Secretary General's October Digest, 2023

In the month of October, I first travelled north from Brussels to Finland, and later to a less cold Serbia. Now, I am writing to you from France, where I am stopping for a few days rest before I am continuing my travels in early November to Switzerland, Bulgaria and Austria. Let me share a few words about my journeys.


Early October I was invited by Music x Media, a large annual forum in Finland for national and international music and media professionals in the creative industries. I delivered a keynote speech and participated in a panel, talking about statutory remuneration rights for audiovisual authors and collective management. It is always nice to learn that also at more music-dominated events, there is an interest to exchange and learn about the audiovisual sector’s experiences. It was of course a great occasion to meet Nordic colleagues!

EU institutions

Two important files, the Artificial Intelligence Act and the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) are now in trilogue negotiations between the three EU institutions (the Parliament, Council and Commission).

On AI, we published our position paper on 4 October and shared it with the EU Commissioners and Parliament to highlight authors' challenges. I also invite you to read the insightful speech by ALCS Chair and tech philosopher Tom Chatfield, delivered at the International Federation of Reproductive Rights Organisations (IFRRO) World Congress. He talked about how the debates around AI are framed and how we can think about the issues in more productive and empowering ways. 

On this topic, I participated in two interesting panels organised by the Gent Film Festival in Belgium, on the on the 'Artificial screenwriter' and the 'Artificial actor'. I provided a European and legal perspective on the copyright rules in relation to AI and the current EU discussions on the AI Act. The provocative moderator pushed all panellists to better explain the challenges of AI for creative people in terms of work, rights, contracts as well as opportunities. It reinforced my belief in the need for regulation enshrining principles such as authorisation, remuneration and transparency, as highlighted by the SAA paper.

We also replied to a survey by the EU Commission on the G7 guiding principles for organisations developing advanced AI systems. We focused on the principles of transparency and on appropriate safeguards on the use of copyright-protected works. 

On 24 October, the EU Parliament’s CULT/EMPL committees adopted their report on an EU framework for the social and professional situation of artists and workers in the cultural and creative sectors. It included some important references the essential role of collective management organisations, fair remuneration as well as authorship and AI. The report is planned to be adopted in plenary in November, before the EU Ministers' debate on the status of artist on 24 November.  


In October, with my colleague Evan, we organised meetings of our working groups with the SAA members on the implementation of the Copyright Directive on one hand, and on Retransmission on the other hand. These working groups are important forums where SAA members can discuss and share experiences on topics they face at national level.

We also partnered with the European Film Agencies (EFAD) and the Spanish EU Presidency, together with other European associations, on the screening of 'Championext', a box-office comedy success by Javier Fesser. This 'Rendez-vous with European Cinema' is a recurrent event together with EFAD and the EU Presidencies, aiming at promoting the diversity and beauty of European Cinema.  


Together with our members AIPA in Slovenia and ZAPA in Poland, we organised a regional seminar on audiovisual authors' rights in Central and Eastern Europe on 26-27 October. A third of the SAA's members are from the region, but many countries still do not have collective management organisations and/or are struggling to establish their activities. The main focus of the seminar was on the state of play of audiovisual authors’ rights and their collective management in Central and Eastern Europe, insights from the region and its challenges for CMOs, best practices and  how to go forward.

Participants from 10 countries (Serbia, Poland, Romania, the Republic of Kosovo, Lithuania, Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia as well as France) participated in the meeting. I presented the big picture of the collective right management for audiovisual authors in Europe, and the implementation of the 2019 Directives on Copyright in the Digital Single Market and “SatCab II” in Central and Eastern Europe. We will continue the conversation and I look forward to further cultivate our relations and hope to grow the SAA with new members from the region in the near future!  

Geneva - Sofia - Vienna

Next week I am heading to the meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in Geneva. We are raising awareness on the needs and challenges of audiovisual authors’ rights in this international forum and we hope to convince them to conduct a study in the near future.

While I will be in Geneva, my colleague Annica will attend a capacity-building session on gender pay gap in the audiovisual sector by UNI Europe and EWA Network in Stockholm (Sweden) where she will present our survey results a on gender equality in SAA members (read more).

Next, my colleague Evan will participate in the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) technical committee on audiovisual repertoire in Sofia and provide an update on the implementation of the EU Copyright directive, and I will join to meet our Bulgarian member Filmautor and participate in their campaign for Bulgarian late implementation of the directives.

After that Annica, Evan and I will go to Vienna for our biannual meeting with SAA members, hosted by our Austrian member VdFS. 

I wish you a more relaxing autumn than me and you can follow our work on Instagram, X, Facebook or LinkedIn in between my updates. 

Best regards, 

Cécile Despringre

My 3 reading tips: