A necessary framework to fill a legal void
If the law is fundamental, it is because the exploitation of children under the age of 16 on the various social media was not yet governed by any obligation. However, many Youtube channels and Instagram accounts offer content made for and by children and generate significant income.
This bill would extend the regime for children in the entertainment and film industry to include child influencers. Far from moralizing parents who put their children forward on the networks, the idea here is to provide status and protection to child influencers who have a large online community.
As in the case of performing children, the primary objective is that the child should have access to quality schooling, leisure time, and limited working hours.
Child Influencers: What will change concretely?
The six articles of the proposed law, therefore, establish a framework for child influencers. While certain rules need to be clarified, we already know the few essential points that should become mandatory in the coming months:
- Authorisation required. The exploitation of children under the age of 16 on the networks will henceforth be subject to authorisation from the Commission for Children in the Entertainment Industry. Failure to comply with this obligation on the part of legal representatives may be punished by 5 years imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros.
- Management of working hours. The draft law provides for a framework for the daily and weekly working hours of children with influence. A model that should be based on that of child models.
- Revenue management. Income generated directly or indirectly by child influencers must be paid to the Caisse des dépôts et consignations until they reach the age of majority. This includes advertising revenues such as partnerships. Details are to be specified, in particular on the possibility of a levy in case of emergency or the payment of a minority share of the income to legal representatives. But the main idea is there: the income, as in the world of entertainment, must accrue to the child on reaching the age of majority.
- Use of the platforms. Platforms should be able to clearly identify content produced by children and create information protocols for parents and child influencers.
- Right to oblivion. The last important point that the Senate came to stress: the right of children to withdraw the content they have produced. Here again, the platforms must be able to act quickly to apply this right to oblivion in a systematic way.
Some blurred areas to be specified
There is no vote against this necessary legislation, which should be passed quickly. A few points need to be clarified, in particular the distinction between a child as an influencer and the use of his or her child by an influencer.
The Council of State must also define a threshold to distinguish the amateur from the child who produces content professionally. This threshold could be based on the number and duration of the content generated or the income derived from this activity.
If some contours are to be defined, this law validated by the Senate is welcome in the face of the absence of regulations protecting child influencers. The effects will probably soon be felt, particularly in terms of the flow of content proposed by child influencers, which will logically be reduced following the regulation of their working hours.
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