The European Parliament took a major step towards fair remuneration for directors today, as MEPs voted in favour of the new Copyright Directive, by 348 votes to 274.
Following a long and hard-fought battle, the directive was approved in full — including Articles 13 and 11, which had been subject to intense and misinformed anti-lobbying campaigns backed by US tech giants. The directive will now provide, for the first time, the following rights for directors:
- The right to fair and proportionate remuneration for uses of your work online
- 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
These rights could not be more essential, as a recent EU-wide survey from FERA and the FSE demonstrates how unstable creative professions can be — with 85% of respondents working freelance, exhibiting little contractual bargaining power, and with median earnings of just € 19,000 (£16,189). In a profession that can be this financially and contractually unpredictable, proper digital remuneration is key.
Directors UK CEO Andrew Chowns commented: “Make no mistake, this is a momentous decision by the European Parliament. This Directive — when passed into UK law — will give Directors not only the right to fair and proportionate remuneration but it also equips us with the legal means to defend and protect this right, wherever and by whoever their work is used. The days of unfair buyouts are numbered.”
Directors UK Chair Steve Smith said: “I’d like to say an enormous thank you to everyone who's worked so hard over recent years to transform copyright for the digital age. The news today that the EU Parliament have voted by a large majority to adopt the Copyright Directive will be a game changer for authors, directors and all European creators. It will modernise copyright and, for the first time, enshrine the right for authors, directors and musicians to receive fair remuneration for the use of our work online. Like other directors, my work is uploaded and used all over the internet, for which I receive no additional payment. The implementation of the Copyright Directive will level the playing field between creators and the tech giants and help directors, for the first time, be rewarded fairly for the use of our work.”
While we can – and should – celebrate this victory for creators around Europe, there is still some work to be done. The Directive now needs to be implemented on a national level in all EU member states, and we will need to make sure the Directive is brought into UK law post-brexit.
But for today, we can reflect on a historic result for directors — and indeed all creators — across Europe and offer our thanks to everyone who joined us in emailing their MEPs and campaigning for a just copyright framework. There may be one of you, but together are many of us.