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The French Publishers Association (SNE) is France's trade association of book publishers. It represents approximately 575 member companies whose combined business endeavors account for the bulk of French publishing.
The SNE's missions include :
- advocating publishers' interests,
- supporting creativity by defending freedom to publish and promoting the respect of intellectual property rights,
- promoting and defending the fixed book price,
- promoting literacy.
The SNE represents the French publishing profession as a member of both the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) and the International Publishers Association (IPA).
The SNE is led by a group of representatives from member companies. It extends membership to businesses that are officially registered as publishers (full members), as well as to those who count publishing as a secondary activity (associate members).
Freedom to publish
The SNE defends freedom to publish in France and abroad and is undertaking several actions in this area:
Advocacy for a relaxing of French regulations concerning child-oriented publications or those likely to be harmful to minors
Raising awareness of judges about the risks of judicial harassment in the publishing sector
State publishing (the issue of competition of state publishers towards private publishers)
Interventions at the international level via the Freedom to Publish Committee of the International Publishers Association (IPA)
- Duration of Copyright
- Combating piracy and supporting the enforcement of intellectual property rights
- Photographs and privacy infringement
- Public lending right
- Compensation for private copying
- Reproduction rights
- DRM and Rights Management
- Protection of personal data and freedom to publish
- European Working Group on legal deposit of digital publications
- "Open access" trends
- Accessibility initiatives
- Monitoring of WIPO activities
- Monitoring of UNESCO activities
- Participation in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
- Digitization initiatives by Google and projects of digital European libraries
Fixed book price system
According to the August 10, 1981 French law concerning the fixed book price system, any person publishing or importing a book in France is compelled to set a fixed retail price for the book in question. This price must be respected by all retailers, who are required to limit discounts to a maximum of 5% of the retail price fixed by the publisher.
The regulation on fixed book pricing aims at:
promoting the equality of all citizens vis-à-vis a given book, which is to be made available at the same price throughout the country;
preserving a dense and decentralized distribution system that is present in disadvantaged zones as well as more prosperous areas;
supporting pluralism in creative endeavors, and particularly in publishing, of more demanding books.
Today, this regime is widely accepted and enjoys popular support in France. Its conformity with European law was confirmed by the European Court of Justice in 1985.
The SNE actively promotes cultural diversity and in particular the fixed book price system within various international fora.
An open conception of cultural diversity
The SNE promotes an open conception of cultural diversity, that is to say one which does not aim at isolating cultures behind rigid protectionist measures. Indeed the precondition for cultural exchange is that each culture be allowed to develop in its own way with the help of public cultural policies. In France, books thus benefit from the fixed book price system, a reduced VAT rate and a certain government subsidies.
The SNE's Social Committee represents publishers via joint committees, in which union members are also part. The first agreement on publishing collectives was signed in 1936 between the SNE and relevant unions and has been revised several times since then. A National Joint Conciliation Committee is responsible for interpreting the agreement and examining both individual and collective disputes. In addition, a separate joint Committee is responsible for implementing regulations in the field of employment and training. Publishers and unions meet each year to negotiate salaries.
The SNE Economic Committee focuses mainly on studies and statistics, on the book trade as well as on accounting and taxation issues. In 2004-2005, it worked on the question of the fiscal definition of books, which is a criterion for determining the reduced VAT rate.