It’s Time to Give Creativity a Future! European Creators Call on the EU to Fix the Transfer of Value

GESAC Press Release – Brussels – 30/05/2017 – At the Meet the Authors event today, creators launched their call to the EU in the presence of high-level decision-makers from Parliament, Commission and the Council. In this call read out to the audience by renowned French visual artist Daniel Buren, creators ask for Europe to put an end to the funnelling of value away from creators to a number of major online platforms. Creators at this event, backed by their authors’ societies, argued that too often today, User Uploaded Content (UUC) platforms that designed their successful business model around giving access to creative content, provide little or no remuneration to those who are at the very basis of that value chain: the creator.

The Meet the Authors gathering was attended by Vice-President Ansip, Commissioner Navracsics, MEPs from the 5 main political groups and from throughout Europe, and Member State Representatives from 13 countries, including 4 Ambassadors. On the author side, there were more than 60 who came from all over Europe, representing a wide spectrum of the arts; composers, lyricists, screenwriters, street artists, photographers, etc.

The creators’ call comes on point, as the Copyright reform is high on the agenda of both European Parliament and Council, who are working on the Commission’s proposal dated September last year. Creators showed their concern about the current discussions taking place in Parliament and Council: even the bare minimum for a meaningful solution to the transfer of value problem that was proposed by the Commission is being questioned, instead of being strengthened further.

The creators’ message at Meet the Authors was unequivocal: unless clear and strong legislation is adopted at EU level, freeriding platforms will continue to have carte blanche for siphoning value from creative and cultural works for their own profit, depriving Europe of one of its main economic assets: the creative sector.

Oscar-winning composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek and keynote speaker for the event said: “As creators, we need to know that there is a sound framework to ensure that those who commercially benefit from the use of our works have our consent and remunerate us appropriately. Without this very basic principle, living as a professional author with full dedication to our work is simply not possible.”

Internationally renowned visual artist Daniel Buren said: “The whole of European creation is at stake here: the EU needs to urgently adapt our legislation to ensure that fertile grounds for creation continue to exist.”

French Ambassador Pierre Sellal, Permanent Representative to the EU, and also keynote speaker said: “The transfer of value, which is the massive distortion in the sharing of the value between creators of cultural content, and the platforms that make them available, is today a threat both for cultural diversity and to the development of the digital single market. This is why a better sharing of the value should be a key objective for the European Union.”

Ambassador Juan Arístegui, Deputy Permanent Representative of Spain to the EU said: “In the 60th anniversary year of the Treaty of Rome, in a more hostile environment for the future of Europe, Culture must serve as a vehicle to unite European citizens. Consequently, we have a unique opportunity to ensure the future of the cultural industry in the digital environment through a fairer sharing of the value; and thereby, enhancing Europe’s cultural diversity, which lies at the heart of the European project.”

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics said: “Cultural content does not come for free and the Commission’s proposal aims to ensure that creators are fairly remunerated for their work.”

MEP Christian Ehler, chair of the CCI Intergroup said: “We have to realise that technology and infrastructure rely on the content provided by creators and therefore, we have to establish a legal framework for the value chain in the digital age that takes into account the specificities of the sector and leads to an actual improvement of the remuneration of authors and creators.”

MEP Pervenche Berès, co-chair of the CCI Intergroup said: “It is time to stop the free-riding of major platforms. Creating a level playing field for copyright in the online market means giving cultural and creative sectors, creators and artists, a future.”

MEP Antonio López-Istúriz White, Secretary General of the European People’s Party (EPP) said: “There is no leading digital single market without quality content. Quality content depends on the authors. Europe should address the pressing issue of transfer of value. It’s not only a matter of fairness but above all it’s about ensuring a digital market with quality and therefore efficient and profitable for everyone.”

MEP Morten Løkkegaard said: “Plurality of thought is a fundamental building block for developed, open and democratic societies. Those who contribute to society must be able to expect reasonable and adequate payment for their work. But at the same time, businesses and institutions should not face unnecessary costs and administration in relation to paying for what they use. EU Member States should ensure due payment with limited and simple administration by establishing systems of extended collective licencing agreements. This is the best way of securing the rights of both users and contributors.”

The full call can be found here.

About GESAC
The European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC) groups some of the largest authors’ societies in the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. As such, we represent more than 1 million creators and rights holders in the areas of musical, audiovisual, visual arts, and literary and dramatic works.
www.authorsocieties.eu – @authorsocieties – secretariatgeneral@gesac.org – +32 2 511 44 54

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