EU copyright reform – First good step to empower creators - wrong way on cultural diversity
Entertainment unions affiliated to UNI Global Union and its European region UNI Europa welcome the Commission’s proposal on “copyright in the Digital Single Market” as a constructive proposal for discussion with Parliament and Council to reform EU copyright rules.
Trade unions applaud the Commission’s courage recognising the need to take legal measures that can empower authors and performers to negotiate better contracts in order to ensure fair remuneration.
William Maunier, President of the media and entertainment unions affiliated to UNI Europa said: “The provisions on fair remuneration in contracts of authors and performers are not a magic box, which will bring about fair remuneration to all creators tomorrow. However, it is a first and important step to tackle the structural imbalance in our industries, which leaves many creators with no choice but to accept the terms and conditions imposed on them. Buy-out contracts deprive creators of any participation in the economic success of their works. This practice cements unfairness and needs to stop. The Commission finally addresses this dysfunction of the Internal Market.”
Downstream revenue from the distribution of creative content online will become more important as the digital economy evolves. Thus, fair remuneration in contracts covering distribution of content online will play a bigger role in securing revenue for creators in order to sustain their careers in a highly volatile freelance market.
“We call on Member States and Members of the European Parliament” to support and improve the Commission proposals on fair remuneration” said Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa. “To ensure fair remuneration in practice, we call for Member States to take measures that not only enable individual (re-)negotiations of contracts but which provide for collective bargaining mechanisms including in dispute resolution. Collective agreements stand for fair remuneration. They are the best means to empower creators.” Roethig added.
While the Commission is going in the right direction with its proposals on remuneration, it is heading the wrong way in regulating the distribution of content in the Digital Single Market.
UNI MEI is concerned that the Commission’s plans to apply to online services the principles enshrined in the Satellite and Cable Directive, especially its Country of Origin Principle will force the application of a legal regime established for satellite and cable to an entirely different environment.
“We believe that the capacity of producers, broadcasters and distributors to continue to finance, produce and distribute content in Europe under the proposed rules will be hampered” said Johannes Studinger, Head of UNI MEI Global Union. “Territoriality of copyright is the key pillar for financing audiovisual works, in particular co-productions, productions of smaller budget size and audiovisual works for smaller linguistic groups. We fear that the proposed rules would mean less investment in original production, mainstreaming of content and that they could lead to repressing smaller sized productions, including those, which are publicly co-financed”, Studinger added.
We will continue to work with the EU Institutions to protect the integrity of authors’ rights, foster fair remuneration and promote cultural diversity.