Creating a Living in Latin America: Session one

Athanasios VenitsanopoulosAuthors earnings, Copyright law, Fair contracts, IAF, News

On 24 November 2020, the first session of Creating a Living in Latin America, an online event with authors’ and creators’ organisations from Latin America, took place. Participants had the opportunity to share their experiences about the situation of authors’ rights in their countries.

In the first panel, Katie Webb, member of the International Authors Forum (IAF) Steering Committee and Director of Federazione Unitaria Italiana Scrittori (Italian Writers Federation), explained the objectives of IAF, how the organisation supports and gives a voice to authors at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and talked about IAF’s 10 Principles for Fair Contracts. Luke Alcott, IAF Secretariat, presented the report Creating a Living:Challenges for authors’ incomes, which features research developed by IAF with the support of the international authors’ community. It sets out the challenges that authors face when making a living from their work in their countries and suggests proposals that could help support them so that they can continue creating and live with dignity from their works. María Fernanda Mendoza, IAF Consultant for Latin America, then spoke about the copyright situation in Latin America and the need to build a network of creators’ organisations for the protection and defence of their rights.

In the second panel, authors in Latin America including Felene Cayetano, Belizean writer; Jorge Comensal, Mexican Writer; Carlos Wynter Melo, Panamanian writer and editor; Débora Mundani, writer and member of the Union of Argentine Writers; Gabriel Torem, translator and representative of Argentina’s Association of Translators and Interpreters; Maria del Mar Gámiz, Treasurer of the Mexican Association of Literary Translators; and Poly Bernatene, Vice President of the Association of Cartoonists of Argentina, spoke about the challenges and opportunities for authors in their respective countries.

Each speaker gave the perspective of authors in their country. Felene Cayateno discussed the situation of the writers in Belize, public lending right and access to the digital market; Jorge Comensal commented on poor awareness among authors in Mexico, including their rights and the reality of unfair contracts; Carlos Wynter Melo covered the challenges for Central American authors to distribute their books and how the technology can benefit authors. Débora Mundani spoke about copyright in Argentina and the importance of it to sustain cultural diversity. Gabriel Torem from Argentina and Mar Gámiz from Mexico explained the situation faced by translators in the region, the lack of respect for their rights as authors and the need for authors and translators of native languages to be recognised and protected. Finally, Poly Bernatene explained the situation of cartoonists and illustrators and the actions that their organisations have had to take to be recognised as authors as well.

You can watch the first and the second panels of the discussion below:

Creating a Living in Latin America: IAF presentations

Creating a Living in Latin America: Challenges and opportunities for authors in Latin America

Read more about the second session of this event here.