In a few weeks, EU citizens’ will elect a new European Parliament. Looking back, the Parliament has done a lot for directors and screenwriters in Europe, and one could ask: Is there anything more to do? Yes there is.
Before ending its term, the European Parliament and its co-legislator, the Council, concluded three very important pieces of legislation for filmmakers in Europe: The Audiovisual Media Services Directive that has been updated to set clear rules for video-on-demand platforms, the Directive on Broadcasting and Retransmissions and the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which both improved authors’ entitlement to remuneration for the exploitation of their works. As it is now up to Member States to implement these texts, one may wonder if there is anything more for the Parliament to do for creators? The answer is yes: there are indeed several ways the new European Parliament can improve the creators’ position:
Generate new solutions and address the gaps
Creators in general, and screenwriters and directors in particular, face unstable income, unpaid work, job insecurity and a gender pay gap. The problems have already been well documented by studies at the European level and globally. Now, it is time to address the situation. As Einstein said “[w]e cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. Setting up a European Creators’ Intergroup would be an excellent way for MEPs across the political spectrum to come together and talk about the issues and find new solutions, together with creators and their representatives around the table.
A European Creators’ Intergroup could become instrumental in generating ways to improve creators’ position within the cultural and creative sectors. It would be a space for sharing research and good practices, such as how different legal frameworks and industry practices impact creators and the quality of European production: from their education, lifelong training, working conditions, financial situation, career development, mobility, economic and moral rights, etc.
Tackle gender inequality
Gender inequality is a fact, in society at large and the audiovisual sector is no exception. One challenge is about equal access to the film industry, where female directors and screenwriters are underrepresented, paid less and do not have access to the same budgets for their projects. Another challenge is the way gender is featured and represented on the screen. MEPs have a key role to continue highlighting gender inequality and promote women in the creative sector. They can do so by requesting a harmonised methodology for collecting and monitoring data on gender in the EU audiovisual sector as well as by continuing to supportthe European Parliament’s LUX Film Prize and ensuring the next generation of the Creative Europe Media programme delivers its promises on this issue (Read our related blogs).
Promote EU authors’ rights and culture globally
The European Parliament plays a crucial role in defending European values on an international level. Authors’ rights and cultural diversity should be high on this agenda. To protect European advancement of authors’ rights and cultural diversity, MEPs must scrutinize the on-going and future negotiations at international level (within the World Intellectual Property Organisation and trade talks) to ensure that hard fought battles won’t be lost.
To sum up...
Generating new solutions and addressing the gaps, tackling gender inequality and promoting EU authors’ rights and culture globally are some of the ways the next EU institutions can continue support creators. Last month (16 April), the EU Ministers of Culture adopted a declaration to highlight their joint responsibility:
“to ensure that copyright and related rights form one of the cornerstones of the Union’s efforts to support artists, creators and cultural creation, to strengthen the creative economy in the digital age, to protect its cultural diversity and to ensure that more works are available to people across Europe and beyond.”
This is one of the many reasons to celebrate this week’s Europe Day. We hope the new European Parliament too will embody this commitment. The SAA and our members are looking forward to welcoming and supporting the new MEPs in their work in this field.
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