Italy behind with film on demand, new rules outlined for copyright protection
by Camillo de Marco
18/10/2011 - The value of the film-on-demand market has grown rapidly in the last five years: in the five major European countries it was worth over €385m in 2010 (compared to less than €120m in 2006). Leading the way are the UK and France. Italy is way behind (less than €10m), a fact which can be put down to lower public interest in cinema; a lower number of Internet users; lower use of e-commerce; a lower circulation of over-the-top devices connected to the web that enable people to view content on a TV set (video-game consoles, connectable TVs...); and finally the relationship between a limited (and in any case little-known) legally available range of works and the large-scale illegal downloading of audiovisual content via file-sharing and free-hosting.
These figures emerged at the "Artists on the Web. How to safeguard copyright and freedom of expression online" conference, which took place this morning in Rome organised by the 100 Autori association, with backing from Cinecittà Luce, SIAE (Italian Society of Authors and Publishers) and Roma & Lazio Film Commission. During the meeting, which was attended by several representatives from the online audiovisual industry, media analyst Andrea Marzulli presented a study of the value of the film-on-demand market (view/download the PDF), which highlighted how the weight of this sector on the whole of the film industry across the different exploitation channels (movie theatres, HV, pay and free TV) is rapidly growing especially in the USA and UK, whereas it is still below 1% in Italy.
With regard to the contribution to creation and copyright, the conference voiced the need to harmonise, through appropriate EU-wide legislation, some fundamental elements of the payment of copyright:
- rendering as consistent as possible across the EU member states which expertise is indicated, which “artists” of the audiovisual work.
- harmonising as much as possible the modes of exploitation of the audiovisual work, with particular attention to online use (but without overlooking the flaws in harmonisation that still exist for more traditional uses like broadcasting and home video), for which artists are entitled to fair payment.
- making this right “indefeasible”, even in view of the assignment, by the artists, of exclusive rights.
- exploring the possibility of “extended collective licences” (with opt-out clauses) which facilitate the rights management process for online use and not as an “amnesty” for file-sharing and free-hosting of audiovisual works.
- implementing more suitable technological solutions for effective rights management across Europe (irrespective of the issue of exclusive territorial rights), even combining with ongoing projects like ARROW (for orphan works) and ISAN (identification of audiovisual works).
(Translated from Italian)