the Roman Catholic church. As yet, other church music is not included in their scheme, so individual requests to copyright holders are the only legal course of action.

2. Music in concerts

If you are putting on a concert, or show of any kind that is not an act of worship, then you need to pay rights to the composer of the music, whether the music is live or recorded, and whether the concert is free or tickets are sold. See website www.sacem.fr for more details, and contact your local office well before the event to receive the inevitable sheaf of forms to complete and submit, both before and after the event. You do not need to pay for music by composers whose death was 70 years or more ago, so that may well influence your choice of programme.

It seems an unnecessary extra piece of bureaucracy at first glance, but as Christians we need to be seen to comply with the law, and to pay these musicians and authors the just reward for their efforts.