[FR] Media chronology: health crisis prompts new film release window derogation

IRIS 2021-1:1/31

Amélie Blocman


The decision taken to close cinemas on 30 October on public health grounds brought a halt to film screenings in cinemas. In order to protect producers and distributors, and to enable the public to continue watching the films available at the time, a decree was issued on 27 November 2020 shortening by up to four weeks the four-month period before works can be released on VOD or DVD/Blu-Ray under Article 231-1 of the Cinema and Animated Images Code.

A similar measure had been taken under the emergency law passed on 23 March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, after cinemas had been ordered to close on 14 March.

At the start of November, the Syndicat de l’Edition Vidéo Numérique (Digital Video Production Union – SEVN) asked the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image – CNC) for a new derogation to media chronology rules to help the sector, which had been severely impacted by the health crisis.

Derogation requests must be sent to the CNC president by the holder of the video publishing rights, together with the following information and documents:

- the film’s title, licence number and date of cinema release;

- the date on which the film is due to be released on video.

The CNC can also be asked to grant a video derogation for eligible works, that is, films with fewer than 100 000 cinema viewings within the first four weeks following release. This derogation shortens all the relevant release windows.


This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.