There is no need to change the current EU copyright framework, says EFADs
by Birgit Heidsiek
- The Association of the European Film Agency Directors takes a stand for territorial licensing
Stable and clear copyright rules ensuring fair remuneration for creators and the ability to control the exploitation of audiovisual content in different territories are fundamental characteristics of the audiovisual business model all over the world. Copyright is a powerful tool for stimulating creativity, learning and innovation. By holding copyrights and licences, creators, production companies, distributors and others have the opportunity to build sustainable businesses, to create high-quality works and to finance future works. But all of this is in jeopardy because the EU plans to reform the copyright framework and suspend the territoriality principle in favour of the digital single market.
The Association of the European Film Agency Directors (EFADs), which represents government institutions that are in charge of national funding for the audiovisual sector and give about €3 billion in grants per year, has framed a common resolution on the EU copyright plans. In particular, the 31 EFADs members point out the following:
● the current copyright framework is fit for purpose;
● licensing on a territory-by-territory basis is an essential element in the mix for raising finance for audiovisual productions. It is also a means for the optimal distribution of works, adapted to local audiences;
● it is vital to establish a level playing field ensuring equal treatment between all operators when completing the digital single market; and
● any reform of EU copyright law should go hand in hand with a stronger enforcement of rights policy.
The central topic is to preserve the contractual freedom of producers, sales agents and distributors to exploit the work they produce, license and distribute on a territorial basis. Licensing on a territory-by-territory basis is essential for raising funding for audiovisual productions of all kinds, thereby delivering cultural diversity to the benefit of audiences across Europe. Instead of changing the current EU copyright framework, the EFADs members are suggesting the exploration of various measures that could enhance the promotion of European works for audiences through improved portability of content.
“The priority of the EU should be the establishment of a level playing field ensuring equal treatment between all operators, a commitment to economic sustainability and engagement in the creation of local works. The key to securing the future development of a vibrant digital audiovisual cultural industry in Europe is to invite new operators – European as well as global players – into the audiovisual value chain. The digital players should have the opportunity to meet new digital consumer demands, but under terms of trade that ensure the well-being of the creative sector,” state the EFADs members, represented by Iveta Dimova, general secretary of EFADs in Brussels.
“As organisations dedicated to supporting the creation, production and distribution of European works,” stresses Peter Dinges, president of EFADs, “we fully share the objective to promote the circulation of works and their availability to an increasingly wider public, but we would be deeply concerned about any proposals that would endanger the financing of film and television productions.”