Canal+ has defended its refusal to pay rights fees demanded by French collecting societies following a dispute that has lasted several months, leading to major legal battle between the pay TV operator and four of the main societies.
Four leading collecting societies – SACD, SACEM, SCAM and ADAGP – filed a lawsuit with the Paris high court at the start of this week seeking payment of overdue royalties.
According to French press reports, Canal+ contacted the societies at the end of last year in an attempt to cut the amount claimed by them.
The lawsuit has alleged that the pay TV group stopped payments to force a renegotiation with the societies.
According to various reports, citing unnamed sources, the amount of unpaid royalites sought by the groups amounts to €50 million (US$57 million).
In its explanation for its failure to pay up, Canal+ said its key priority was to “offer its customers quality content at the best price” and that it needed to “put an end to a certain number of abuses” that were hindering its financial recovery.
The pay TV operators said that this would enable to better secure its commitment to content creation in France over the long term.
Canal+ said that it would pay rights-holders based on the works in their line-up that it distributed. It said it was undertaking “precise and exhaustive” audits to ensure that rights collection societies received their due.
The operator said it was hopeful of finding an agreement with the authors.