Writers, translators, audio-visual authors, journalists, composers, visual artists, and their organisations from the countries of the European Union and other European countries, gathered in Brussels on September 20 2006 on the occasion of the 4th European Conference of Creators’ Organisations on AUTHORS’ RIGHTS AND THE EUROPEAN AGENDA 2007-2013
- generally welcome the current initiatives by the European Commission to facilitate the dissemination of information and culture in the digital environment and to create an open and competitive market for online content
- appreciate the great importance attached by the Commission and the European Parliament to the role of the cultural/creative industries and agree that only an efficient and transpar-ent market will enable authors, artists and their industry partners to reap a fair award for their talents and skills, thereby creating new inducement for the kind of innovative and creative content production which will strengthen the quality and the competitiveness of Europe’s content sector
- are, however, deeply concerned about the Commission’s strong focus on collective management of authors' rights as an obstacle to free competition in a single market for online content, the rising demands from the user community for free content and the publishers’ and producers’ drive for single control administrated through DRM
- underline that authorship is the source of all creative industries and stress that much stronger focus should be on the negative impact caused by legislation and bad contractual practices which eliminate the competition elements in favour of authors when exercising their authors' rights as the effective bargaining tools they should be
- stress that fair treatment and involvement of all creators of content either directly or through their representative organisations should be the guiding principles of all the Commission’s initiatives and that consideration should be given to establishing some sort of support for contractual relationships
- support the Commission’s Digital Library initiative to make Europe’s cultural and scientific heritage accessible to all but underline that for works that are not in public domain this should preferably be achieved on the basis of consent from authors and other rightsholders through voluntary contractual solutions supported by collective licensing schemes and collective management
- recognise the Commission’s Recommendation on the Collective Management of Music for suggesting possible ways of facilitating the cross-border licensing of music to commercial entities
- express, however, deep concern that the Recommendation undervalues the importance that nationally based collecting societies have as trusted partners for authors and for cultural diversity, thereby also undervaluing the findings of the Echerer report of the European Par-liament, which emphasised the fiduciary, and social and cultural, role of collecting societies
- call upon the Commission to take into account that collective societies for rational reasons are natural monopolies, closely controlled by national governments, which minimise trans-action costs for both users and rightsholders, and guarantee equal access to an extensive and diverse repertoire of works
- share the concern of the European Parliament that the Recommendation, in its present form, could harm cultural diversity within the European Union and therefore call upon the Commission to respond positively to the work of the European Parliament in this area, including taking full account of the KEA study commissioned by the Parliament
- emphasise the readiness of creators' organisations to work together in seeking viable solutions in co-operation with their industry partners in an effort to develop standard model agreements and other agreed solutions which will enhance the functioning of both business models and collective licensing schemes
- offer their active support for any European initiative strengthening and raising awareness for authors’ rights
- appreciate the Commission’s “Copyright Levy Reform Programme" insofar as it can be useful to review from time to time whether any changes are needed in European remuneration systems especially in view of technological developments, but stress that any curtailment of the application of levy systems in the EU would directly harm European creators
- point out that the levy schemes work well in the 21 out of 25 Member States who have in-troduced them and that there is no evidence that levies distort the internal market
- call upon the Commission to adopt a more open-minded approach in its evaluation of the replies of interested parties including those of the authors’ societies before deciding whether any and if so what further action is needed.
On the basis of these considerations the participants in the 4th European Conference of Creators’ Organisations on AUTHORS’ RIGHTS AND THE EUROPEAN AGENDA 2007-2013 call upon the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers
- to respect and support the ongoing work on developing a collective vision for viable and fair standard contractual and collective licensing schemes which will enable the authors and other rightsholders to remain in control of their works and which at the same time will meet the legitimate interests of users, giving them an incentive to use legal channels
- to secure that any legislative measures aimed at making works available to the public
either through libraries or other ways will guarantee authors and other rightsholders equitable remuneration for the digitisation and making available of their works.
This conference has been a follow-up to the Conferences on CULTURE AND RIGHTS in Barcelona in 1994,
AUTHORS’ RIGHTS AND THEIR MANAGEMENT IN THE INFORMATION SOCIETY in Dublin in 1996,
and AUTHORS’ RIGHTS AND THEIR MANAGEMENT IN EUROPE in Strasbourg in 2000.
Brussels, 21st September 2006