Meet our member: AIPA in Slovenia

You may know that on 1 July, Slovenia took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU. However, did you know that Slovenia is the home of 90,000 beekeepers, the oldest known musical instrument (a 60,000 years old ‘Neanderthal Flute’) and AIPA, the collective management organisation of authors, performers, and producers of audiovisual works of Slovenia.

Gregor Štibernik is the Managing Director of AIPA and board member of the SAA. During a video call, I learned more about Gregor, AIPA and his expectation on the Slovenian Presidency.

Gregor has a background as an archaeologist and a musician (playing in a very popular Slovenian 90s folk band ‘Slapovi’). He began his ‘copyright’ career at the collective management organisation for performers in 2005, and in 2010 he was approached by Slovenian audiovisual authors, actors, and producers to run their newly established society AIPA. Today, AIPA is run by a small team of 8 dedicated staff members, serving several hundred members, whereof 500 audiovisual authors, among them screenwriters, directors, directors of photography, and film music composers. The society collects around 6 million euros annually and have bilateral agreements with nearly 50 countries.

“Comparing authors’ rights and income in Slovenia with colleagues from other EU countries, we feel frustrated.”

AIPA collects authors’ royalties for two types of exploitation only: cable retransmission and private copying. In many other EU countries, however, authors receive remuneration through more sources of collection. “We therefore have a clear goal”, explained Gregor: “one of our highest priorities is to expand our license to other usages of audiovisual works, such as broadcasting, and uses of works in bar, shops, and restaurants”.

“Having a one-stop shop for collection is a small but crucial addition, which AIPA is currently focusing all its efforts on getting included into the much-welcomed Slovenian draft copyright law.”

Since the overdue deadline, Slovenia, just like most other EU countries, must implement the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Transposition of the directive into national law is therefore a focus for the Slovenian decision-makers, as well as for AIPA that has been meeting with its policymakers and raising awareness about authors’ rights. By now, the government has presented two promising legal draft acts. Firstly, a draft act on copyright that grants authors more rights than they had before, including a welcomed unwaivable right to remuneration, which AIPA (and the SAA) has been fighting for, for many years. Secondly, another draft act on collective management which organises the way authors are going to be remunerated. Unfortunately, this draft fails to create a remuneration right through a system of collective management, Gregor pointed out.

“SAA is a deep pool of information whenever we need answers to our questions, whether about laws, implementation of directives, data, tariffs, remuneration or other issues.”

AIPA became a member of the SAA in 2015. Gregor stressed how essential it is for collective management organisations (CMOs) to be a member of a European or international umbrella body. “The SAA is the most important one for us, as it is the only one that is solely for audiovisual authors”, said Gregor.

Partnership and cooperation are principles Gregor came back to during our conversation. He highlighted the strong connection AIPA has with the guilds and unions and how important such partnership is to shape a positive environment for the Slovenian audiovisual sector. AIPA also shares premises with the guilds, just like the SAA is sharing roof with other organisations in the European House of Authors. AIPA, and Gregor personally, are working closely with the other CMOs in the region. Together with colleagues in Croatia, they are supporting Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Bosnia, by sharing their experience of setting up the functioning and operational system of enforcement of copyright and related rights. “There is still a lot to do to support the development of CMOs in Western Balkans”, said Gregor.

During its 6-month mandate, the Slovenian EU Presidency will set out the priorities of the EU’s resilience and recovery, future of Europe, rule of law, and transatlantic relations. “Let’s hope that Slovenia finally will get modern copyright legislation which will address its 21st century challenges accordingly”, concluded Gregor. Thanks to the EU Presidency, the attention is on Slovenia and before ending our call, Gregor recommended a visit to his beautiful country, with hospitality, food and wine that will not disappoint!