European Parliament declines to support audiovisual authors

Luke AlcottDSM, EU, News, SAA

In a vote on the Copyright Directive proposal, the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee (IMCO) have failed to vote positively on any of the amendments asking to ensure audiovisual (AV) authors are paid proportionally to the successful exploitation of their work. This disappointing move is a missed opportunity for MEPs to put their words of support for authors’ fairer earnings into action.

The amendments were recommended by MEPs from the two biggest parties in Parliament, and called for an ‘unwaivable right’ to remuneration for screenwriters and directors for the ongoing demand and exploitation of their works. Whilst the draft directive does propose new measures to give authors the right to be paid for the ongoing success of their work through an obligation to transparent reporting and contract renegotiation, there is concern that these measures will be ineffective without an amendment establishing an unwaivable right to remuneration.

It is of concern that if authors could be pressured to waive their right to remuneration this would make the new rights to transparency obligation and contract renegotiation ineffective. Without an unwaivable right to remuneration audiovisual authors may continue to see the ‘buyout’ contracts that are currently common in the industry which remove the writer from future rights to remuneration for their Intellectual Property (IP).

Cécile Despringre, SAA Executive Director of the Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA), responded: “This is a massive disappointment for European screenwriters and directors who were encouraged to see broad support for their needs in multiple committees. At best this was a disastrous administrative mistake, at worst it was the deliberate exclusion of the remuneration right from the vote. The supporters of European creators in the European Parliament now need to make sure that they work together to ensure that copyright in the digital single market doesn’t leave audiovisual authors behind.”

SAA Vice Chair, Patrick Raude added: “No-one ever contests that audiovisual authors should be paid fairly and that if their work is a success then they should be rewarded accordingly. This is rarely the case and today was a missed opportunity for MEPs to back up those words of support for creators with meaningful provisions that would make fair remuneration a reality. European authors are confident that the CULT committee will soon correct this enormous mistake and that eventually the Parliament will adopt this unwaivable right of remuneration for audiovisual authors”.

See the SAA statement.

The IAF has campaigned for fairer contracts for many years:

See IAF’s 10 Principles for Fair Contracts
IAF member Society of Authors’ (SoA) also have the C.R.E.A.T.O.R principles