Posts Tagged authors’ rights
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.
The last 10 days have seen more light shined on the European Commission’s copyright plans following a series of leaks – an Impact Assessment, a draft Directive, a draft Communication. The scope is broad, but the Commission has long promised that the issue of remuneration will be tackled.
Kind of. In the leaked texts, the Commission tackles transparency for authors and performers – an important part of what makes it difficult for authors to be paid fairly. However, and especially in the audiovisual sector, while transparency is of course good progress, it is not going to overcome many of the underlying challenges faced by screenwriters and directors.
SAA is going to demonstrate some of these challenges ahead of the Commission’s proposal, scheduled for 21st September. The current legislation is a great opportunity to go beyond transparency and actually strengthen the remuneration position of audiovisual authors. It would be a shame after so many grand declarations (here, here, here and here) for that opportunity to go to waste.
Keep an eye on our blog as well as our twitter feed @saabrussels and #AVauthorsRemuneration for more information.
The first copyright proposal of the European Commission is a Regulation to enable temporary access to subscription services from your home country while travelling in Europe. This is the essence of the Portability Regulation.
The Commission decided against (or maybe just postponed) a full on attack on territorial licensing of audiovisual works and went for a very short but focussed 8 article text. The Commission sees a communication win with this one, and rightly so, the Regulation is a gift to consumers, essentially acting as a limitation to authors’ rights. They want to see this adopted quickly.
The Dutch Presidency is happy to oblige and is racing through the text pushing it up to top political level (COREPER) already, leaving some countries struggling to keep up, while others try to form coalitions on key sticking points in the limited time available.
In the European Parliament however, time is seemingly not of the essence. After spending two months agreeing on which committee should lead on the file (legal affairs and not internal market in the end), the committees involved don’t seem to be following the same Dutch speed.
Given that timing seems to be important to the different institutions here, it seems only fitting that one of the key sticking points is time. That is, how long is the “temporary” in “temporary portability”?
The Commission chose to define “temporary” by referring to location only, with no reference to time.
Some Member States are happy with that, others less so. SAA certainly doesn’t feel comfortable with this.
As the character Papou in SAA Patron, Cédric Klapsich’s Russian Dolls said:
“Be careful, because the temporary, sometimes, can last a long time”
Papou : Fais attention, parce que le temporaire, des fois, ça dure longtemps.
A conversation on what we mean by “temporary” is essential. Are expats who have been away from their country so long that they can’t vote in referendums still only away on a temporary basis?
Maybe we can’t agree on a number of days but a definition of temporary that doesn’t refer to time seems pretty weak for a directly applicable Regulation.
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