9 March 2022
EWC contribution for the WIPO Information Session on the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Copyright Ecosystem
During the WIPO 42nd Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), an Information Session on the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Copyright Ecosystem took place. In order to provide a clear overview of the “impact on the cultural, creative and educational ecosystem, including copyright, related rights, and limitations and exceptions”, the WIPO Secretariat requested examples of situations that arose and actions that were taken and/or interventions that were made during the Covid-19 pandemic with respect to the industries or institutions that are being considered in the Information Session.
The EWC contributed the full survey, together with these opening remarks:
Authors, together with publishers and collective management organisations, have been offering significantly discounted and extended licenses for digital use for now over two years. Authors gave up their justified – and needed – income to support pupils, students, society. But this emergency aid shall not be the new “normal”. Authors are those who are still suffering from the crisis today: Two EWC reports in 2020 and in 2021 recorded an average income loss of 50-60% for full-time, and 10-25% for part-time writers, due to cancelled life events, falling sales due to closed bookshops, reduced publishing programs, postponed contracts, and discounted licenses. At the same time, hardly half of the EU countries provided state aid for the losses of solo-employed authors.
Meanwhile, the implementation of the Directive (EU) (2019/790) on Copyright is delayed by most countries. The ongoing EWC study shows that the flexibility allowed by the Directive is used often to the disadvantage of authors – many EU countries make the non-remunerable use of educational material, or do not implement a compensation for the usage of works for text and data mining. Further insights, best practice examples and solutions can be found on the EWC website:
The impact of the crisis on writers and translators, revealed three breaking points in particular:
It is a crisis of the self-employed.
It is a crisis of authors’ rights and contract law.
It is a crisis of respect.
Most important is to not introduce any more E&L. Next, it is important to introduce full transparency of usage especially in the digital fields and by platforms, and in full by educational institutions. Transparency is key to stabilize a sustainable concept to protect and promote the sources of every knowledge and every culture: the authors – their independence, also on an economic level, is the backbone of democracy. A third pillar is a respectful, ethical, and authors orientated legal framework to ensure artificial intelligence respects the values of human intellectual property. And overall: significantly increased educational budgets. The right of access to culture and knowledge must no longer be played off against authors’ rights, because authors’ rights are at the same time the basis to produce the culture and knowledge that is needed. Monetary, not legal, solutions must be worked out here.
EWC links to relevant documents or other sources that provide further information about our examples.
The WIPO publishes its Study On the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Copyright Ecosystem the Covid-19 at the SCCR/42 meeting
Geneva, 9 May 2022
On the occasion of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR)/42 meeting of the WIPO Member States and the Information Session on the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Copyright Ecosystem on 9 May 2022, the comprehensive WIPO study was presented.
The European Writers‘ Council is grateful for the opportunity to have contributed significantly to an overview of the situation of authors and translators in and after two years of crisis with its two monitor reports on The Economic Impact of the Covid-19 crisis on writers and translators in the European Book Sector, the EWC position paper and supplementary information (related links see below).
The WIPO report is divided into three main sections:
Part I focuses on authors, cultural professionals and the creative industries in the audiovisual, music, book and visual arts sectors. Part II looks at surveys and case studies from the education, research and heritage sectors, and thirdly includes responses and general trends.
The study includes relevant appendices for supplementation, including the list of experts, case studies and bibliographies.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cultural and creative industries – the Authors: Marilena Vecco, Martin Clarke, Paul Vroonhof, Eveline de Weerd, Ena Ivkovic, Sofia Minichova, Miriam Nazarejova.
Cover image: © Getty Images; composition by WIPO
The responsibility for the contents of this report lies with Panteia. © WIPO, 2022