What we learned from 2021

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Against the backdrop of what we have learned from the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis, the 2019 EU copyright legislation, and a changing audiovisual industry, with the increase of streaming services and online platforms, the SAA has adopted a 3-years strategic plan.

The pandemic and war in Ukraine have been a reminder about the need for solidarity and global solutions. Therefore, in the coming years, we will intensify our connectivity (on and offline) with EU policymakers, SAA members, authors, and we will enhance our involvement in international organisations.

A look back

Indeed, 2020 did not turn out the way we thought. While we were planning to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the SAA, the cultural and creative sectors ended up mobilizing support and raising their concerns to policymakers about the way cultural and creative professionals suffered the COVID-19 health crisis. The SAA was one of the voices. Collective management organisations (CMOs) provided financial and social support, and we organised our first online events to keep on raising awareness about authors’ rights, and interact with Members of the European Parliament and other stakeholders (more about 2020).

Nevertheless, we are agile and by 2021 we successfully adapted to the post-COVID-19 reality. Our small team learned to master the digital tools we needed to make 5 successful online events, carry out 3 social media campaigns and get 200 new followers on LinkedIn. We  communicated 16 press releases and news, 13 blog posts and 5 newsletters.  We also had 16 speaking opportunities, and in total about 160 external meetings with officials from EU and international institutions, politicians, and other stakeholders. Online, we reached both a wider and a targeted audience of professionals working with audiovisual policies and creators themselves.

A look ahead

We will continue to monitor the copyright directives’ transposition and provide legal advice and case studies to SAA’s members. This work is far from over, as all 27 Member States have not finalised the transposition yet. The SAA supports members to make a strong case to their national policymakers to effectively transpose the directive, and advance legal mechanisms to develop current and new revenue streams for authors. In 2021, we invited legal experts, practitioners and academics to our expert seminar on Article 18, discussing fair and proportionate remuneration. This year our seminar will focus on Article 12, looking at how to make the most of the extended collective licensing mechanisms, so even authors not affiliated to CMOs can receive royalties for the use of their works.

Furthermore, we will promote authors’ rights in Europe as a good example globally where authors often lack recognition and rights on their works. In other words, the copyright legislation is not only relevant for EU countries. It is also followed with great interest by authors and their representative organisations outside Europe. This is why our global event with CISAC and W&DW in 2021 was so successful and the reason why we are planning another event, this time with a focus on Europe and Latin America (See also our new international brochure available in several languages).

Lastly, we will continue to showcase the people behind the CMOs. We give visibility to our 33 members in 25 European countries, as well as our dedicated colleagues across Europe who ensure that authors’ royalties are collected and distributed, also to authors abroad. CMOs work to improve national revenue streams so authors can sustain a living and reinvest in their creative activities. We also keep on listening to screenwriters and directors (some of them are SAA Patrons) and share their testimonies of how royalties impact their work and why they are members of a CMO. 

Follow our work!

A. Ryng