Secretary General's April Digest, 2024

Last Friday (26 April) was the World IP Day. This year’s focus was on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and on finding innovative and creative solutions to rethink how we live, work and play. At the SAA we are doing our part towards new solutions addressing authors’ rights and remuneration in Europe!

In April our small team of four became three as our colleague Evangelos Chatzoulis left for new adventures. While being in the process of replacing the position (Legal and Policy Officer), our workload has intensified. I will highlight a couple of important meetings this month. I also welcome you to read our latest newsletter, summing up our activities for the first quarter of this year.

Close but not close enough for a WIPO study on audiovisual authors’ rights

The SAA have long pushed for an initiative to have WIPO conduct an international study on audiovisual authors’ rights and remuneration. We have worked with CISAC to introduce such a proposal in the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) which holds meetings in Geneva once or twice a year. At the last meeting in November 2023, we managed to get Côte d’Ivoire to table the proposal and got support among country delegates. On 17-19 April, I was back in Geneva after having built on the positive support of the last meeting, however in the end no decision was taken. To make a long story short, the US delegation blocked the decision with the argument that they did not want a study investigating market practices and making recommendations. This unfortunately means that it will take one more year until the proposal is back on the table.

Support for unwaivable and inalienable rights to remuneration for audiovisual authors

The Belgian EU Presidency invited to a Copyright Conference on 8-9 April in Namur. It was a great occasion for policymakers and experts to meet and discuss fair remuneration for authors, performers and creative industries in the digital content landscape. I participated in a panel on creator’s remuneration in the context of musical and audiovisual streaming. I highlighted the specificities of the European audiovisual market being dominated by US operators and its fragmentation due to its linguistic and cultural diversity. I mentioned that collective management organisations were playing an active role in audiovisual authors’ remuneration and that this role was recognised by law, with many statutory remuneration mechanisms in place. Finally, I welcomed Belgium’s transposition of the Copyright Directive, which introduced statutory remuneration mechanisms for on-demand/online exploitation of audiovisual works.

On 23 April, I also participated in a panel of the Creative Poland Association’s annual forum, where I assessed the 26 implementation laws of the Copyright directive in respect of audiovisual authors’ remuneration. I showed that thanks to the directive, progress has been made on the protection of audiovisual authors' rights. I urged Poland to extend its remuneration system to on-demand and online uses so that the Polish law aligns its authors’ remuneration with the expansion of video-on-demand platforms.  

Election campaign: This time we are voting! 

My team and I are focusing on the approaching European elections, soon we will share with you our initiative to encourage the cultural community to vote. In parallel, we are preparing a welcoming package to the newly elected MEPs. 

Together with our members SACD and La Scam in Belgium, in partnership with other European associations, we took part in an elections’ event at our shared premises in the European House of Authors (MEDAA) on the Belgian EU elections on 23 April. We addressed the Belgian French speaking candidates to the European elections and explained them our expectations for the next legislative period. I hope more of such initiatives are taking place across Europe!

Next, Cannes

As always, I will spend some days in May at the Cannes Film Festival. This year, less EU Parliamentarians will be there, considering they are all either focusing on their re-election campaign or other career options following the end of term. Still, there will be plenty of meetings and events, including with the Parliament’s team on EU elections.

Before that, I will take a week off to charge my batteries and return on 7 May.

Let’s hope that May will be the month that finally takes us away from a cold and rainy spring to warm and sunny times 🌞


My 3 reading/watching tips: