EFADs makes a declaration on territorial exclusivity at Cannes
by Birgit Heidsiek
- CANNES 2017: Film agencies are calling on the European Commission, Parliament and Council to preserve the principle of territoriality
In the context of the 70th Cannes Film Festival and the European Film Agency Directors’ (EFADs’) plenary meeting, the EFADs has drafted a Cannes Declaration that calls for the preservation of territoriality. The EFADs, which brings together the directors of European film agencies in 31 countries in Europe (the EU, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), is concerned about the impact of certain proposals that form part of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy.
The film agencies are calling on the European Commission, Parliament and Council to preserve contractual freedom and territorial exclusivity. This specific model of financing in the European audiovisual sector is fundamental to the creation, promotion and circulation of Europe’s cultural diversity, to the benefit of European audiences. “It is the foundation of the audiovisual sector, reducing the risk of investment and sharing the costs across different players who decide the best way to promote and tailor a film to each specific market in order to build the audience,” the EFADs members explain.
A key demand of the EFADs is to delete the country-of-origin principle in the draft regulation. “The country-of-origin principle in the Satellite and Cable Directive cannot simply be transposed to the online environment,” emphasise the film agencies. “The directive was developed specifically for satellite, and it is not fit for purpose in the fast-moving online environment.” Furthermore, the EFADs is demanding the removal of audiovisual services entirely from the geo-blocking regulation. As stated by the European Commission, “The financing of the audiovisual sector widely relies on a system based on territorial exclusivity, which as such cannot be considered as unjustified geo-blocking.”
Instead, the EFADs suggests focusing on initiatives that could foster the audiovisual industry in Europe. These measures include improving enforcement against the unauthorised use of copyright-protected works. Another initiative is to provide data transparency regarding individual film performances on VoD services, and to ensure the exposure, visibility and promotion of European works on on-demand services in line with the new provisions of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. A further goal is to develop and promote legal offerings in the different member states through initiatives such as the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s Agorateka.
Last but not least, the EFADs would like to strengthen supporting initiatives that foster European creation and circulation. This includes an increase in the budget of the current and future Creative Europe MEDIA programme, and ensuring that the needs of the European audiovisual sector and audiences, such as film-education and media-literacy initiatives, are met. Another measure would be to improve collaboration with local distributors to support the promotion of European films as well as audience-building activities at the national and European levels.
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