Europe is in the process of changing legislation on authors’ rights / copyright in Europe. The texts refer to the need for sector specific solutions for authors in different sectors.
This is also the starting point for SAA’s infographic on audiovisual authors’ remuneration (available in English, French, German and Spanish with a video here). The infographic focuses on screenwriters and directors but, as is often the case in Europe, the situation is a little bit more complicated than that.
So who are the authors of an audiovisual work?
In the countries where SAA has members, this means that directors, screenwriters and music composers are always audiovisual authors. Given that composers have their rights managed by music societies, SAA focusses on the needs of:
But, as shown above, in some countries other contributors, e.g. the director of photography or the costume designer can be an audiovisual author too.
Together, SAA’s members manage rights for
Not only are these the people behind our favourite films, documentaries and TV series, but they are also at the source of Europe’s creativity as well as its cultural and linguistic diversity. Some examples:
See SAA’s infographic [FR, ES], and keep an eye on this blog to find out more about the working lives of audiovisual authors and the challenges they face.
Ahead of the European Commission’s copyright announcements, SAA today publishes its infographic on audiovisual authors’ remuneration.
The Commission has made many calls to improve authors’ remuneration. It now seems that they are satisfied with a transparency triangle of 1) exploitation transparency, 2) contract adjustment mechanism, 3) an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. As we have already said, this transparency triangle is certainly not a bad thing and is an absolute minimum. Were the transparency triangle to lose a corner then it would be useless. But it is not direct remuneration. It is not money in the pockets of creators from day 1.
SAA’s remuneration infographic gathers together the results from various studies from across Europe. While screenwriters and directors are the original rightsholders behind our favourite films, documentaries and TV series, it seems that across Europe they are being disconnected from ongoing remuneration based on the exploitation of their works. Worse still, less creators are able to make a living solely from their creative endeavours and more are being asked to work for free.
Both the Commission and the Parliament have recognised this is a problem but, if the leaks are anything to go by, the proposal doesn’t tackle the underlying problem – a weak negotiating position.
Often freelancers, working in isolation, screenwriters and directors are not well placed to defend their own interests against very big and increasingly vertically integrated players with billions of Euros in turnover. The lump sum contracts that authors are increasingly asked to sign, or even the good contracts with planned ongoing remuneration that some authors are able to negotiate but not enforce, won’t be fixed by a law that leaves the authors alone to enforce their rights.
Screenwriters and directors need to be able to act collectively to enforce their rights. There is a real fear that individuals who stand up for their rights are marked as trouble makers and can be blacklisted. The Dutch and German laws that include best-seller clauses both enable collective action. Without it, any such provision is practically useless unless an author at the end of their career can be found to set a precedent.
The infographic shows how essential it is for authors to act collectively to create the conditions for fair remuneration for their works throughout Europe. This is why the Commission’s copyright proposal can make a concrete and positive response to the authors, through the recognition of the unwaivable right to compensation for all European authors as presented in SAA’s 2015 white paper.
Europe has a strong tradition of producing great story tellers, SAA’s infographic tries to tell their story and show how Europe can keep them telling stories in the digital future.
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