Secretary General's December Digest, 2023

Before wishing you a well-deserved winter break together with your loved ones, I would like to share a few highlights from a short but busy December.

Firstly, last week we were delighted to be visited by our new Hungarian Patron, Lászlo Bernát at the office. We had a valuable exchange about the situation for authors in Hungary and the work of Filmjus (the CMO for audiovisual authors). My wish for 2024 is to have a chance to meet more of SAA’s Patrons in person; it is worth so much more than all digital correspondence, isn’t it?

Although the EU election is not until June next year, the last plenary of the EU Parliament will be in April. This means that the EU institutions are already trying to finalise their files. This explains why this December has been particularly active.

A political compromise was reached on the AI Act

On 8 December, after intense negotiations, the EU Parliament, Council and Commission reached a political compromise on the EU Act on Artificial Intelligence. Thanks to the Parliament determination, they seem to have agreed on copyright recognition and transparency obligations for general-purpose AI models’ providers operating in the EU market, but the text has not been released yet. The technical discussions are continuing and must consolidate the political agreement, but there is still a threat that some Member States may try to weaken it, instead of making transparency a reality. We therefore published a press release to send a message to the negotiators:

“The EU AI Act is the first regulation of its kind in the world and a one-time opportunity for EU Member States to be leaders of innovation that protects and promotes the continued development of human creativity and original works. The devil is in the details, so we trust the technical negotiators to be vigilant to ensure the spirit of a human-centric and trustworthy legislation.” - Barbara Hayes, Chair of the Society of Audiovisual Authors

A unified audiovisual sector influenced the EU Parliament’s resolution on Geo-blocking

On 13 December, the EU Parliament voted on a resolution about the implementation of the Geo-blocking Regulation. Ahead of its vote, the film and audiovisual sector came together and signed a joint letter urging the EU Parliament to cast a vote in favour of culture by opposing the call for future inclusion of audiovisual services in the scope of the regulation. More than 700 organisations signed the statement, including the SAA and many members. The outcome of the vote was positive for the European audiovisual sector as the most dangerous provisions of the resolution prepared by the Parliament’s Committee on internal market (IMCO) were deleted. In addition, positive amendments justifying the geo-blocking for the financing of films and for co-productions were added. It then provides a more balanced assessment of the Regulation for when the Commission will review the legislation.

Save the date and sign up to our next online event on Artificial Intelligence on 30 January!

We are right now putting together an online expert seminar that will discuss the impact of generative AI on audiovisual authors’ work and rights in Europe, in relation to - but not limited to - the EU AI Act. Building on the success of the SAA’s previous events (on extended collective licensing in 2022 and on Article 18 DSM in 2021), this expert seminar will bring together distinguished guests, including policymakers, academics, authors and SAA members’ representatives. The width of views and insights will provide a unique perspective to the revolution affecting the audiovisual sector. Please register here and you will receive the programme in January.

Talking about January, Belgium will take over Spain in holding the Presidency of the EU Council. We are looking forward to collaborating with our home country representatives!

My team and I will leave for holidays at the end of the week, but we will be back after New Year to continue developing our activities.

Until then, season’s greetings from all of the team!

Best wishes,


Instead of sharing my 3 reading tips, for this time I recommend you to instead enjoy a relaxing novel or a good film. I warmly recommend you to watch one of the LUX Audience Award nominated films that are now being screened across Europe!