Authors’ right to remuneration is universal

The situation of screenwriters and directors differs across the globe, but the solution to secure that they actually get remuneration for the exploitation of their works is universal: a legal mechanism of a right to remuneration is what is needed.

This is the conclusion of a recent international legal study commissioned by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and Writers & Directors Worldwide.

The study, by Professor Raquel Xalabarder, is being published at the occasion of the European Day at the Cannes Film Festival and in the run-up to the vote in the European Parliament on the new Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

Xalabarder examines the situation of audiovisual authors worldwide and highlights that authors very much depend on the contracts signed with producers. As they are in a weak bargaining position in the negotiation process, contracts are often take-it or leave-it. A recent economic study by the Federation of European Film Directors (FERA) and the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE) further paints the bleak picture of how audiovisual authors in Europe have extremely unstable and modest incomes, and very few can make ends meet.

The global legal study looks into the remuneration systems in different countries and concludes that the most effective way to ensure that audiovisual authors receive fair remuneration is by including an unwaivable and inalienable right to remuneration in the law and entrusting collective management organisations to collectively negotiate their remuneration with users. It reassures that a legal solution would benefit all parties involved in audiovisual production and exploitation, ensuring a constant flow of remuneration to authors directly from users and it would not impinge on the commercial exploitation of the works by the producer.

The study proves the point that the problem is not geographically limited, nor should the solution be. In fact, European and international harmonisation is what would benefit authors the most, as it is in their interest that their works cross borders and are viewed online, worldwide.

The European Union often tends to regard itself as progressive in relation to other parts of the world, yet, when it comes to authors’ rights, the study shows that this is not always the case. Countries such as India, Chile and Colombia are setting examples outside the EU by introducing an unwaivable right to remuneration for audiovisual authors in their respective laws.

While this new report is first of its kind, its findings reiterate what SAA has been calling for as a European organisation, since its creation in 2010. For almost a decade, we have explained in text, images and videos why authors’ right to remuneration should not be overlooked, to sustain a vibrant and healthy audiovisual sector in Europe (see our campaign material). Since the beginning of the year, we have also gathered more than 15.100 signatories from over 100 countries for a petition supporting European directors and screenwriters, and testimonies from prominent audiovisual authors themselves.

It is time for the Council and Parliament of the EU to adopt an ambitious Copyright Directive that does not leave audiovisual authors behind.


Read our press release here

For 6-page summary of the study go here.


Sign the Petition - Support Europe’s screenwriters and directors

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.

Read more about our campaign.