Influencers menores

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Children’s presence on social media is increasing to the point that, according to a Forbes ranking, the highest-paid YouTube star in 2019 was an 8-year old boy who earned USD 26 million.

France just passed Act 2020-1266, of October 19, 2020, on the commercial use of the image of children under 16 on online platforms (the “Act”) to (i) address the risks and challenges posed by the use of children for commercial purposes; and (ii) fill the existing legal gap. This Act, which is expected to enter into force in April 2021, intends to prevent the exploitation of child influencers online (including by their parents) and protect child influencers as much as labor laws protect underage actors and models.

Under this new Act, modifying the French Labor Code, anyone (including parents) recording videos featuring children under 16 with the aim of making money on video sharing platforms must request the relevant public authority’s prior authorization or otherwise may be fined.

The Act also provides that, if the direct and indirect earnings from the dissemination of these contents exceed the limits set by the Council of State, parents must declare their children’s activities and, if appropriate, deposit the profit (or part thereof) in the Caisse des dépôts et consignations. This Caisse will manage the funds until the child turns 18. The Act also requires that filming be compatible with the children’s school hours.

The Act also refers to advertisers placing products or videos featuring children under 16 in audiovisual programs on video sharing platforms. These advertisers must verify whether the earnings resulting from commercializing the video featuring the child are allocated to the person responsible for the broadcasting or, as required by the Act, to the child’s blocked account. Otherwise, the advertisers may be fined.

Video sharing platforms must (i) ensure that children receive appropriate information about their rights; (ii) try to make children aware of the psychological and legal impact of publishing their image online; and (iii) enable children under 16 to remove the videos in which they appear, even without their parents’ prior authorization.

Authors: Ana Sánchez and Miquel Peguera

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ana.sanchezrodriguez@cuatrecasas.com