Drafting the eighth activity report of the organisation for our General Assembly meeting on 27 March was harder work than in previous years. For the last two years, due to the legislative agenda of the European Commission in our fields of interest, the level of activity has been intense and in 2017 it reached a peak.
We indeed worked on four legislative processes most of which are still ongoing, though one came to an end: the Audiovisual Media Service Directive, the Portability Regulation, the Copyright Directive and the Broadcasting and Retransmissions Regulation.
During the year, in addition to the statutory meetings of SAA governance bodies (four board meetings and two general assembly), we organised over 100 individual meetings with European policy makers to discuss audiovisual authors’ needs and interests. We spent a lot of time in the European Parliament, where we organised four events, three in Brussels and one in Strasbourg at which SAA members’ experts and authors could talk to Members of the European Parliament about their concerns. To celebrate European cultural diversity, we partnered with other organisations to organise five screenings of European films in Brussels and Paris, often with the participation of the film director. I also had the opportunity to speak at 10 conferences, seminars or workshops across Europe (Paris, Ljubljana, Rome, Warsaw, Belgrade, Ghent, Amsterdam, Sofia, Tirana and Madrid) on one or more SAA topics; my favourite being of course the need for an unwaivable right to remuneration for audiovisual authors to be included in the Draft Copyright Directive.
On this particular topic, SAA’s Board of Patrons signed a letter to the European Parliament, rapidly joined by more than 100 filmmakers for a Declaration at the Cannes Film Festival and 192 filmmakers for a Tribune at the Berlin Film Festival. These initiatives were followed by the call signed by 126 European screenwriters and directors that has gathered the support of more than 13,000 people from 95 countries through the FERA/FSE/SAA online petition (still ongoing).
Last but not least, two new members joined the SAA, reaching a total of 31 members from 23 countries who together manage rights for 138,000 audiovisual authors. To pursue its activities, SAA employs a small team of four people who work hard for the advancement of authors’ rights in the audiovisual sector.
My wish is that, a year from now, I will be able to write in the annual report of 2018, that the efforts of SAA’s team and members were convincing enough for European institutions to adopt a new Copyright Directive that finally contains a remuneration right for audiovisual authors!
126 prominent screenwriters and directors across Europe have come together to call on the legislators of the European Union to seize the momentum of the adoption of the Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market to support Europe’s creators in the online environment.