September 9, 2018.
The Authors’ Group issued this statement/manifesto, inviting their member associations to join. The result was that we gathered 135 national associations representing authors, as co-signatories: writers, journalists, screenwriters, filmmakers, composers and songwriters
– urging MEPs to support the successful adoption of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.
This message was meant to reach all MEPs before the plenary vote on 12 September 2018. The key points mentioned were:
Since the last European elections, the EC, the EP and Member States concluded that the EU has an essential responsibility to promote fair remuneration for creators, including online, because:
— The online world is of key importance to the European future, especially for Europe’s cultural and creative industries.
— Creative works, being bought and sold with such enormous economic success, are the product of the creative minds of Europe’s authors, yet their careers are barely sustainable, extremely unstable and they are in the vast majority poorly remunerated.
— In addition, technological innovation has thrown much of the established structures for the distribution of cultural content into disarray, reducing further the authors’ capacity to generate income from the use of their works.
— After years of debate and discussion, the EC, MS3 and a wide majority of MEPs have supported key transparency provisions intended to strengthen the authors’ bargaining power and to improve their remuneration in contracts (Chapter 3 of the Directive).
— This Directive is now under threat, as some claim that this Directive will “censor the Internet” and threaten freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of creativity: we could not support a legislation that would limit it in any way.
— The Directive’s chapter 3 provisions that protect and improve the situation of authors are necessary conditions to foster freedom of expression: a precondition for the right of audiences to enjoy diverse creative work is that authors can make a living from their work.
We urged MEPs to adopt Chapter 3 in its JURI report version.
The EWC members that joined our Authors’ Group statement were:
• The Association of Finnish Non-fiction Writers – Markku Löytönen – Chair
• Auteursbond (Dutch Authors Guild), The Netherlands – Jan Hilbers – Director 67. Hellenic Authors’ Society, Greece – Yiorgos Chouliaras – President
• Latvian Writers’ Union, Latvia – Arno Jundze – Chairman
• The Writers Union of Iceland, Iceland – Karl Agust Ulfsson – Chair
• The Society of Authors, United Kingdom – David Donachie – Chair
• Society of Swedish Authors in Finland, Finland – Peter Sandström – Chair
• Swedish Association of Educational Writers, Sweden – Wiwi Ahlberg – President 120. The Swedish Writers’ Union, Sweden – Grethe Rottböll – President
• The Union of Finnish Writers, Finland – Suvi Oinonen – Executive Director
• Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB), UK – Ellie Peers – General Secretary