2018 in three words: The Copyright Directive

For the SAA’s small team, working in the European House of Authorsin Brussels, 2018 can be summed up in three words: the Copyright Directive.

It has been anotherintense year dedicated to securing that the principle of proportionate remuneration for European filmmakers made its way into the text of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. This required persistent work, joint forces together with the Federation of European Film Directors, the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe and other partner organisations, as well as the active involvement of filmmakers themselves.

In one year, the team had 180 meetings with EU officials, politicians, Member States representatives and stakeholders. Decision-makers and EU-journalists received 25 press-releases, including open statements, joint initiatives and authors’ letters. We kept our readers, followers and subscribers updated about our work through 16 blogposts, four newsletters and on social media platforms, where we increased our Facebookpage likes (71%), LinkedInfollowers (28%) and Twitterfollowers (23%).

We took the opportunity of European film festivals to mobilise filmmakers to express in their own words why the Copyright Directive will play a vital role in their professional life. At the Cannes Film Festival, 99 authors called forthe Directive to effectively deliver on proportionate remuneration, at the Venice Film Festival, 165 filmmakers signed a declarationand at the European Parliament’s LUX Film Price Award, finalists since 2007 signed an open letter. During the year we collected more than 21,000 signatories worldwide for a petitionsupporting screenwriters and directors, which was handed-over by a delegation of authors led by Costa-Gavras to Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. We also organised two successful dinners with our members and authors, one in Brussels inviting representatives from Member States and one in Strasbourg for Members of the European Parliament.

Another important file for authors’ remuneration was the Directive on Broadcasting and Retransmission. In October, we sent a last lettertogether with 15 organisations to push for its adoption. We were relieved that the legislators reached a political agreement on both the Copyright Directive and the Broadcasting and Retransmission Directive, with a final vote in the European Parliament planned for the end of March plenary. Although the final texts of the directives do not measure up to what we initially asked for, they still set out important European rules that will improve authors’ rights and their ability to receive fair and proportionate remuneration for the exploitation of their works. 

During the year we backed up our arguments with a first-ever global legal studyon audiovisual authors' right to remuneration, supported by the SAA and commissioned by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers and Writers & Directors Worldwide.

Last but not least, LATGAin Lithuania, joined the SAA family of collective management organisation, adding up the figure to 32 members from 24 countries, representing over 140,000 film and TV screenwriters and directors

In a year from now we will tell you about our 2019, an exciting year when we will welcome and engage a new European Parliament and Commission in our work for filmmakers’ economic and moral rights.