EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, in charge of culture, education, youth and sport, received a delegation from the Authors’ Group member associations ECSA, EFJ, EWC, FERA and FSE on May 2 2016. The high-level official meeting included an exchange of views on the state of the art of the modernisation of the EU copyright acquis. Key elements of the discussion was the new narrative for transparency in remuneration flows for authors and the importance to set legal mechanisms ensuring fair contracts for creators. Representatives of the journalists, composers, authors, film-directors and screenwriters all pointed out that the “value gap” first happens between authors and publishers and producers and that this gap is due to unfair contracts forcing authors to transfer all their rights for an indefinite period and for unknown use.
FERA CEO and David Kavanagh, representative of the Federation of European Screenwriters both stressed the weak bargaining position of authors and the lack of income through online exploitation of their works.Whilst Alfons Karabuda, President of ECSA, pointed out that fair contracts are essential for cultural diversity, Myriam Diocaretz, Secretary General of the European Writers Council stressed that fair contracts benefit consumers too, as they have legal certainty that value reaches the creators. Commissioner Navracsics was also briefed by Renate Schröder, Director of the European Federation of Journalists, that fighting unfair contracts of freelance journalists is essential to safeguard quality journalism, which is an indispensable element of democracy.
Commissioner Navracsics confirmed that the issue of remuneration for authors is crucial and that the fight for a better contractual situation of creators must be set as priority. Both, the Commissioner and the representatives of the Authors’ Group, examined in great detail possibilities of what the Commission needs to do in legal terms regarding the upcoming copyright reform planned for the second half of 2016.
photo credit: Georges Boulougouris