Monday

24th Apr 2017

Focus

Authors urge EU to protect rights against pirates

  • Collective copyrights in the EU are estimated to be worth €4.6 billion out of a global industry worth €7.5 billion. (Photo: European Commission)

Film directors and screenwriters should be guaranteed minimum intellectual property rights by EU law, according to a group of leading trade organisations representing authors.

In a joint statement issued Tuesday (10 April) by the Society of Audiovisual Authors, the Federation of European Film Directors and the Federation of Screenwriters Europe, the three groups called for EU legislation to provide equitable rights payments for authors, adding that this should come alongside "enforceable rights, fair contracts and stronger resistance to arguments put out by the pirate lobby."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The statement comes in advance of a hotly anticipated EU directive on collective rights.

The three organisations, which together represent almost 150,000 film and television screenwriters and directors, as well as royalty-collecting societies across Europe, want the EU to tighten legislation on authors' rights. In particular, they are demanding an EU-wide ban on "buyout contracts," in which authors receive a flat fee in exchange for giving up exploitation rights for their work, usually to film or TV producers.

The authors' groups also want a legally-binding "Right to Equitable Remuneration" payable to authors, to be negotiated by national collecting societies. They added that legislation should be put in place to allow collective bargaining by authors' groups to establish minimum rates and conditions in contracts arguing that the current rules mean that "most authors' contracts are signed under considerable pressure."

The ownership of exploitation rights has been a controversial issue in copyright law for many years.

However, in February a ruling by the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice judged that EU law guarantees exploitation rights to directors and writers who are also entitled to "fair compensation" from the revenue of their work.

The case, which was brought by the Commercial Court of Vienna, hinged on a dispute between a film director and a producer over the ownership of rights of a film dealing with German war photography during the Second World War in which the producer claimed exclusive intellectual property rights.

The co-ordinated move comes as the European Commission is set to propose legislation on collective rights management. Internal market commissioner Michel Barnier told MEPs at the Strasbourg plenary session in February to expect legislation within weeks, after the commission concluded a public consultation.

The commission proposal is expected to set out governance rules for copyright societies and develop new rules to allow multi-territory online music and video licensing. Collective copyrights in the EU are estimated to be worth €4.6 billion out of a global industry worth €7.5 billion.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament's culture committee is currently debating a report by French centre-right MEP Jean Marie Cavada on the commission's 2011 green paper on collective rights management and the status of audiovisual works.

Presenting his report in March, Cavada said that "the parliament unequivocally acknowledges the need to protect authors' rights" adding that "we must now focus our effort on providing legal certainty in the online environment in Europe and make sure that there is not inequality of treatment between the online and offline markets."

Let people download music by text message, says EP report

MEPs to focus on providing legal certainty in the online environment in Europe. The EU should allow people to pay for downloaded music by text message, according to a European Parliament report on the audiovisual sector.

Pressure mounts on EU cloud deal as deadline looms

The European Commission is under pressure to keep to its self-imposed September deadline to publish an EU cloud computing strategy, as new evidence revealed widespread public confusion about it.

Investigation

Illicit Russian money poses threat to EU democracy

It cost €11 million to help Le Pen campaign in elections, but it cost the Russian mafia less than €100,000 to hire a former UK attorney general to lobby against EU sanctions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  2. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  3. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  4. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  5. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  6. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  7. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  9. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  10. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  11. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsTime to Turn the Tide and End Repression of Central Asia's Civil Society

Latest News

  1. Russia threat triggers European military spending hike
  2. Voters 'change face' of French politics
  3. France holds nail-biting 'anti-system' vote
  4. Le Pen-Putin friendship goes back a long way
  5. Mogherini should tell Russians their rights matter
  6. Le Pens Freunde aus dem Trump Tower
  7. Sexe et mensonges: l'information russe sur l'UE
  8. Report: Post-Brexit payments, ECJ jurisdiction could last years