The promotion of European cinema has always been an important concern of the cultural cooperation of the Council of Europe. It follows on from the European Convention on Cinema Coproduction of 2 October 1982 (ETS No. 147) and other resolutions concerning the same subject.
This Convention and its Protocol are centered around the principle of compulsory legal deposit of all moving-image material produced or coproduced and made available to the public in each signatory State. Legal deposit involves a requirement not just to deposit a reference copy with an officially designated archive but also to look after the material and do the necessary conservation work. In addition the material has to be available for consultation for academic or research purposes, subject to the international or national rules on copyright.
The Convention and its Protocol are the first binding international instruments in this field. They introduce systematic storage of audiovisual works in film archives, where the latest conservation and restoration technology can be used for long-term prevention of deterioration.