13 Nov 2009

European Commission Second call for comments on Fair compensation for acts of private copying

 FERA Contribution (April 2008)

The Federation of European Film Directors (FERA – Fédération Européenne des Réalisateurs de l’Audiovisuel in French) represents the interests of film and television directors in the European motion picture industry. FERA is the European Federation for national associations of television and cinema directors. It was funded in 1980 and now represents 32 associations as full members (and associate members) in 28 European countries.

FERA addresses issues of major importance in the creation and promotion of audiovisual works. FERA’s mission is to enhance the recognition of the cultural significance of audiovisual works and to defend their integrity in 21st century Europe. FERA represents directors as the primary creators of audiovisual works. The director, as the creative decision-maker in a collaborative artistic process, has the final responsibility for the aesthetic cohesion and artistic integrity of the work. FERA defends the art and craft, and the creative and economic rights of the director, as essential to the diversity of European audiovisual culture.

FERA has been surprised that DG Internal Market of the European Commission issued a second call for comments on private copying since most of the issues have already been discussed in the 2006 consultation. FERA feared that this new consultation process constitutes a new direct attack on the creative community after the tentative draft recommendation stopped by the President Barroso at the end of 200. Indeed, this new questionnaire raises again questions driven by the electronic devices’ manufacturers putting into question different elements which are essential parts of the private copying levy system. Very few questions address the benefits of the system or allow the creative community to present what its advantages are. In addition, lots of questions look technical and are in deed directed at Member States or individual collective management societies managing private copying remuneration and not at European professional organisations like FERA whose members are not collective management societies.

Nevertheless, to be positive, FERA expects that this second call for comments, apart from looking for possible updates in the European Commission information regarding private copying national schemes, could lead to a radical change of mind in the European Commission approach to private copying which would better understand the situation and needs of the creative community.

European film directors and the other intellectual property rights holders, firmly believe that the private copying levy system is crucial, today more than it has ever been. As a matter of fact, the development of new technologies is leading to an increase of the private copying usages and the interoperability of the different electronic systems and devices, pushed by the European Commission, induce more private copying, which can not be controlled by DRM systems.

FERA will only answer to the questions related to its field of interest and expertise.

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FERA Contribution private copying April 2008