FERA Speaks at 9th Initiative Urheberrecht Copyright Conference
On November 22, Initiative Urheberrecht held its flagship Copyright conference in hybrid format at the Academy of Arts, Berlin.
The 2019 EU Copyright Directive came into force in Germany over summer, while Initiative Urheberrecht member associations had been fighting for the adjustment of the local copyright framework for years. The conference focused on the general state of play of copyright in Germany and beyond.
The conference programme, speakers and recording are available online at https://urheber.info/conference-2021.
FERA CEO Pauline Durand-Vialle was invited to speak about the implementation of the 2019 Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (CDSM) and particularly about how it affects contract law and authors’ rights in a pretty unique context (at 2:04:10 on the recording).
Before presenting selected trends in the transposition of the Directive provisions affecting authors’ and performers’ contracts, she highlighted that the Directive represented a milestone in the EU copyright framework, setting out key market regulation elements including said provisions. These new common standards represent an important step forward in re-balancing the systemic weak bargaining situation of individual authors (and performers) now formally acknowledged by EU law.
She also underlined that, in a context of recent sea-changes in the audiovisual market in particular, with the exponential rise of global players in production and distribution of AV works, one the most essential aspect laid out by the Directive within these highly interconnected provisions is the overall incentive to collective bargaining and collective mechanisms, ideal vectors to re-balance negotiating positions between contractual parties – but also to bring legal certainty to the entire licensing chain.
Nonetheless, a number of concerns remain: pre-existing legislation might not always up to the CDSM standards, contrary to what national legislator lays out in the transposition process, different regimes applying to different body of works might bring difficulties in the consistent deployment of these new rights in industry practice, and of course the risk remains of diverging interpretation of key notions.
Finally, she pointed out that while the transposition of these provisions may pit rightholders against each other as contractual partners seek to alleviate the additional administrative burden these new rights might bring them, it seems important to take a step back and look at the bigger industrial picture, which some national legislators have done. Indeed some of these provisions bring market regulation solutions to common burning issues for both authors/performers and their contractual counterparts, as the entire European rightholders’ community seeks to anchor intellectual property related to artistic and creative works locally, to ensure that they can effectively benefit from said IP in the context of an increased globalized production and distribution, particularly online.
This segment (starting at 1:49:10) of the event also covered article 18’s transposition with Cécile Despringre, SAA (Society of Audiovisual Authors) Executive Director as well as the impact of article 17 implementation and streaming platform Marc du Moulin, ECSA Secretary General (European Composer and Songwriter Alliance).