DRAFT DIRECTIVE ON COPYRIGHT IN THE DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET IS A LOST OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE FOR EUROPE'S PERFORMERS
PRESS RELEASE BRUSSELS, 14 SEPTEMBER 2016
Performers (actors, dancers, musicians...) in
Europe stand united to express their disappointment today with respect to the
very limited ambitions of the European Commission's proposal for a Directive on
"Copyright in the Digital Single Market". Regretfully, articles 14-16 in
TITLE IV, chapter 3 of the proposed Directive on "fair remuneration in
contracts of authors and performers" do not properly address performers'
legitimate expectations regarding their remuneration for the distribution of
their performances online.
Xavier Blanc, Secretary
General of AEPO-ARTIS, partner of the FAIR INTERNET coalition said: "This is
a lost opportunity for the European Commission to make a real difference for
performers and to act in conformity with its official commitments. Regrettably,
the Commission is not listening to the legitimate demands of the 500,000
European performers represented by the FAIR INTERNET coalition".
Benoît Machuel, General Secretary of the
International Federation of Musicians (FIM), said: "For the vast majority of
performers, a mechanism to rebalance unfair contracts is simply not
enough. What we need is a right for all performers to be paid each time a
performance is used online on iTunes, Netflix or Spotify".
A modernised, digital
single market deserves better than marginal adjustments. Performers are at the
root of creation. Depriving them of legitimate revenues cannot be an option.
transparency and contract adjustment mechanisms set out in articles 14-16
largely ignore the needs of the vast majority of performers. Today, a single
fee for all uses and in all territories is what most of them receive after the
signature of their contract. Only a very small minority receives royalties,
which generally are low and non-transparent. Obviously, the references to
a "significant contribution", an "administrative burden [that] would
be disproportionate to the revenues generated" or an "agreed
remuneration disproportionately low compared to the subsequent revenues",
despite their staggering ambiguity, are primarily meant to provide for lead
Even for the small
minority of artists who could be eligible to benefit from articles 14-16,
provided that the ambiguities in the text could be properly addressed, the
proposed mechanism remains quite weak in its current wording, as it relies to a
large extent on interpretation and national transposition. More generally, it
is based on the wrong assumption that contractual remunerations are fair by
default, leaving performers with the burden of proof and the obligation to go
through complicated, long, costly and uncertain procedures in order to try and
redress an imbalanced situation.
The FAIR INTERNET
coalition calls once again on the European Parliament and the Council to ensure
that performers receive a fair share of online revenues, through an unwaivable
remuneration right for digital uses of their work, collected from users who
make the performances available on demand and subject to mandatory collective
Legal on demand Internet streaming and download
services, such as, iTunes, Spotify and Netflix are ever growing in popularity.
In the first half of 2015 over 1 Trillion songs, films and TV series have been
streamed/downloaded, more than double all of 2014.
However, performers are
still not getting a fair share of the revenues from these services.
Today, a single recording fee for all
territories is what most performers receive after the signature of their
contract. Only a very small minority of them receive royalties, which generally
are low and non-transparent.
The FAIR INTERNET
coalition partners, AEPO-ARTIS, EuroFIA, FIM and IAO, representing over half a million
music and audiovisual performers in Europe, calls for EU law to provide
performers with a right to an equitable remuneration collected from on-demand
services by performers' collective management organisations.
For more information please visit www.fair-internet.eu or contact Nicole Schulze: +32 478 250 951