How to exploit authors’ work without exploiting the author

(c) Maxime Faury

How can screenwriters and directors ensure their films have the chance to be viewed by as many as possible and at the same time get fairly and proportionately paid for the success? This was one out of many interesting discussions at the dinner during SAA's event in the European Parliament, called ‘One Day in Strasbourg’.

The aim of ‘One Day in Strasbourg’ is for SAA members to meet their Members of the European Parliament individually during the day and to gather in the evening for a dinner and further discussions, with MEPs and authors who can share their experience. The event is organised in partnership with the LUX Film Prize, FERA and FSE.

This year, the conversations were very much about the European Parliament’s position on the Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market and its much-needed proposal to include a principle of fair and proportionate remuneration for authors for the exploitation of their works. We were happy to welcome many MEPs to the dinner, among them Evelyne Gebhardt, Vice-President of the Parliament, who delivered a vibrant speech in support of authors and their fair remuneration, as well as many authors, including the three directors finalists of the 2018 LUX Film Prize: Benedikt Erlingsson (Woman at War), Wolfgang Fischer (Styx) and Mila Turajlić (The Other Side of Everything); three French audiovisual authors: Christian Carion, Gilles Cayatte, Zouhair Chebbale; two authors from Germany: Peter Carpentier and Jobst Oetzmann; Hrvoje Hribar from Croatia and Mar Targarona from Spain.

The LUX Film Prize is a unique platform for European filmmakers’ work to reach European audience by providing visibility and subtitles in the EU official languages. Through their powerful films, the LUX Film Prize finalists of 2018, brought the attention to topics high on the EU’s political agenda: environment, migration, war history and inheritance. In Strasbourg, they also brought the attention to another hot topic: the trilogue negotiations on the Copyright Directive to finalise the legislative text before the European elections. Together with several of the LUX Film Prize previous years’ finalists, Benedikt Erlingsson, Wolfgang Fisher and Mila Turajlić were the signatories of an open letter to convey that we need to talk not only about their films, but about how the authors are being remunerated for what they create. As Mila Turajlić said in her speech to the MEPs at the dinner: “stay firm on your proposal because we authors need it and European cinema needs it. Please ensure that the Directive delivers for authors so that we can continue to make films”.

Following the European elections in 2019, we look forward to welcoming new and remaining MEPs at the next edition of ‘One Day in Strasbourg’ and our dinner in partnership with the LUX Film Prize. Hopefully the Directive will be adopted, with a full right to proportionate remuneration for authors, and we will have the opportunity to discuss other topics of concern for Europe’s screenwriters and directors.