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French Minister of Culture obtains the support of the independents in music, film and literature for the Creation and Internet proposal, in a package of concrete proposals presented at the world's first Independents Arena

EIA Photo

From left to right: Michel Lambot, co-president of PIAS and co-president of IMPALA, Max Armanet, Libération, Patrick Zenik, president of NAIVE and Co-president of IMPALA, Christine Albanel, Minister of Culture and Communication, Frédéric Goldsmith, délégué général of the APC, Olga Martin-Sancho, Federation of European Publishers, Jacques Toubon, MEP and president of the Cité nationale de l'Histoire de l'Immigration.

During the first European Independence Arena, Christine Albanel, French Minister of Culture and Communication received the support of Independents from the Cinema and the Music Industry for her  “Creation and Internet” proposal.

Today, Christine Albanel attended the closing ceremony of the first edition of “Les Arenes de l’Independance”. This event was initiated by the Minister and IMPALA, the Independent Music Labels Association and presided over by Patrick Zelnik. IMPALA represents 4000 small and very small music companies in France and the rest of the world.

This event took place in the context of the French Presidency of the European Union. Representatives of cultural SMEs from the sectors of music, books and cinema, professionals from the law and economy sectors, as well as officials from the European Commission working on culture and information society issues, joined the Arena on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 October.

The participants presented the Minister with a list of proposals, summarised in an “Independents Declaration” (below). These proposals are in line with two of Minister Albanel’s priorities : anti-piracy of online works and the implementation of reduced VAT rates for cultural goods.

These proposals also focused on independent products getting more exposure in all diffusion and distribution networks (physical or online); efforts are to be made, based on the European “Small Business Act”, for a better competitiveness of cultural industries; and the need to maintain and develop access to credit for cultural SMEs in the new economical context.

Christine Albanel promised to quickly implement, in coordination with the independents, the list of measures to be presented to the European Commission and to the other European Ministers in charge of Culture. The Minister also underlined that these proposals could be regrouped in a “European status for cultural SMEs”.

She thanked the professionals in the audience for their contribution and also underlined that the first step to the implementation of the action plan started during the Arena would be the debate at the French Parliament, starting on 29th October about the “Creation and Internet” law proposal. Christine Albanel also declared: “Of course, there is no secret plan to impose the French anti-piracy plan to the rest of Europe. I simply wish that our experience will prove an inspiration for other European states whose cultural businesses are as threatened as the French ones.” According to the Minister, this law “won’t be the law of the majors, it will be the law of all creators and of all the cultural industries, 90% of them being SMEs; it won’t be the law for well-known artists but one for young talent: it won’t be a law for the CEOs of big corporate companies but a law for hundreds of thousands of people employed in this field, from the technician to the artist, from the author to the producer, via the realisator and the diffusor”. The Minister concluded: “You can count on me like I know I can count on all of you in the struggle that is coming our way”.

The primary objective of the Arena was to really show the value of cultural SMEs, both in renewal of creation and in the economy of culture.  The participants highlighted that the independents represent 80% of all new music releases and that 85% of the films premiered at Cannes, Venice and Berlin are independent productions.  In this regard, SMEs have an indispensable role in constant creativity and in the defence of cultural diversity.  On top of this the independents also play an important role in the growth of both the economy and employment. Culture represents almost 500,000 jobs in France, 5 million in the European Union and SMEs make up an essential and sometimes determining part of their respective sectors – 99% of enterprises in the music industry and 90% in publishing.

These observations were established through the different round tables lead by Max Armanet (Libération), Michel Lambot (co-president of IMPALA and co-founder of the label PIAS), Denis Olivennes (Nouvel Observateur) et Jacques Toubon (member of the culture commission at the European Parliament).  The Arena produced concrete propositions for the European institutions and the member states of the European Union, to consolidate the dual role – both economic and cultural – of the independents.

Click here to see the Ministry of Culture page and a short video on the European Independence Arena (in French).
Pour voir le communiqué de presse en francais cliquer ici

To read the Declaration in English click here
Pour voir la Déclaration en francais cliquer ici
The proceedings of the European Independence Arena are available here. Pour la version française cliquer ici.