What is private copying?

Private Copying in France

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In France, the private copy levy was instituted in 1985 in the common interest of consumers and creators. It compensates loss of revenue for authors, performers, producers and publishers, and provides support for Creation. It allows consumers to copy for their own personal use whatever they like –from legal sources only.

Who must pay the private copy levy?

The private copy levy is collected from manufacturers and importers of recording devices and media used for copying works. Paid at source, this levy is then passed on by manufacturers and distributors in the price paid by consumers.

Who collects the private copy levy?

COPIE FRANCE was set up by societies of authors, performers and producers –the beneficiaries of this levy– to collect it from importers and distribute this revenue to member societies and those which have a collection mandate.

In concrete terms, what is the cost?

Who sets the tariffs?

The tariffs for this levy are set by the Private Copy Commission, an independent administrative body made up on the basis of equal representation: 12 representatives of the beneficiaries (authors, performers, publishers, and producers) and 12 representatives of those liable to pay it (6 representatives of manufacturers and importers, and 6 representatives of consumers). It is chaired by a representative of the State, Raphaël Hadas-Lebel, President of the Honorary Section of the Council of State. The members of this Commission and its Chair are appointed by joint decree of the Ministers responsible for Culture, Industry and Consumer Affairs. Moreover, the Chair of the Commission is now appointed from among the members of the Council of State, Court of Cassation or Revenue Court.

How are these sums distributed?

75% of the sums collected are paid directly to creators, authors, publishers, performers and producers via their Collective Management Societies, on the basis of the reproductions made of each work. Thus, over 200,000 authors, performers and producers benefit from this remuneration each year.

25% of the sums collected are used to support creation, dissemination, live performance and training for artists and authors. Provided by Collective Management Societies, this cultural action represents nearly 50 million euros a year, and over 5,000 initiatives supported throughout France, in all genres and all cultural sectors.

In what cases can the private copy levy be reimbursed?

When the use of recording media does not involve private copying of protected works as is the case for strictly professional uses.


An iPhone 5S 16GB: the private copy levy represents 1.13% of the retail price, i.e. €8.

In return, it offers the freedom to make copies at will for no extra charge of any images, videos, series, musical works… for personal use only. Private copying is the interesting part of a smartphone!