In his State of the Union address on 14 September, Jean-Claude Juncker said: ‘As the world goes digital, we also have to empower our artists and creators and protect their works. Artists and creators are our crown jewels.’
The International Authors Forum is pleased to note that the European Commission has considered strengthening authors’ rights an important element of their new draft legislative proposals which are aimed at modernising copyright rules and allowing for greater access to works, particularly across borders via digital networks. The valuable work of the European Writers’ Council in Brussels who have lobbied the Commission hard on these issues should be lauded.
The centrepiece of the reforms is a proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market. Key measures introduced by the Directive include new mandatory exceptions to copyright for activities including digital uses of works for teaching purposes as well as better safeguards for authors’ rights.
The Society of Authors has promoted fair contracts in the UK (through their ‘CREATOR’ campaign for fair contracts) and the International Authors Forum’s ‘10 principles for Fair Contracts‘ are sound principles of best practice. We are pleased to see that the EU has acknowledged some of these pressing issues and this should be seen as a positive first step in the goal of strengthening authors’ rights, though as ever, there is always more to be done.