FERA joins the 1st Conference of European Film Authors in Madrid to discuss streaming’s impact on authorship in Europe
The recognition and promotion of their authorship is a building block for audiovisual authors’ artistic and creative freedom as well as their ability to make a living. Today, it is put to the test as streaming services rise exponentially in Europe’s audiovisual production and distribution market.
On November 6, FERA joined Federations from the European audiovisual creative community to discuss this critical issue at the first Conference of European Film Authors held at the Academia del Cine in the artistic city of Madrid, ES.
Hosted by the European Federation for Costume & Production Design (ARTSCENICO) and the Asociación de Artistas Plásticos Escénicos y Audiovisuales de España (AAPEE), the event was organised in partnership with the European Composer & Songwriter Alliance (ECSA), the European Film Sound Initiative (EFSI), Federation of European Screen Directors (FERA), the International Federation of Cinematographers (IMAGO), the International Federation of Film Editors Associations (TEMPO), with the support of ROSCO and Transpagroup.
While authorship of audiovisual work is recognized and promoted by EU legislation, on-demand platforms practices are challenging it in practice: the European audiovisual authors community reports significant difficulties when it comes to negotiating a fair share of online exploitation revenues due to systemic weak bargaining position, abusive buy-out contracts, opacity of streaming exploitation data, to name a few.
European audiovisual authors are incited to sign contracts outside European law structures which effectively prevents them from benefitting from the European authors’ rights framework, national jurisdictions or collective frameworks such as collective management of rights or joint remuneration agreements.
Participants asserted their collective attachment to Authorship in European audiovisual creation, and the urgent need to finalise the implementation in all Member States of the EU Directive 2019/790’s provisions on fair remuneration in exploitation contracts of authors and performers.
FERA Chair of the board Bill Anderson stressed that while screen directors are recognised as primary authors of EU audiovisual works, their ongoing rights’ payments comprised less than 10% of their career-peak earnings according to pre-Covid data*. While this share in the commercial success of their works remains too tiny to allow for them to make ends meet and build sustainable careers, their intellectual property fuels the entire value chain and continues to nurture future EU audiovisual culture. “If the value of this IP is transferred to non-EU organisations, like US global streaming platforms who have different cultural priorities, such nurturing of EU audiovisual culture becomes more precarious – in the hands of tourists, not locals. This IP is like the family silver: for the price of silver polish, directors not only make the silver shine brightly, they keep it in the family.”
The event was endorsed by Member of the European Parliament Alexis Georgoulis who shared his vision through a short clip: