AEPO-ARTIS Seminar Underlines Need for Collectively Managed Remuneration Right

Brussels, 17 November 2020 – AEPO-ARTIS Seminar Underlines Need for Collectively Managed Remuneration Right

On 17 November 2020, AEPO-ARTIS hosted their annual online seminar entitled “Performers and performers’ rights: How can we create a sustainable creative eco-system in Europe?”. Speakers included EU lawmakers as well as stakeholders and academics from EU Member States. All highlighted the short and long-term plight of performers and called for a coordinated and effective implementation of the 2019 EU Copyright Directive, particularly with regard to Article 18.

Performers cannot live off their work. The recent sanitary crisis has brought to light the hardship of performers’ livelihoods. Speakers pointed to low revenues from online platforms and poor government support. AEPO-ARTIS President Tilo Gerlach underlined performers’ inability to claim rights that should theoretically be protected by law. He was supported by German MEP Niklas Nienass who emphasized that “only 1% of performers live off of revenue from streaming services”, despite this outlet now being users’ primary source of music and videos. He called for a “social safety network” that would ensure artists and performers’ protection in times such as these.

While Nienass mentioned the difficult yet potential short-term opportunity for the creative sector to obtain a percent of the EU recovery funds, the collective consensus around the (virtual) discussion table was clear – a coordinated and effective transposition of the 2019 EU Copyright is crucial to the sector welfare.

The 2019 EU Copyright Directive could ensure the protection of performers. Chapter 3 of the 2019 EU Copyright Directive calls for the fair remuneration in exploitation contracts of authors and performers. This includes that “Member States shall ensure that authors and performers […] are entitled to receive appropriate and proportionate remuneration.” (Art.18) EU Commission Head of Unit Marco Giorello stressed the important of this Directive, particularly this chapter: “This is the first time there is comprehensive legislation that regulates this sector for performers at European level.” He is joined by Spanish academic Professor Raquel Xalabarder who added that “this is a great opportunity for Member States to set this right and secure appropriate and proportionate remuneration for performers.”

The transposition of this Directive does present challenges. Director-General of French CMO ADAMI, Bruno Boutleux, pointed out that Article 18-22 “enable too much flexibility [in terms of transposition] due to the compromises that had to be found during the trilogue.” Giorello concurred and added that while on one side, the Directive leaves “too much margin to Member States,” it is also difficult for approximately 15 countries where there are already provisions with regard to contracts between producers and performers/authors: “Those Member States look first at what is already in their legislation and build on that as opposed to introducing new [perhaps more effective] mechanisms.”

Collectively managed remuneration right - the most appropriate solution. In discussing the best way in which to implement the 2019 EU Copyright Directive, Professor Xalabarder warned against a copy-paste approach to the transposition. Following thorough research on the topic, Xalabarder recommends a statutory unwaivable remuneration right for on demand uses, managed by collective management organisations and paid by digital platforms. Read our blog on her research here.

This model is already used in Spain, and according to Vice-President of AEPO-ARTIS José Maria Montes, Spanish CMOs are successfully collecting remuneration from streaming platforms on behalf of performers. This includes non-Spanish performers: “AISGE and AIE collect remuneration on behalf of all performers elegible for protection under Spanish Copyright, which in many cases include third countries non-EU Member States.”

Nienass further supported this argument and added that this measure ensures a more “direct representation of artists and performers, eliminating a middle-man, and leaving more funds for the entitled.”

An approaching deadline. Member States have until June 2021 to complete the transposition of the 2019 EU Copyright Directive into national legislation, a fast-approaching deadline for most. Indeed, while France has already triggered the transposition through ordinance, most Member States have yet to publish their legislation proposals regarding this issue due to COVID-19 delays.

Read a follow up from our host AEPO-ARTIS here:

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