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Authors hope copyright directive first step to better pay

Ljubljana, 6 March - Authors of audiovisual works from across the EU held a meeting in Ljubljana this week to discuss the forthcoming EU directive on copyrights on the digital market. The legislation was described as a step in the right direction, in particular towards better pay.

Pauline Durand-Vialle, CEO of the Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), and Cecile Despringre, executive director of the Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA), stressed fairer and proportional pay as the main benefits of the new directive.

It will also make the system more transparent in that authors will get insight into how widely their works are used, which they can then leverage in future contracts on royalties.

Durand-Vialle stressed that if authors find previously agreed remuneration disproportional to revenue from their works, they may demand proportional and fair compensation.

But Despringre also noted this could be a trap, since the regulation of rights differs depending on country. For example, Slovenia has a system of compensation for private reproduction of copyrighted works, but it is not being implemented.

After the directive is adopted, "bitter fighting" will therefore follow at the national level for implementation, she said. At the same time, this will be an opportunity to update copyright legislation.

Urša Menart, the president of the Directors' Guild of Slovenia, said it was useful authors will have access to information about the use of their works, since this will make it easier for them to negotiate.

As a prelude to the work at the national level, the meeting featured presentations on the regulatory environment in Denmark, France, Germany and Poland in view of the implementation of the directive across EU member states.

David Kavanagh, the director of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, said each member state would have to draw up a new basic law governing copyright, which would be very demanding considering how fast the digital market is changing.

He noted that the success of implementation would translate into money: creators are the storytellers of the 21st century and content providers depend on their work, which is why they now have the chance to demand more respect for their work and better pay.

The two-day event was organised by the Directors' Guild of Slovenia and AIPA, a Slovenian collective rights organisation, in conjunction with several European groups.

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© STA, 2019