ECSA, EFJ, EWC, FERA and FSE Press Release 14/09/2016
The European Commission presented on 14 September its proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market. The Authors’ Group* – representing more than 500 000 authors, including writers, literary translators, composers, songwriters, journalists, photographers, film/TV directors and screenwriters in Europe – welcomes the directive, in particular the proposal to address the key issue of creators’ weak bargaining position in their contractual relationships and fair remuneration in contracts.
The Authors’ Group supports the European Commission’s commitment to address problems related to the forced transfer of rights of authors to publishers, producers and broadcasters. Achieving a well-functioning market-place for copyright must start with establishing a system that allows fair contractual practices for authors and performers, who are affected by a weak bargaining position when assigning their rights to publishers, producers and broadcasters.
The introduction of a mandatory reporting obligation detailing the revenues generated and remuneration due will create more transparency and is a prerequisite for authors and performers to adjust unfair contractual agreements. These new provisions will constitute, together with a dispute resolution mechanism, an indispensable first step in order to create more sustainable conditions for Europe’s creators, who are the origin of Europe’s cultural and creative industries. However, authors need further mechanisms against unfair copyright contracts and the undersigning organizations are looking forward to working with the European Parliament and Council in this respect.
The Authors’ Group also welcomes the provisions of the directive clarifying the liability of online platforms but considers that substantial work remains to be done with regards to proportionate remuneration of authors, particularly for the online exploitation of their works.
The Members of the Authors’ Group are ECSA (European Composer & Songwriter Alliance), EFJ (European Federation of Journalists), EWC (European Writers’ Council), FERA (Federation of Film Directors in Europe) and FSE (Federation of Screenwriters Europe).
The European Commission has proposed two directives and two regulations to adapt the EU copyright rules to the realities of the Digital Single Market:
—Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market - COM(2016)593
—Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules on the exercise of copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and retransmissions of television and radio programmes - COM(2016)594
The Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market is available on the EC website:
Impact Assessment Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3
Impact assessment – Executive Summary
The regulation and related documents are available here:
—The Marrakesh treaty for people with print disabilities will be implemented in EU law via a Directive and a Regulation:
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain permitted uses of works and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled and amending Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society - COM(2016)596
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the cross-border exchange between the Union and third countries of accessible format copies of certain works and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled - COM(2016)595
The proposals will be discussed by the European Parliament and the European Council in the next stages of the EU legislative process.
Following the European Commission’s public consultation on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain held from 23/03/2016 to 15/06/2016, the European Writers’ Council wishes to communicate the views of the European authors, namely, writers and literary translators, in the context of the EC’s aim to “achieve a well-functioning market place for copyright.”
Authors should be paid for online uses of their copyright protected works. An author’s right to receive compensation for secondary uses should be unwaivable and non-transferable, other than for the purposes of collective administration.
The EWC statement refers more specifically to the EC’s consideration of introducing a new neighbouring right for publishers.
EWC Statement PDF
The Creators Conference 2016 concluded (31.05.2016) after a productive day of panels, interviews and speeches by prominent artists, experts and policy makers discussing the current issues faced by the European creators’ community and the cultural and creative industries.
Held under the High Patronage of the European Parliament and with the support of the Creative Europe Programme, the high-level event brought together over 200 participants to reinforce the dialogue between creators, consumers and EU policy makers about European authors’ essential needs with regards to their rights and the digital future.
The Authors’ Group (ECSA, EFJ, EWC, FERA, and FSE) welcomed European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip in charge of the Digital Single Market for a keynote speech in which the Commissioner confirmed the “need to look closer at the conditions for remunerating creators and getting a fair share of the value generated”. Vice-President Ansip also stressed the “follow the money approach” and “widening access to content” for consumers as key elements to fight piracy, as well as the challenges related to online platforms. As for the latter, Vice-President Ansip stressed the “plan to ensure a level-playing field” and to “adapt existing rules to similar and comparable services”.
The Authors' Group took the opportunity to present Commissioner Ansip with its newly adopted Declaration « Towards a modern, more European copyright framework and the necessity of fair contracts for creators ».
The different sessions of the day prompted lively discussions about artistic freedom, digital opportunities, and fairness in authors’ contracts as well as sustainability in the exploitation of authors’ works online, where European creators shared their views and experience of the digital shift.Experts and policy makers shed light on possible developments of the cultural and creative industries, and recognized that European authors have found their rightful place in the current debate on the copyright legislative framework review.
This year’s edition of the Creators Conference was hosted by the European Composer & Songwriter Alliance (ECSA), in alliance with the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European Writers’ Council (EWC), the Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE), and Freemuse.
To access the full text of the Speech by Vice-President Ansip at the Creators’ Conference:
The 2016 European Prize for Literature Awards Ceremony took place at Concert Noble, Rue d'Arlon 82, 1000 Bruxelles, on 31st May 2016.
We were delighted to receive the 12 winning authors from Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.
The ceremony was an opportunity to bring writers from all these cultures together, all with one thing in common: their love for literature.
Our winning authors were presented with their awards by Mr. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport; in the presence of Mrs. Anneli Jäätteenmäki, MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, and Mrs. Marjan Hammersma, Director General of Culture and Media at the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, for the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The anthology is available in PDF: http://www.euprizeliterature.eu/
As the consortium selected by the European Commission to coordinate the initiative, the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), the European Writers' Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) are jointly responsible for the setting up of the national juries and the practical organisation of the award ceremony. For more information: http://www.euprizeliterature.eu/
EWC, ECSA, EFJ, FERA and FSE issue their joint Declaration. Brussels.
On 31 May 2016, at the 2016 Creators’ Conference the Authors' Group took the opportunity to present Commissioner Ansip with its newly adopted Declaration «Towards a modern, more European copyright framework and the necessity of fair contracts for creators».
The joint Declaration highlights the common-ground of the different cultural sectors’ creators they represent, calling the European Commission to
take action for fair remuneration, fair contracts and transparency in its upcoming copyright legislative proposal.
About the Authors’ Group
The Authors’ Group represents more than 500 000 authors, including composers, film directors, journalists, literary translators, songwriters,
screenwriters and writers in Europe. Members of the Group are ECSA (European Composer & Songwriter Alliance),
EFJ (European Federation of Journalists), EWC (European Writers’ Council), FERA (Federation of Film Directors in Europe)
and FSE (Federation of Screenwriters Europe).
At its Plenary Session of 7-8 April 2016, the Committee of the Regions adopted an Opinion on the "Modernisation of EU copyright rules". The rapporteur for this opinion was Arnoldas Abramavicius (LT/EPP), Member of Zarasai District Municipal Council.
As part of their preliminary analysis, on 19 January 2016, the CoR held a hearing with invited stakeholders, who answered many questions on different aspects of the EC Communication published in December 2015: “Towards a modern, more European copyright framework COM(2015) 626 – final”
The authors’ associations selected for the hearing were: EWC, EFJ, and ECSA. Additional organisations included consumer representatives, CMOs, SMEs’, Media companies, publishers, booksellers, cultural heritage institutions (libraries), and the Young Pirates.
The full text of the opinion will shortly be available in all EU language versions on the CoR.europa.eu website.
On 9 December 2015, the EU Commission published a Communication to the European Parliament and the Council entitled “Towards a modern, more European copyright framework”.
The Authors’ Group is the prime EU Authors’ network representing more than 500 000 authors, including writers, literary translators, composers, songwriters, journalists, film directors and screenwriters in Europe.
The Authors’ Group welcomes the EU Commission Communication, particularly as it addresses several problems in light of the digital environment. Thus, it understands that achieving a well-functioning market-place for copyright depends on establishing a system allowing fair remuneration for authors and performers, who are affected by a weak bargaining position when assigning their rights to publishers and producers.
The Authors’ Group calls upon the EU Commission to act to ensure at EU level a better protection of authors against unfair contracts. Achieving a modern, more European copyright framework fully depends on how authors are treated and remunerated in a highly competitive marketplace. The Authors’ Group is ready to work with the EU Commission and all interested parties to this end.
The undersigning organizations take note and support the EU Commission’s announcement of examining possible definitions of the ‘making available’ and ‘communication to the public’ rights with the objective that value be fairly shared when copyright protected works are exploited on online distribution channels and online platforms involving the commercial re-use or retransmission of copyright-protected content. Concerning the issue of providing an effective and balanced enforcement system, the Authors’ Group believes that the approach laid down by the Communication, especially with regards to the ‘follow-the-money’ and ‘notice and stay-down’ approaches, provides a sensible way in order to achieve the given objective.
The Authors’ Group also takes note of the EU Commission’s view to ensure that copyright-protected content is more easily accessed on a cross-border basis as well as more ‘portable’. Whilst not disclosed in greater detail how this objective can be achieved, the Authors’ Group wishes to emphasize that the principles of territoriality of copyright shall not be questioned. The authors’ future, especially in the audio-visual sector, fully depend on new productions, which rely largely on territorial licensing. In this context, the Authors’ Group encourages the EU Commission and the relevant stakeholders to join efforts in order to ensure that consumers can access author’s works as widely as possible throughout the EU.
Finally, the Authors’ Group wishes to emphasize that any discussion on further exceptions to the exclusive rights of authors must firstly contain an impact assessment of the potential loss of revenues for authors and other right holders. Author’s rights is a law dedicated to authors and their works of arts and it must be taken into consideration that weakening the exclusive rights will result in a loss of income to authors, less value for the cultural and creative industries and ultimately a diminishing European repertoire of cultural works of music, literature and film.
Signatories: The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) - The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) – The European Writers’ Council (EWC) - The Federation of European Film Directors (FERA) - The Federation of Screenwriters Europe (FSE).