Secretary General’s July Digest, 2023

After the summer, the SAA will take on where it left of before the summer break. We will continue our work following the development in the EU Parliament with the Artists’ Status, European Media Freedom Act, Artificial Intelligence and the European elections 2024. Read Cécile Despringre digest of SAA’s activities during the month of July.

The artists’ status

On 4 July, an interesting report was published by EU Member States’ experts with recommendations to improve the working conditions of artists and cultural and creative professionals. They looked at the artists’ status, social security, fair practices, skills, lifelong learning and artistic freedom. The report proposes a legal status throughout the EU to recognise atypical work and give access to revenues, funding and benefits. It can consist of a professional regime/dedicated legislation covering labour, social protection and taxation. Some countries already have such models in place and others are reforming their legislation. My colleague Annica wrote a blog highlighting what is the most interesting for authors in the report. It is coming at a time when the EU Parliament is drafting its own report on an EU framework for the social and professional situation of artists and workers in the cultural and creative sectors. The report is a joint work by the committee responsible for Employment and the Culture committee. the vote is expected in October. It will not be too long to deal with the 515 amendments tabled…

European Media Freedom Act

Previous month I shared with you the ins and outs of our persistent advocacy work to try to influence the EU Parliament's report on the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA), in particular its Article 20, to ensure continued sustainable conditions for the local audiovisual creation across Europe. While the Internal Market committee adopted a good opinion on Article 20, the discussions in the Culture committee (lead committee) have been surprisingly more difficult. Together with other European audiovisual organisations in Brussels we continue advocating for a clear delineation of EMFA with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AMVSD) and avoiding that media operators could challenge AMSD measures through EMFA. The Culture committee will vote on the report in early September. Let’s hope that we will be heard!

Artificial Intelligence

Mid-June we published a short SAA statement responding to the EU Parliament's report on the AI Act. During the summer we will work on developing a full SAA position paper on AI. Some organisations have been quicker than us. We believe it is important that we take the time to properly discuss with the SAA members and reflect on how this technology impacts audiovisual authors long term and what European policymakers can do about it. I take the occasion to highly recommend an interesting Euractiv podcast with Tom Chatfield, author and tech philosopher, that was recorded on the occasion of his participation upon our suggestion in an event organised by the European Internet Forum (of which the SAA is a member).

European elections 2024

During the summer, we will also start developing our campaign strategy ahead of the European elections (6-9 June 2024). The European Parliament have already reached out to us, asking for support to their #ThisTimeImVoting campaign. They want to convey the message that Europe is a living democracy in action and going to vote is a part of it. Although culture will not be a decisive factor of citizens’ choice when casting their votes, it will though be an essential task for us to inform about what the EU can do on audiovisual/media/copyright policies benefitting the European screenwriters and directors. After the elections, our job will be to identify the MEPs that can become the new champions to continue this important work for European culture and authors' rights!  

Final note, on 1 September keep an eye open for the announcement of the 5 finalists of the LUX Audience Award during the Venice Film Festival. Due to the European elections in June 2024, the ceremony will take place already in March, hence the early announcement. Our meeting with MEPs and filmmakers on the occasion of the Award ceremony was already wrapped up in my last message to you (see the press release). 

I will be back to you with another update end of September. Until then I wish you a sunny relaxing summer! 

Warm greetings,

Cécile Despringre

My 3 reading/listening tips: