The Authors’ Group Welcomes the EU Directive Proposal on Copyright

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).

European Commission issues proposals for two EU Directives and two EU Regulations to adapt the EU Copyright Rules

14/09/2016
 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:
https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/proposal-directive-european-parliament-and-council-copyright-digital-single-market

Related Documents:
Impact Assessment Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3
Impact assessment – Executive Summary

The regulation and related documents are available here:
https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/proposal-regulation-laying-down-rules-exercise-copyright-and-related-rights-applicable-certain

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
https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/proposal-directive-permitted-uses-works-and-other-subject-matter-protected-copyright-and

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
https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/proposed-regulation-cross-border-exchange-between-union-and-third-countries-accessible-format

 The proposals will be discussed by the European Parliament and the European Council in the next stages of the EU legislative process.

Digital Single Market Strategy: European Commission agrees areas for action

Published on 25/03/2015
"Digital technology is part of everyday life. From watching films, buying or selling online to connecting with friends – the internet is a goldmine of opportunities. But EU people and companies run into many barriers, such as geo-blocking or cross-border parcel delivery inefficiencies."

The Juncker Commission has made it a priority to remove these obstacles and create a Digital Single Market. The College of Commissioners had a first discussion on the Digital Single Market Strategy due in May.

Based on the work of Vice-President Ansip and his team, the College set out three main areas on which Commission action will focus during this mandate:

1.     Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services;

2.     Shaping the environment for digital networks and services to flourish;

3.    Creating a European Digital Economy and Society with long-term growth potential.

The above includes the following priority:

·         Modernising copyright law to ensure the right balance between the interests of creators and those of users or consumers. It will improve people's access to culture – and therefore support cultural diversity – while opening new opportunities for artists and content creators and ensuring a better enforcement of rights.
To read the full text:
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4653_en.htm
https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/digital-single-market-strategy-european-commission-agrees-areas-action 

Committee of the Regions issues “OPINION” on the ‘Modernisation of the EU copyright rules’

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.

New EWC Publication: “The Value of Writers’ Works” Conference Proceedings

This Authors’ Rights event was held at the European Parliament (Brussels) on 3.11.2014.
The Value of Writers’ Works” was an evidence-based forum addressing the challenges that concern European authors in the text and book sector in all genres, including screen-writers and literary translators. The threefold thematic platform gave the opportunity to professional writers to discuss their perspectives; it also aimed at calling the attention of the Members of the European Parliament to follow-up from the study on copyright contract law and contractual practices requested by the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee (JURI); it was important also to receive an update on recent and forthcoming studies by the European Commission. The interconnection between the digital and its effects on the authors’ remuneration and compensation was at the crossroads of several topics.” Myriam Diocaretz, from the editor’s introduction.

The PDF is available in our Publications page.