International Authors Forum at Brussells 2016

Luke AlcottIAF, IFRRO

Report of the meeting

The International Authors Forum met in Brussels on 30 May 2016. In the absence of John Degen, IAF’s Chair, Owen Atkinson, Treasurer on the IAF Steering Committee, Chaired the meeting.

Katie Webb, IAF’s coordinator, updated members present on the latest IAF activities.

Katie Webb, Executive Administrator and Owen Atkinson, Treasurer, present IAF’s latest work in Brussels (May 2016)

Fair Contracts campaign

This was followed by an update on the campaign for fair contract terms for authors. Members were invited to review the new draft of the ‘Ten Principles for Fair Contracts’ document which has been revised to cover the concerns of visual artists and translators in addition to writers. Members have been invited to submit comments on this document by Monday 13 June.

IAF’s work at the World Intellectual Property Organisation

Katie then gave an update about IAF’s core lobbying and advocacy work, which takes place at the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva.

Public Lending Right Update

Jim Parker, Coordinator of the Public Lending Right (PLR) International Network, with whom IAF is working in partnership, gave an update on his work promoting PLR all over the world:

  • The role of the International PLR Network is to bring together the 32 countries with PLR systems and provide help and technical advice to countries looking to set up their first PLR system. 
  • PLR International holds two-yearly Network conferences, most recently in The Hague in September 2015. Hosted by Dutch PLR, the conference was attended by over 30 countries.
  • IAF and PLR International work in partnership to spread the word about PLR internationally. They also work alongside the European Writers’ Council (EWC) and the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), who also promote PLR nationally and internationally.
  • The aim of the partnership between PLR International and IAF is to persuade WIPO to include the setting up of a PLR system in its best practice advice to developing and other nations. To this end, Jim is working on a PLR ‘starter pack’ outlining how PLR works across the world, which we aim to have ready for a session on this subject at WIPO in November 2016.
  • Jim is also working with IFRRO on a minimum PLR requirement – a set of basic criteria that any PLR system must meet to be considered acceptable.
  • Successful ventures in the last year have included supporting IAF at an authors’ seminar in Puebla, Mexico, where we were able to bring PLR, fair contracts and other issues to a South American authors’ audience.
  • Jim recently represented International PLR at a PLR seminar in Hong Kong organised by the Hong Kong PLR Alliance aimed at supporting the campaign for PLR in Hong Kong. Establishing a successful PLR scheme in Hong Kong would be particularly significant as it would be the first PLR system in Asia and the Far East. Jim is also likely to be speaking at a PLR seminar in Vietnam later in the year.  
  • There is currently a case about ebooks and PLR before the European Court of Justice on which a ruling is expected later this month. It will decide whether ebooks are covered by the EU Lending Right Directive?