#Corona-crisis – authors of the European and US book sector under pressure
++ updated 18.04.2020 ++ Across Europe, the spread of coronavirus has not only a direct impact on the daily and private lives, health and the ways people interact – but also on the working situation of writers and translators in the book sector.
Events, readings (especially in schools, libraries, cultural institutions and bookshops), award ceremonies, book fairs, workshops, lectures and residency-scholarships are cancelled. Due to low reserves, which are the consequence of low average incomes, the situation is quickly threatening the existence of many writers and translators. For many authors this period will bring an economic fall-out, loss of fees and lack of needed exposure.
The losses of income because of cancelled events, readings, book fairs, workshops, teaching, lectures, other public-contact-activities and residency-scholarships may be also only the first part to hit authors. In the second wave it’s the upcoming lost of sales because of closed bookshops or postponed titles, the third wave the consequences of being invisible in the market. This will lead to several ruptures in many biographies of writers. They fear not not be able to pay rent and insurance, and for many of them it is yet unclear if they will return to their manuals again. We will loose their voices.
The book market will have to deal with a great shift, after more and more bookshops had been closed and some of them even never open again, the publishing houses postponed or cancelled titles. Several cultural institutions – libraries, theaters, small sized event organisers – also have to deal with losses, will close or lower the budget in general for cultural events.
Everyone is the fragile book and cultural chain will be hurt massively, but mostly the freelancer writers and translators, the solo employees and the small-sized companies, like mini- and midi-size publishing houses and independent book stores .
The diversity of books and culture is in real danger because of this domino effect.
Short-time first aid, as well as long term strategies for the book market and cultural sector are needed.
First measures of EU- and non-EU countries to compensate income losses of writers and freelancers in the culture sector: overview
++ this website is updated frequently ++ read also the EWC Survey findings: “Economic Impact of Covid-19 on Writers and Translators in the European Book Sector” (Released 5 June 2020). ++
Austria: Call from the Audio-visual creators on a emergency fund
Emergency program for the cultural industries: The associations of the film, music and publishing industries call for a »disaster fund«. From Monday, 16. March 2020 on, stores and shops in Austria will be closed, including book shops. To the press release (in German)
Austria: IG Autorinnen Autoren asks for writers’ data on loss of income
Chair Gerhard Ruiss of the Writers’ Union IG AUTORINNEN AUTOREN calls for data on cancelled readings to demand an amount for an emergency fund for freelance writers. Please contact IG Autorinnen Autoren for further details, if your are an Austrian author or translator: http://www.literaturhaus.at
Austria: CMO Literar Mechana provides first aid for writers: 1 Million to compensate cancelled readings and other events in March and April 2020
21.03.2020 ++ Special fund of the CMO/RRO Literar Mechana due to the current crisis situation: The social and cultural institutions (“SKE”) of the Literar Mechana provide their beneficiaries (full-time and freelance writers, playwrights, Scriptwriter, translator) unbureaucratic bridging assistance in case of loss of fees for events, readings and projects that are cancelled without substitution and in other emergencies due to current crisis situation. Literar Mechana is setting up a special fund of one million euros. Authors can apply up to 2000 Euros and get the first and non-repayable aid in less than three days after application. Newsletter and application form (for Austrian Authors)
Austria: hardship fund to the cultural sector and solo-employees of one billion Euros
23.03.2020 ++ One Billion euros: A hardship fund has been set up in the Federal Chamber of Commerce for one-person companies, non-profit organizations and also for freelancers in the arts and cultural sector for, non-profit arts and cultural associations and arts and cultural institutions.
Denmark: Aid package for artists and authors
08.04.2020 ++ EWC Member, the Danish Authors’ Society, announced: “Artists with A and B income and taxable profits from independent businesses of at least DKK 8,333 ( In Euros: 1,117) per month can apply for the scheme that has just been passed. “At last, help for artists and freelancers in the cultural sector has arrived. We are happy in authors’ associations,” say the chairmen of the two Danish authors’ associations, Morten Visby and Peter Adolphsen. They particularly welcome the fact that there is a right to compensation and not to support. Read more (in Danish)
Denmark: EWC Member Danish Authors’ Society calls for increased E-Lending Budget
18.04.2020 ++ The Danish Authors’ Association encourages the Minister of Culture and Cultural Policy to grant an additional state subsidy to the country’s libraries. E-books and audiobooks are being borrowed and read more than ever before due to the corona situation, but the cost of digital lending is rising sharply – 63% of Danish municipalities have already raised or completely removed their loan limits. The desire to read is wonderful, but it can have serious and negative consequences for the purchase of new books and materials in the future, the associations stress.
To the website of the Danish Authors’ Society
22.03.2020 ++ Finland announces a 15 Billion Euros support package to prop up economy. In addition, the government will eliminate the waiting period before people can claim unemployment benefits, and allow freelancers and sole traders to claim unemployment benefits without shutting down their businesses. EWC Member The Association of Non Fiction Writers expect a hard hit on the number of upcoming titles because of postponed programs and closed bookshops.
Flandern / Belgium: Literatuur Vlaanderen offers possible support to authors who are now missing one or more lectures and readings
During the corona crisis, Flemish Literatuur Vlaanderen offers a compensation system for authors who have no income because planned lectures or readings cannot take place. Some authors and organisers have looked for another solution and organised the planned lectures online. LV would also like to support them by paying the grant of 100 €.
France: 22 Million Euros First Aid-Package for the Culture Sector
18.03.2020 ++ The French culture minister Franck Riester has made 22 million Euros available in compensation to preserve cultural institutions from virus collapse: 10 million for music, 5 million for performing arts, 5 million Euros for the book sector and 2 million for visual arts.
Riester said: ‘We must do everything to ensure their survival. It is the very future of our cultural model that is at stake’.
France: Call for solidarity with freelance authors – public subsidies in danger
13.03.2020 ++ The french writers’ and translators’ organisation SGDL worries about the cancellation of literary events and calls for solidarity by organisers:
“Several literary events scheduled in the coming weeks have been cancelled due to government orders related to the ongoing health crisis. Others may be cancelled in the coming months. … Many of the events concerned received financial support in 2020 from SOFIA or the public authorities (National Book Centre, DRAC, local authorities), which could be maintained to enable them to honor, despite the cancellation, the expenses already incurred or still due from their suppliers. As the payment of subsidies granted by SOFIA and the CNL is conditional on the actual remuneration of the invited authors, these remunerations therefore form part of the basis for the expenditure commitments of the events, in the same way as those concerning their various suppliers and service providers.
SGDL calls all the events and organisers to confirm the commitment they have made to the invited authors.”
France / Normandy: 2-Million-Euros-Fund for Bookshops, Libraries and Publishing Houses
09.04.2020 ++ The Department Normandy / France has decided to build up an emergency fund for the regional sports and cultural sectors. Two Million Euros should be dedicated to publishing houses, libraries, book shops and cultural institutions. At an extraordinary session of the Standing Committee in April, these measures will be put to the vote of the territorial councillors. In addition, the local authority is working on a €1 million regional recovery plan for culture. These measures are complementary to government announcements.
France: The Authors Association SGDL and CNL launch 1-million-euro support-package for writers
COVID-19 SUPPORT PLAN: Exceptional emergency assistance to book authors, set up by the Société des Gens de Lettres with the support of the french Centre national du Livre. The dedicated fund, endowed by the National Book Centre to the amount of €1 million, will enable book authors who experienced a loss of income in March and April 2020 to receive emergency aid of up to €1500/month for a maximum of 4 months. This aid is reserved for authors who would not be able to benefit from the “Solidarity Fund” set up by the Government for artists-authors, self-employed workers, micro-entrepreneurs and very small businesses. Applications for aid will be examined by a commission, placed with the SGDL, composed of representatives of the various authors’ organisations and the National Book Centre. The SGDL, a body recognized as being of public utility, will examine the applications and pay out the aid without charging management fees. Applications for aid must be sent to SGDL between 10 April and 1 September 2020. The aid will be paid to eligible applicants within five days of examination of the applications by the Commission. To the Application
Germany: ver.di demands support for employees in the event and cultural sector as well as for solo self-employed artists
The large number of cancelled events, concerts, trade fairs and performances due to the corona virus has major negative consequences for freelance artists and event technicians, ver.di, United Service Union, said.
“The resulting lack of fees puts those affected into massive economic difficulties. Since freelancers cannot claim short-time work compensation, we need further help to compensate for short-term payment defaults and the enormous drop in orders,” says Agnes Schreieder, responsible for the media, art and culture sector at the United Services Union (ver.di) in Hamburg. “The short-time working allowance will probably help many employees in the theatres. But we also need fast and unbureaucratic support for those working freelance in the event management and cultural sectors.
Schreieder suggests that one measure could be to set up tax breaks and bridging regulations for social security for freelancers. But also the organizers, cultural institutions, publishers and service providers concerned need quick economic support in the form of loans, tax relief and bridging money. For large cultural institutions and freelance artists, funds should be established from which the losses caused by the corona crisis can be compensated, Schreieder continued. Read the press release (in German)
Germany: No special package to the Cultural Sector – authors not allowed to apply for State Aid
23.03.2020 ++ The German government wants to save solo self-employed persons and micro-enterprises from bankruptcy with 40 billions of euros in aid. – 10 Billion Euro first aid for freelancer, solo-employees, small-size-companies, 30 Millions as microcredits. This is a part of a first aid package for the whole economy and private sector of 600 billion Euros. There is no special package for the cultural or book sector.
First Aid Measures (not only for the cultural sector):
Emergency aid by federal laender – from 600 Mio. Euros (Berlin) to 7,5 Mio. Euros (Land Brandenburg). Partly with, partly without obligation to repay.
Freelance authors may apply for first aid packages from 2000 up to 5000 Euros in their Bundesland
Authors may in addition apply for a grant from the Bund: 1,600 Euro per month for three months
Microcredits for smaller companies
Relief from unemployment benefits and short-time work
Germany: CPI Survey on losses in the Cultural Sector – every fourth freelance artist lost nearly 30 % income caused to Corona-shutdown
Kreatives Deutschland (Creative Germany), together with colleagues from the network of public funding agencies for the cultural and creative industries in Germany – Promoting Creative Industries (PCI), has issued a press release on the results of the survey on losses of income during the Corona-Shock. so far. About 30% of the respondents have or expect sales losses of over 30%. Numerous companies point out that they expect significantly higher losses in the future.
The joint press release of Kreative Deutschland and PCI also lists the first recommended measures:
- Compensation payments
- (Mikro) loans
- (interest-free) deferral, reduction and deferral of advance tax payments
- Postponement of KSK payments
- Proportionate assumption of health insurance contributions to reduce ancillary costs
- temporary inclusion of self-employed persons in the unemployment insurance scheme provided that this has no consequences for KSK membership
- Deferral and reduction of further payments dependent on turnover (e.g. membership fees for chambers or Unions)
Germany: EWC Member Writers’ Union of Germany VS launches recommendations for authors
17.03.2020 ++ Around 80,000 events in Germany are cancelled, and 4500-5000 readings and public events for authors, with a total lost of up to 8 million euros and in between losses of 2000 up to 12,000 euro per writer during March, April and May.
Solidarity in times of Covid-19
Proposed Guidelines for the support of writers
Not only artists suffer from the measures to stop spreading the Covid-19 infection through Europe. But in the wake of the virus, many cultural events are being cancelled, and this group of writers, performers and solo-employed artists are particularly hard-hit because they usually live precariously anyway.
Now it is up to writers and creators themselves but also their Unions and Associations, the public sector, society, the media and institutions, to commit to the preservation of a lively, free and diverse cultural landscape.
The cultural sector with its total of around 7 million core employees Europeanwide and up to 3,5 million are self-employed is not only the third strongest economical factor, but also the living, beating heart of a free and democratic society. Cultural and artistic works, like books, movies, and music, will be used more than ever, when social contacts are to be avoided and domestic leisure time is to be filled. At the same time, writers and performers will suffer high losses due to cancelled engagements.
This contradiction must be resolved. If you want to preserve your cultural landscape for tomorrow, you should stand up for it today.
The Writers’ Union of Germany (VS in ver.di) recommends the following measures for the support by public authorities, exploiters, collecting societies, but also by the media and citizens
For writers and performers: clear documentation
– Authors and artists are required to document cancelled readings and performances with date, time and salary details as well as organisers (private or partly/completely public)
– Own estimate of losses for the month / year: xx failed readings / appearances correspond to xx percent loss of total sales
– Self-documentation of cancelled lectures or cancelled workshops with date, time and salary details, whether privately or publicly funded, and any payments already made (room rental, non-refundable travel expenses)
– Documentation of failed residence scholarships, with details of duration, monthly premium, any costs already invested
– Documentation of further cancelled lectures, keynotes, panel participation etc. Date, time, place, any non-refundable travel expenses already paid
– Collect the documentation and submit it to public funds or your Union or Writers’ organisation in case of emergency funding
Author / Artist:
Sector and genre:
Place, date and organiser:
Type of event / project:
Public or private organiser:
Canceled on his own initiative:
Because of travel restrictions:
Organizer has cancelled / how short term / when:
Expenditure already incurred and not / will not be reimbursed – which:
Lost fee share of total revenue in %:
Will the appointment be repeated?
– Offer to transfer readings etc. to digital media. Documenting remuneration systems or lack of remuneration.
– Building up monetizations through your own, individual YouTube channels (readings etc.) usually takes too long to provide short-term emergency assistance. Channels of publishers or labels can be an alternative option here. Information on the YouTube partner program: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/72857?hl=de
– Crowdfunding via Kickstarter, Gofundme, Indiegogo
– Instead of a classroom workshop: Webinar, possibly co-organized by the organizer
CMOs – Collective Management Organisations
– Establishment or special endowment of an emergency fund, for example based on the VG Wort model: The VG Wort »Social Fund« is open to VG-Wort-rightsholders with currently two million euros. The advisory board decides on the payments. In cases of hardship, a decision can also be made between the regular meetings of the advisory board. https://www.vgwort.de/…/sozialeinrichtungen/sozialfonds.html
The public sector – Governments and Institutions
– Establishment of an emergency fund for freelancers, cultural workers and small-sized businesses whose existence is threatened
– Short-term unemployment insurance for self-employed artists, linked to income in terms of percentage of contributions
– Complete or partial payment of e.g. residence scholarship money
– Organisers receiving public funding should not be forced to repay it. This would reduce the total budget spent by an organiser. Accordingly, an application for funds in the following year would be lower, because often funding providers charge the payment on the previous year’s budget.
– At the same time, if an event or project is cancelled and author is not paid, the budget should remain with the sponsored organisers without being interpreted to their disadvantage. Public cultural budgets must be maintained in full and not reduced, regardless of whether events take place or not
– Bridge funding for representative organisations of cultural workers for their advisory and cultural work
– Federal and national governments: the Federal Ministry of Finance should suspend or reduce advance income tax payments to artists and allow deferments
– Direct involvement of the organisations of cultural workers and organisers in the design and implementation of concrete measures
Germany: 4,5 billion Euros losses for the Book Chain in March and April expected
01.04.2020 ++ The first reports of postponed publications and the delayed delivery of spring titles were an indication that in view of the Corona pandemic, publishers are intensively considering delaying the delivery of titles and postponing entire program sections.
With the exception of Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt, all bookstores in 14 federal states will be closed at least until Easter, and the largest online bookseller Amazon is currently not buying any books from the publishers because it focuses on everyday consumer goods, initially until 5 April. The losses for publishers and the book trade are enormous: companies like Bonnier Media are talking of an 80 percent drop in sales. In some houses, short-time work has been delegated or is being considered.
Germany: half a billion Euros losses in the book shops
08.04.2020 ++ In mid-March came the large-scale shutdown of the retail trade in Germany – since then almost everything has changed. The book trade has moved the shops behind the scenes with great creativity and resells by mail, telephone, web shop and delivery service – a dearly bought turnover that is likely to push operating results down further. But: The high level of commitment of the booksellers* is now reflected in the March figures of Media Control, which would otherwise have been even more dramatic. It is true that sales in the product range have slumped by 30 percent compared to the previous year, but, says Deniz Ulucan, Head of Book Market Research at Media Control: “Through our close exchange with the retailers, it is clear that a certain minimum has now been reached and that the bookstores have found ways to get their books to the customers. This is also proven by the volume at the end of March, beginning of April, which at least is not falling any further.”
Germany: Union VERDI calls on the Government to let authors apply to the first aid package
18.04.2020 ++ In Germany there are about 2.2 million self-employed persons (and around 100,000 freelance writers and translators). ver.di is the interest group with the largest number of members and organises in particular many self-employed cultural and media workers and freelancers in the fields of education, health and counselling. “The federal government’s existing programs for small and medium-sized companies are designed to compensate for defined operating expenses, such as rental or leasing costs,” says ver.di chairman Frank Werneke. “For a very large proportion of the self-employed, however, ‘private’ and ‘professional’ aspects are inseparably intertwined, and their own income is an ongoing operating expense. Therefore, they do not meet the existing requirements for emergency federal aid.” Even tax deferments are of little use to them, as long as they are on low incomes. “There is real need here”, Werneke continued. Press Release (in German)
Ireland: COVID-19: Information and Resources for Writers and Artists from the Irish Writers’ Centre
Relief funds for Artists
Artist Emergency Relief Fund: The Civic has established a fund to provide financial relief to Irish artists experiencing lost income related to COVID-19. Small grants of up to €500 will be paid rapidly on a first-come, first-served basis to affected artists and groups
This is a fund for Northern Ireland Arts practitioners affected by the Corona Virus Pandemic.
The fund hopes to offer a ‘gig’ fee of £200 on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Self-employed professional artists in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance may be eligible for the Social Welfare Scheme for Professional Writers and Artists
- Artists who may not qualify for this particular scheme may still apply to under a wide range of Social Welfare Schemes and Services
- One-to-One Mentoring can be offered remotely via Zoom or other online platforms.
- The Irish Writers Centre will issue payment swiftly for any work already completed.
The NCFA of ireland asks artists and writers for weekly updates on their losses of income: To the survey
Italy: 18,600 fewer titles
01.04.2020 ++ The Italian publishers’ association estimates that almost 40 million books will not be printed as a result of the Corona crisis, while the booksellers’ association estimates that there will be a 47 million euro shortfall in revenue in the first month after the bookstores close. At the beginning of March the losses had been already around 25 per cent.
According to the initial findings of the Italian publishers’ association AIE on the impact of the Covid 19 virus on the entire Italian publishing industry, within one year:
- 18,600 fewer titles will be published,
39.3 million books not printed and
2500 titles are not translated.
- According to AIE, 61% of publishers are currently planning to use the emergency fund set up by the government on 1st March to bridge the gap in employees’ salaries.
Italy: Bookshops about to re-open from 14. April on
Italy, the country worst affected so far by the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, is allowing bookshops to reopen step by step and starting with 2 days per week after 20. April. Italian premier Giuseppe Conte announced the development, with stationery shops and children’s clothes shops also among the small number of stores allowed to reopen this week. However, it was confirmed the country’s wider quarantine and travel restrictions will remain in place until 3rd May. To the Article
Norway: EWC Member NFFO calls for Culture Policy and financial support for non-fiction writers and cultural creators
„The corona virus kills the cultural life. Norwegian literary writer and translator association – NFFO has many members who have a large part of their income base from assignments at festivals, libraries, schools, seminars and more. A week of canceled assignments can mean at least a month’s salary lost, and a freelance writer and translator has few rights and no employer other than himself. This is therefore another test society faces in these dramatic times. We are pleased that Minister of Culture Abid Q. Raja is seeing the consequences of the situation we are in, and hopes the government will soon come up with good measures that include compensation for lost fees to writers, translators and other groups of artists.
The Norwegian professional literary writer and translator association – NFFO will also send out a member email with more information on the consequences of the coronavirus within a short time.“
Norway: Half a million kroner for Norwegian freelance non-fiction writers through a collaboration with Store Norske Leeksikon and EWC Member NFFO
EWC Member NFFO now grants half a million kroner to Norwegian, non-literary writers who are affected by canceled assignments in the time of the corona. Chairman of the NFFO Board Geir Hønneland: “In recent days we have seen and heard a number of Norwegian writers and artists who are now in despair over lost revenue due to canceled assignments. Freelancers have a fragile economy, and I have the greatest understanding of their despair”.
“That is why our board today has agreed to grant NOK 500,000 to non-fiction freelancers, to finance new assignments. The impulse for the initiative comes from Store Norske Leeksikon (SNL), which, like NFFO, has received many inquiries from authors who are now losing important contract revenue. Many of the country’s most important non-fiction authors are freelancers, and these are hit hard by a situation like this, where lectures and cultural events are canceled. … “It gives us the opportunity to give these colleagues extra support through the period of extraordinary measures”, says Erik Bolstad, chief editor of SNL.
NFFO gives NOK 750,000 (around 60,000 Euros) to Store Norske lexicon – which means many new assignments for freelance writers across the country during Corona-Crisis.
(Store norske leksikon (Great Norwegian Encyclopedia), abbreviated SNL, is a Norwegian language online encyclopedia. As of 2019, the SNL has around 200,000 articles online, updated by approximately 800 affiliated academics.)
Norway: authorities will compensate self-employed workers for lost earnings up to 80 per cent of their salaries – also freelance writers and translator
First Aid Measures (not only for the cultural sector):
- private and public sponsors, like the Arts Council, have stated that they will not demand organizers to repay funding they have already received.
- The authorities will compensate self-employed workers for lost earnings up to 80 per cent of their salaries. This means a lot to writers and translators.
- National Library presented the “library package”. The public libraries will get at least 20 mill NOK (1,6 Million Euros) to buy e-books from Norwegian publishers.
- Additionally, through Kopinor (RRO), the right holders have made an agreement with the National Library which means that legally deposited material will be digitally available for every pupil, student, researcher, writer and others that can document their need. The duration of this agreement is three months, preliminarily. For this, the right holders receive a total amount of 3 mill NOK (200,000 Euros)
Many new digital initiatives have evolved, both related to performing and creative activities. The professionals pay writers and translators that contribute, while many of the open, privately organized arrangements encourage the viewers to pay directly to the artist.
EWC Member the NFFO funds some of these professional organizers.
Norway: Goverment increased budget for E-Lending
18.04.2020 ++ The Norwegian government has introduced various financial crisis packages to facilitate continued activity throughout society, and to support affected businesses and organisations. As part of a package introduced by The Department of Culture, Kopinor, on behalf of the rightsholders, has entered into an agreement with The National Library of Norway. This agreement gives Norwegian pupils and students free access to all books made available through the National Library’s online catalogue.
The agreement has been concluded in record time, and is to remain valid throughout this extraordinary period when all public libraries are closed. Access to these books is not meant as a replacement for regular access to textbooks and academic literature, but as a replacement for services normally provided by public and academic libraries. Kopinor has also completed a simplified and quick distribution of fees made in payment for this access. Authors and other rightsholders are consequently already benefitting from this agreement
Spain: EWC Member ACE calls government for first aid for writers – average losses of 1700 writer per month expected
PROPOSALS FROM ACE TO ALLEVIATE THE EFFECTS OF THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS IN SPAIN
19.03.2020 ++ The Asociación Colegial de Escritores, through its president, has sent to the Ministry of Culture, specifically to the Director General of Books, a catalogue of proposals to alleviate the effects that the current health situation will generate in its economic situation and in the projection of its activities. They are reproduced below.
Without authors there is no culture.
FOR WRITERS (INCLUDING PLAYWRIGHTS) AND TRANSLATORS:
– Special program of assistance and animation to the different book fairs postponed, intensification of the program of presence of writers in public educational organizations, with preference for books that were in the process of being launched when the bookstores closed.
– Drastic and transitory reduction of the rates for self-employed persons for the time considered appropriate. Tax reduce equivalent to the time the activity is suspended.
– Campaign to revive book sales in the public media.
– Freelance writers:
Cancellation of the payment of the RETA fee during the period of inactivity.
– Recognition of the right to receive unemployment benefit by those contributing to the self-employed who request it.
– Unblocking, with its prompt publication, of the 2019 start-up aid.
– Urgent call for creation aid and emergency fund for 2020.
– Study of solutions such as the celebration, once the health crisis is over, of the acts dependent on the different administrations in which there were contracted authors and which have been suspended. Maintaining the committed remuneration
– To make the compatibility of copyright with pension collection a reality, incorporating into the Decree Law of April 2019 the compatibility with the pension of passive classes, the non-contributory pension and the permanent disability pension.
– Signatures to license the Public Administrations for the use of books, magazines and press with CEDRO. This would compensate somewhat for the effect of the crisis on authors and publishers.
If we take into account the average income from authors’ rights of 6,325 euros/year and the income from cultural and training activities that the group receives from these (approximately 8%) we can estimate the damage of the present crisis at more than 1,700 euros per writer.
FOR THE THEATRE:
– Hiring of “live theatre” on public televisions while the theatres are closed. Negotiation with private televisions in the same sense.
– Saturation campaign “back to the theatre” in the public media once the closure of the premises has been lifted.
– Special ICO credit line for companies and establishments in difficulty.
Sweden: Cultural organisations call for a crisis budget for the cultural sector
Former EWC President Gunnar Ardelius started a petition among the authors’ organisations of Sweden: “Corona strikes hard for the entire community. Health must always come first. But it is also important to balance the measures to stop the virus, or at least slow the spread, towards a functioning society. In the cultural sector, the effects of Corona hit very hard. Culture workers lose their jobs and do not know if they can pay the month’s rent. Organizers around the country are completely on their knees and risking bankruptcy. People start to be notified. … This can be long-lasting and, in the worst case scenario, can affect people’s cultural habits, at least for a while. In the same way as for other social policy areas, the government must invest extra resources. A crisis budget for the cultural industry!”
Sweden: First Aid Package for the Cultural Sector – 45 Mio Euro (500 Mio Krones)
19.03.2020 ++ The cultural sector and sports movement will receive an extra SEK 1 billion in support due to the economic consequences affecting these sectors as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The money will be distributed by grant-allocating agencies in the area of culture and by the Swedish Sports Confederation.
The funds to culture – SEK 500 million – will be granted to activities that lose revenue as a result of the restriction on public gatherings. Small events are also affected by the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s guidelines and by changes in public behaviour. Both large and small actors in the area of culture will be able to receive support. Organisational form will not impact the ability to receive support. State institutions are not included, but their situation is being monitored closely.
Sweden’s private and public sector is much more digitalised than other countries, and many things work without interpersonal contact. For example, university and grammar school teachers throughout the country have managed to convert all their teaching to digital in just two days, and other authorities and institutions continue to handle citizens’ concerns quickly and electronically.
Sweden: Swedish Academy increases grants for scholarships
18.04.2020 ++ The situation resulting from the coronavirus changes the conditions for culture. The Swedish Academy is committed to this and is therefore adding funds to a call for approximately 80 working grants of up to SEK 50 for activities in the areas covered by the Academy, i.e. mainly writers, cultural writers and translators focusing on Swedish language and literature. The project for which funding is requested will be implemented within one year from the end of the application period. Application deadline: 5 May 2020. Read more.
Switzerland: Data-Collection, compensation and temporary insurances
EWC Member A*dS calls out, together with a wide range of authors’ organisations, an emergency catalogue for authors, artists, performers and creators:
Objective: To preserve the diverse Swiss cultural landscape and its places and jobs, including in the field of lay culture
- Temporary unemployment insurance in the cultural sector for self-employed persons and all those for whom short-time work would not be effective now (e.g. sole traders, freelancers, management, owners and partners)
- Uncomplicated access to short-time work for all small and medium-sized enterprises in the cultural sector.
- Compensation for cancelled events, including compensation for artists
- Emergency fund for existentially threatened cultural workers and businesses
- Public funds in culture must continue to flow, cultural sponsors (including private ones) should coordinate their activities
- Continued direct involvement of the organisations of cultural workers and organisers in the design and implementation of concrete measures
DATA COLLECTION: LOSS OF INCOME DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
EWC Member A*dS started, together with a wide range of organisations in the cultural sector, a Switzerland-wide data evaluation:
“Have you lost your salary due to cancelled engagements (concerts, theatre, show, performances) because of the corona virus? At this point in time we cannot guarantee that compensation will be paid, but the more documented cases we have, the better we can show the financial consequences of federal and cantonal decisions for our industry.”
21.03.2020 ++ CHF 40 billion (approx. 37 billion euros) in emergency aid – CHF 280 million for the cultural sector. The first aid package includes compensation for loss of earnings for self-employed person and freelance artists who suffer a loss of income because their engagements are cancelled.
A special package for the Cultural sector: CHF 280 million (Approx. 264 Mio. Euros)
The Federal Council wants to prevent lasting damage to the Swiss cultural landscape and preserve Switzerland’s cultural diversity. The economic impact of the ban on events on the cultural sector (performing arts, design, film, visual arts, literature, music and museums) is to be reduced by means of immediate aid and compensation. In a first step, it is making CHF 280 million available as a first tranche for two months. During these two months, the Confederation will monitor further developments together with the cantons and cultural organisations.
Switzerland: specific measures for the cultural sector and authors
09.04.2020 ++ The Federal Council wants to prevent lasting damage to the Swiss cultural landscape and preserve Switzerland’s cultural diversity. The economic impact of the ban on events on the cultural sector (performing arts, design, film, visual arts, literature, music and museums) is to be reduced by means of immediate aid and compensation. In a first step, Switzerland is making CHF 280 million (Euros: ca. 260 million) available as a first tranche for two months (till 20th of May). During these two months, the Confederation will monitor further developments together with the cantons and cultural organisations. The national measures include support to writers and equally to literary translators.
The emergency catalogue offers four measures for artists domiciled in Switzerland, including literary translators (see https://www.bak.admin.ch/bak/de/home/themen/covid19.html in German, French and Italian):
- Emergency fund for existentially threatened cultural workers, distributed by the national umbrella association Suisseculture Sociale (A*dS is a member)
- Compensation for cancelled events, including compensation for artists
- Compensation for loss of earnings for self-employed (and freelance artists)
- Uncomplicated access to short-time work for all small and medium-sized enterprises in the cultural sector.
Further measures of the public and private grant-making organisations:
- Public funds in culture continue to flow independent of cancelled events etc.
- Cultural grant-making foundations coordinate their activities (p.e. recommendations by umbrella association SwissFoundations for acting in a non-bureaucratic way, responding rapidly and with flexibility to the needs of the grantees, see https://www.swissfoundations.ch/aktuell/empfehlung-stiftungsengagement/, document also in English)
- Payment of grants for translator residencies in Switzerland, even if the translators cannot travel to the residence (at least some of the providers try to do so, as far as A*dS knows)
Measures of EWC Member A*dS:
- Offering information about the national emergency measures and other important actions relating to the COVID-19 crisis on the website: www.a-d-s.ch (in German, French and Italian)
- Collecting and publishing literary initiatives created during COVID-19 crisis: https://www.a-d-s.ch/termine/
- Together with over 20 other professional associations from the cultural sector, collecting information about cancelled events and cancelled contracts including loss of income in order to be able to negotiate with the authorities with the most concrete information possible.
- Working actively in task forces created by a diversity of cultural organisations for better direct involvement of the organisations of cultural workers and organisers in the design and implementation of concrete measures
- Creating a task force for the book sector together with the publishers’ and booksellers’ associations in Switzerland
- As we heard that some publishers postpone publications, A*dS will discuss the impact of such measures to writers and literary translators and try to find adequate measures together with the publishers’ and booksellers’ associations in Switzerland.
Switzerland: Online-Petition to re-open the Book Shops
18.04.2020 ++ LivreSuisse started an urgent call on the helvetian Government for a re-opening of bookshops on 27. April.
Publishers and Bookshops had lost an average of 30 up to 80 percent of sales in March and April. Sign the Petition
United Kingdom: EWC Member The Society of Authors launches a petition
“Emergency government funding for the UK arts sector and freelance creatives”:
‘For the 1st three decades of my career, I was a freelancer surviving on very little income. I know what it is to rely on every single paid gig and workshop to survive, which is why I’m fully supportive of this petition urging the government to provide emergency funding for arts freelancers in precarious times.’
Booker Prize Winner, Bernardine Evaristo
The Corona pandemic is hitting those in the creative sector & freelance artists particularly hard. They are experiencing mass cancellations of events/gigs/workshops, often without compensation, and face huge financial uncertainty. This is likely to get worse over the coming months with freelance creatives struggling to pay bills and rent. Germany has instituted emergency government funding and MP Tracy Brabin is campaigning in the UK. Arts Council England is providing support but given the scale of the problem, further government funding will be needed if the arts sector is to survive. Please sign to show that you support the arts sector and freelancers at this difficult time and believe this funding is essential.
United Kingdom: EWC Member The Society of Authors with recommendations for writers in economic danger
- Contingency Fund Grants for writers in need from the SoA
- Royal Literary Fund Grants and pensions for writers in financial difficulty
- Guidance for freelancers Resources from The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE)
- Guidance for employers and businesses Government resources for employees, employers and businesses
- What happens if my speaking engagement is cancelled?Advice on Coronavirus and contracts from the legal team at Harbottle & Lewis
United Kingdom: The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, the Royal Literary Fund, English PEN with the T S Eliot Foundation, and Amazon UK join forces with the EWC Member, the Society of Authors to support authors affected financially by Coronavirus.
20.03.2020 ++ This week, the SoA has been approached by partner organisations who recognised an urgent need for an industry-wide coordinated response. The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), Royal Literary Fund (RLF), the T S Eliot Foundation in partnership with English PEN, and Amazon UK, have very generously contributed a combined £235,000 to the Authors’ Contingency Fund for the support of authors through the crisis. These donations have more than tripled the funds the SoA had expected to distribute this year, with the fund to be called the Authors’ Emergency Fund.
United Kingdom: Arts Council announces 160-Million-Pounds-package for the cultural sector
24.03.2020 ++ Emergency Response Package for #Covid19 crisis. “Today we’re announcing £160 million of investment for people and organisations in the cultural sector.” Read the press release: artscouncil.org.uk/covid19
United Kingdom: EWC Member The Society of Authors-Survey is published
18.04.2020 ++ A survey conducted by the Society of Authors has found writers are unlikely to be covered by the government’s coronavirus financial support schemes, and are being particularly badly hit by the cancellation of events. The survey, which polled over 1,000 authors, found 78% of respondents had had events cancelled by organisers since the UK Covid-19 outbreak, and 52% of those would not be compensated by insurance. Meanwhile 84% of the survey participants reported they would not benefit form the government’s job retention scheme, with 85% unsupported by the changes to the terms and conditions of universal credit.
As a demographic, authors are expected to be among the most vulnerable in the industry due to a reliance on a second source of income, often zero-hour based teaching contracts and commissioned articles, the SoA said. The EWC Memebr Organisation confirmed it had heard of requests from publishers to accept late royalty payments, and that as a result authors were experiencing “significant financial losses.”
United States: Every second author deals with decreasing income during Pandemic
18.04.2020 ++ A survey by the Authors Guild of its members earlier this month found a majority of authors had already lost significant income due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The Guild received 940 responses to its survey and asked if income from any source declined in recent weeks due to the crisis, 54% responded “yes,” compared to 45% who responded “no.”
For those who responded “Yes,” we then asked them to name the source of the missing or declining income (they could name more than one if they were missing income from multiple sources). Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the current crisis, 232 authors pointed to “Speaking/performance engagements cancelled,” which was by far the most identified missing income source. Following that was “Journalism” at 93 authors, then “Non-writing related work – furloughed or laid off” at 87, “Partner’s loss of income” at 75, “Book contracts cancelled or payments delayed” at 52, “Loss of book sales or revenue through self-publishing” at 45, and two different categories of “Teaching position – furloughed or laid off,” with writing-based positions identified by 34 authors and other subjects by 26 authors.
EUROPE AND THE WORLD
Initiatives & side-effects
- In some countries, there had been a high peak in the sales of books for children and young adults, according to the situation of coming-up shutdown and home-schooling.
- Also: more booksellers as expected are reporting a significant increase in online order business. This even goes so far that more sales are being made online and by telephone than the cash and carry sales on a normal day (Germany, Austria).
- Other very creative bookstores are organising their own supply chains, for example via city courier and bicycle messenger.
- There are numerous cooperations with companies in the neighbourhood that have not yet closed such as pharmacies, grocery stores, butchers, bakers, etc. This positive impact depends on many different factors, for example, if the bookshop had been a part of the neighborhood and is closed-knit into the community.
- Publishing houses offer educational material for free as a high human gesture. To clarify is, how this gesture affects the royalities for authors.
- Authors start to promote local books stores in social media
- Authors develop strategies for web-readings and webinars
- Several indie publishers start to build up reading communities in the web and are broadcasting “livingroom readings”
Brussels, 13th March 2020 – updates 14.03.2020 – 18.03.2020 – 20.03.2020 – 21.03.2020 – 24.03.2020 – 01.04.2020 – 09.04.2020 – 18-04.2020