The public registry of film and broadcasting, created by an law dated 22 February 1944, is maintained by the CNC.
Like a mortgage registry, the public registry ensures the public nature of acts, agreements and rulings relating to the production, distribution, representation and screening of audiovisual works.
An act may only be registered if the work to which it relates has itself been registered. While it is compulsory to register cinema films, registration for non-cinematographic audiovisual works, permitted since 1 January 1986, is optional.
The public registry does not judge the validity of acts published, and thus may only refuse to register them for reasons of form. But registration is a measure of the public nature of the act that does not eliminate any defects contained in the act published.
With this provision, registration is effective in two ways
- Binding effect upon third parties : if it is not registered, the agreement is not enforceable upon third parties. The courts have given a wide interpretation to the notion of "third parties".
- Chronological order of registrations: the act first registered prevails over acts registered subsequently, whatever the actual date of such acts.
The existence of the public registry has enabled an original system of securities to be implemented as to the pledging and assignment of receipts. This facilitates access to credit for professionals.