Today the EU Parliament passed a resolution addressing the urgent need for an EU framework aimed at improving the social and professional situation of artists and workers in the cultural and creative sectors and calling on the Member States that have not yet introduced a specific status for artists to do so. The SAA welcomes the Parliament’s call to improve the situation for professionals within the cultural and creative sectors, in particular authors’ fair remuneration and recognition of their authorship in relation to AI.
The European Parliament’s resolution acknowledges and highlights several points, including:
Importance of copyright and related rights: in the cultural and creative sector and of properly implementing them, ensuring authors and performers, in their capacity as rightsholders, are fairly remunerated for the exploitation of their works; calls for the meaningful transposition and enforcement of the Copyright Directive, aligned with its objectives (23)
Recognition of collective management organisations’ role: fair remuneration for the use of their creative work is central to authors’ working conditions, as this is the basis of their earnings as professional creators; CMOs play an important role in enabling creators to be remunerated fairly and in contributing to the promotion of cultural diversity and expression (V)
Abusive use of ‘buy-out’ contracts: and coercive practice threatening the working conditions and livelihood of European creators and circumventing EU rules and principles on fair remuneration. The EU Commission must propose the necessary initiatives to address this practice at Union level (26 and 27)
Challenges of AI-generated content: posing a particular challenge to creators at risk of losing their jobs, their remuneration rights, control over their work, or of suffering from deteriorating working conditions. The Parliament calls on the Commission to adopt measures to ensure transparency and accountability of AI systems and algorithms and creators’ enjoyment of their rights. The Commission should also evaluate whether existing text and data mining exceptions are adequately balanced to meet the three-step test and ensure that providers of generative AI comply with the obligations of the forthcoming AI Act, to document and make publicly available a sufficiently detailed summary of the use of training data protected under copyright law, without prejudice to Union or national legislation on copyright (60-64)
Gender inequality in the cultural and creative sectors: the fact that female artists and professionals still do not have equal access to creation and production resources, equal pay for work of equal value, representation in decision-making, work-life balance, and workplaces free from harassment, must urgently be tackled (55)
Artistic freedom: fair social and working conditions and a decent and sustainable level of remuneration, as well as adequate access to social security, are crucial for guaranteeing freedom of artistic expression for all creators and the Parliament recalls the duty of Member States and the Union to protect, defend and assist authors in upholding their freedom of creation and expression (58)
“Challenges and barriers faced by European screenwriters and directors as freelancers are shared with many other professionals within the cultural and creative sectors. The EU Parliament has taken a much-needed holistic approach and proposed a framework that offers cross-cutting solutions for EU Member States. We strongly urge the EU Commission to embrace this initiative.”
Barbara Hayes, Chair of the Society of Audiovisual Authors
In addition to the above mentioned resolution of the European Parliament, the SAA contributed to several related consultation processes: the EU Commission’s study on artists’ working conditions (Nov 2020), the “Voices of Culture” report on the status and working conditions of artists, cultural and creative professionals (Jul 2021), the EU Parliament resolution on the situation of artist and the cultural recovery in the EU (Oct 2021), contribution to UNESCO’s stakeholder consultation on its 1980’s Recommendation (Nov 2022) and the EU OMC group of Member States’ experts report on the status of artists (Jul 2023). The SAA also regularly exchanges with its members and partner organisations on good practices.