On 12 September, MEPs will vote in plenary on the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. FERA, FSE and SAA call on the European Parliament to foster European creation in the digital age and effectively promote the right for authors to a fair and proportionate remuneration.
Should we consider it normal and fair for a young European author – director or screenwriter – to earn on average less than €15,000 a year? If they can sustain a career, this rises to €30,000 for men and €24,000 for women at the age of 50, where it then drops again to less than €15,000 at 65. These figures show that the European remuneration system in place does not reflect the reality of audiovisual authors’ work and the multi-platform exploitation of their works. This needs to change.
The General Data Protection Regulation has rightly protected Internet users by adopting strict rules on the protection of personal data. Now, Europe must also foster a sustainable environment for European creation – as well as authors’ ability to make a living from their work.
The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market provides an adapted and balanced regulatory framework that does not call into question any of the digital freedoms of users. On the contrary, it builds a future that guarantees the audience’s access to creative works while strengthening the freedom to create.
Chapter 3 of the Directive in particular, as adopted by the Legal Affairs’ committee, makes a real difference for authors and would guarantee that screenwriters and filmmakers are better remunerated for the online exploitation of their works.
Firstly, the Directive improves transparency in the copyright value chain; an issue illustrated by a recent study in France showing that 79% of documentary filmmakers never receive information about the exploitation of their works. It also introduces a contract adjustment mechanism in order for authors and performers to claim additional remuneration when the original agreement is disproportionately low compared to the revenues derived from the exploitation of their work or performance.
Secondly, it includes a much-needed right to fair and proportionate remuneration for authors and performers. Several Member States already have a general principle of fair and proportionate remuneration and/or specific mechanisms providing additional remuneration to authors for the exploitation of their works. However, national legislation is too limited to have a real impact at EU level, in particularly online.
The compromise amendments adopted in the Legal Affairs’ committee on authors and performers’ remuneration are therefore essential to improve the situation of authors in the European Cultural and Creative Industries and must be confirmed by the European Parliament when adopting its position on 12 September. Further delaying this vote or failing to find a common line on the other issues of the Directive would simply erase this achievement as no time would be left for the final adoption of the Directive before the European elections.
Our organisations, representing audiovisual authors across Europe, call on the European Parliament to adopt its position on the Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market on 12 September. A positive vote would send a strong signal that the European Parliament defends creation and cultural diversity and put authors at the heart of copyright.