European screen directors support Danish audiovisual authors in their fight for fair remuneration

FERAvores europæiske paraplyorganisation, har skrevet dette støtte-statement. Det er et forsvar for fair rettighedsbetaling til instruktører, manuskriptforfattere, skuespillere og andre kunstnere, der er påvirkede af det udviklingsstop, som en række streamingtjenester har meldt ud, efter Create Denmark indgik aftalen med Producentforeningen om at sikre kunstnerne løbende betaling for streaming af deres værker.

FERA looks with great concern on the massive pressure put by streamers on our Danish colleagues and other authors in Create Denmark who fight for fair ongoing remuneration for their members, as they have halted all development of new Danish fiction projects leaving many Danish authors without any income. In facing international players, our community must and will stand united.

Streamers and broadcasters are emerging as the rare players to have not only survived but benefitted from the Covid-19 crisis, while local creation, production, distribution, and cinema exhibition infrastructures have been still severely hit. Yet dominant market operators are unilaterally taking business decisions which have a negative impact on the rest of the audiovisual ecosystem, particularly its audiovisual creation and production segment.

In a globalized industry where a few operators concentrate a major part of the value while competing with each other, European audiovisual authors stand to lose on many fronts: artistic and creative freedom, sharing in the economic success of their work, fair remuneration and working conditions, sustainable careers. This does not only affect the way our sector operates on an industrial level, it has an impact on what stories for the screen are told today and will be told in the future across Europe.

The 2019 Copyright Directive identifies the systemic weak bargaining power of authors as a significant market distortion, which is particularly significant in the audiovisual sector and has been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic. It seeks to redress it by providing authors and their representatives with unwaivable means to obtain verified information on the exploitation of their works to conduct fair individual or collective negotiations to value the rights and remuneration models being negotiated, and ways to adjust or terminate their contractual relationships.

As the vast majority are freelancers with little to no job security or access to social benefits, audiovisual authors need to share in the economic success of their works across the board – as authors from other Cultural and Creative sectors traditionally do in Europe. Production costs covering most – if not all – authors’ remuneration does not square with European audiovisual filmmakers’ socio-economic reality and therefore does not qualify as a fair remuneration model.

No market player, no matter its size, should be allowed to unilaterally challenge the letter and the spirit of the common European legal framework and to trample on authors’ rights: without them, there can be no true European cultural diversity in the future.

June 21, 2022, FERA statement