European Directors and Screenwriters present SAA White Paper to Culture Commissioner

Some of Europe’s leading audiovisual creators and CEO’s of Europe’s audiovisual collective management societies presented the Society of Audiovisual Author’s (SAA’s) White Paper investigating the rights and remuneration of audiovisual authors in the digital age. The meeting was timely following the publication of the Commission’s communication on a Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights which confirmed that the subject will be treated in the forthcoming Commission Audiovisual Green Paper.

Leading European directors and screenwriters Fred Breinersdorfer (Sophie Scholl), Stijn Coninx (Koko Flanel, Soeur Sourire), Bertrand Tavernier (Un dimanche à la campagne, La Princesse de Montpensier), Jaco Van Dormael (Toto the Hero, Mr Nobody), Virgina Yagüe (Aráyan, El Súper) and CEOs of SAA collective management societies met Commissioner Vassiliou yesterday to present the SAA’s White Paper on Audiovisual Authors’ Rights and Remuneration in Europe and discuss some of the key issues it raises.

SAA representatives welcomed the European Commission Communication on a Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights adopted on 24th May.  The Communication clarifies that the Audiovisual Green paper, due in the second half of 2011, will address “the status of audiovisual authors and their participation in the benefits of online revenue streams”. SAA’s proposal for new mechanisms to respect authors’ rights and to remunerate authors for the online exploitation of their works should be central to the Green Paper.

In their conversation with Commissioner Vassiliou, SAA authors presented the way audiovisual authors work in Europe and the time and energy they spend in creating, developing and producing films in a legal environment which in many countries does not reward their personal investment. They also underlined the need for rules to ensure that market players who benefit from the exposure of films invest in cinema and television production. At a time when distribution channels are multiplying and European films face tough competition with US films, enhanced efforts in distribution are key to the visibility of European works and helping them find an audience both in- and outside of their country of origin.


The Commissioner welcomed these fruitful exchanges with such a high-level and diverse group of authors and re-iterated her support for the MEDIA programme, in particular its development and distribution trends. She highlighted the link between films and education, culture and multilingualism and underlined her efforts for more synergies between them.


Bertrand Tavernier, the award-winning French director said: “VoD and the internet are not only opportunities for my works to reach new audiences but also technical tools that should bring transparency to the exploitation of films.  It should not be a fight for authors to have their rights respected and receive additional remuneration based on the success of their works.”

Stijn Coninx, the renowned Belgian director, said: “It’s vital that the Commission continues to support European cinema and that we can seize the possibilities of the online world.”

Cécile Despringre, Executive Director of SAA added: “This White Paper represents a real evaluation of the current state of play for audiovisual authors like those who attended yesterday’s meeting.  The Commissioner’s interest in our issues is encouraging and we will continue to work with other stakeholders to try and build some industry consensus on how we can guarantee real returns for successful directors and screenwriters”.