Order No. 2014-1348 of 12 November 2014, which entered into force on 1st December 2014, amends certain provisions of the French Intellectual Property Code regarding publishing contracts and introduces some new ones. These amendments, which were made possible by legal order No. 2014-779 of 8 July 2014, were adopted after a framework agreement was signed on 21 March 2013 between the Permanent Counsel of Writers (“Conseil permanent des écrivains”) and the National Publishing Union (“Syndicat national de l’édition”) relating to publishing contracts in the sector of books in the digital era.
The provisions concerning publishing contracts are now organized in two sub-sections, the first of which contains the general provisions on publishing contracts and the second the specific provisions applicable to book publishing. The second sub-section is itself divided into two parts, one relating to traditional publishing and digital publishing, the other devoted to digital publishing only.
The definition of a publishing contract is extended and now not only covers the “manufacture of copies” but also the “realization in a digital form”.
As regards book publishing, authors’ rights relating to traditional publishing and authors’ rights relating to digital publishing will have to be included in separate parts of the assignment contract, under nullity of the assignment. This will mean an additional and separate remuneration for the author, where digital rights are assigned. The publishing contracts entered into before 1st December 2014 will comply with this new obligation of separate parts, only if these contracts are amended.
Finally, regarding the specific provisions applicable to digital book publishing, a reassessment by the parties of the economic conditions of the assignment of digital rights, has been introduced.
Parties to publishing contracts should thus review the terms and conditions for their contracts in order to see whether it is worthwhile to amend them in view of these new provisions.