Licences for Europe : SAA at heart of concrete progress

SAA involved in most progressive proposals from stakeholder dialogue on getting Europe’s film heritage online and making our European services portable.

On 13th November 2013 the closing plenary of the 9-month stakeholder dialogue saw a number of presentations from the four different working groups.  SAA was involved in 3 of the different working groups and actively contributed to 4 areas of progress:

  1. Bringing Europe’s film heritage online
  2. Improving portability of services within Europe
  3. Audiovisual work identifiers
  4. Public Service Broadcasters’ archives

The standout result was an agreement to make it easier for Europe’s Film Heritage Institutions to make films available online.  The agreement, which was co-signed by representatives from audiovisual CMOs, directors, producers and film heritage institutions, should make it easier for film heritage institutions to secure the rights to digitise and make available the works in their archives while remunerating rightholders for any subsequent uses.  Andrew Chowns of SAA member Directors UK was heavily involved in the work on this and we would like to thank him for all his efforts.

SAA also got behind two announcements on cross-border portability of audiovisual services.  The first a broad statement from the entire working group, the second a more progressive commitment from European VOD services to make real portability a more immediate reality.

The third working group that was focussing on audiovisual heritage also made a lot of progress on facilitating the identification of audiovisual works through international identifiers such as ISAN.  With the eventual backing of 13 organisations in the group including heritage institutions, regional support bodies, producers, directors and the identifiers themselves, a final declaration clearly showed the desire to see identifiers used more systematically to increase licensing, make it easier for works to be made available and, particular important for SAA, authors to better and more efficiently be remunerated.

The final area of progress was public service broadcasters’ archives.  SAA and EBU made considerable progress in terms of possible collective licensing solutions to the broadcasters’ own-produced works in their archives.  Discussions here will continue to include other stakeholders.

The European Commission will take these results into account as it continues its review of the 2001 copyright directive.  One thing that cannot be in doubt is that audiovisual authors’ collective management organisations are committed to helping screenwriters and directors’ works reach bigger audiences and for their creativity to be remunerated.