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Institutions / Legislation - Europe

Industry Report: European Policy

Performers and audiovisual authors call on EU member states to entrust CMOs to manage their royalties


European collective management organisations (CMOs) came together to discuss how to secure fair remuneration for performers and audiovisual authors

Performers and audiovisual authors call on EU member states to entrust CMOs to manage their royalties

On 17 March, a panel entitled “Collective management: A safety net for authors and performers” took place to discuss how to secure fair remuneration for performers and audiovisual authors. The debate was moderated by Gregor Stibernik and saw the participation of German screenwriter Jochen Greve, Spanish musician Nacho Garcia Vega, member of the board of SWISSPERFORM and member of the board of AEPO-ARTIS Yolanda Schweri, SAA executive director Cécile Despringre, Greek actor and MEP Alexis Georgoulis (GUE), German MEP Niklas Nienaß (The Greens) and Austrian MEP Hannes Heide (S&D).

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On the same day, a video message (available here) featuring 12 European performers, screenwriters and directors was published. The speakers highlighted the need for their collective management organisations to be involved in the implementation of Article 18 of the Copyright Directive.

During the discussion, Despringre highlighted that there's lack of harmonisation in defining “authorship of audiovisual works,” and that the CMO's biggest challenge will be fighting to achieve a fair remuneration for audiovisual authors having their work presented on VoD platforms. Schweri talked through the differences between CMOs and privately-owned bodies, pointing out the CMO's strong focus on transparency, inclusiveness, smooth decision-making processes and the supervision of state bodies on their course of actions.

Greve explained why the CMOs’ work is essential: To make art is hard work. It takes months, years to write a book or a screenplay. I live with my story night and day. I have no time left for negotiating or managing my rights. Writing for film and TV is a very isolated and competitive profession. That’s why I joined my CMO when I was a young author, otherwise I would be alone.” Next, Vega added: “Unity is strength. Collectivity is the key here. CMOs can offer a common response and legal solutions to global troubles. I think CMOs are the strong arm that performers can hold onto during their whole career, in the good times and the bad.”

Speaking about Article 18, Heide said that “the process is not over yet” and that “the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) needs to be implemented urgently.” “We must not forget that member states should transform our directive on Copyright Digital Single Market into national laws,” he added. Later, Nienaß invited for an open, productive exchange between stakeholders and politicians: “What we all feel at Cultural Creators Friendship Group is that all member states love culture, they want to support it, but when it comes to concrete proposals in terms of legislative and financial support, suddenly for many of them culture seems to be an additional thing that is just ‘nice-to-have.’ We'd like this to change, in order to give culture a new standing within the political spectrum.”

Towards the end of the panel, the floor was given to Georgoulis, who disclosed:I have taken a new initiative, aiming at the establishment of a European Label or Certificate, for the platforms that play-and-pay fairly. With such a sign or badge, citizens are informed and may make a consumption choice, and thus prefer platforms that pay artists according to their played content.”

The event was organised by the Association of European Performers’ Organisations (AEPO-ARTIS) and the Society of Audiovisual Authors, and supported by the European Parliament’s Cultural Creators Friendship Group (CCFG).

You can watch the full discussion here.

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