Published on: 14 February 2019 in Campaigns

A step towards fairness: negotiators reach an agreement on the new EU Copyright Directive

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Directors are now one step closer to gaining the right to fair remuneration for the use of their works, after a political agreement on the new EU Copyright Directive was reached last night.

Following an intense period of negotiation, on Wednesday 13 February EU decision-makers resisted a campaign of lobbying and disinformation from technology giants to reach a decision that will benefit directors — and indeed all those who produce creative works — right across Europe. 

A new, clearer legal framework agreed at the trilogue negotiations will modernise copyright rules to make sure that they are fit for purpose in a rapidly changing world of video-on-demand platforms and streaming services. The key clauses in the Directive include:

  • The right to fair and proportionate remuneration for uses of your work
  • The right to receive information about the uses of your work
  • A right to request renegotiation of your contract if it turns out that you do not receive proportionate remuneration, and
  • The right to access a disputes resolution process

Until now, directors have had scant financial reward for the success of their work online. This is a bold step towards changing that. 

There’s still some work to be done. The agreement reached on Wednesday now needs to be confirmed by the European Parliament and the EU Council in the coming weeks, and there is a 24-month implementation period that extends beyond our own mooted transition period for leaving the EU. Given the uncertainty that surrounds our Brexit timeline, the question of how we incorporate this into UK law might still have to be revisited.

On social media, Directors UK Chair Steve Smith welcomed these new developments while also urging caution, given the timeline of our exit from the EU: “This is brilliant news for Directors UK members. But still a lot of work to do to ensure it becomes UK law before any Brexit deal.”

Meanwhile, Directors UK CEO Andrew Chowns added: “After months of determined lobbying by our international Director organisations, FERA and SAA, and Directors UK’s own lobbying action with our UK MEPs, MPs and Ministers, I am delighted and relieved we have got past this crucial hurdle, especially since the Directive has been the subject of a massive and self-serving anti-lobby by global tech giants.”

You can find out more about this latest development on the copyright directive over at Screen International. 

Read the SAA (Society of Audiovisual Authora), FERA (Federation of European Film Directors) and FSE (Federation of Screenwriters in Europe) joint press release.

Read the European Commission press release.

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