Published on: 20 February 2015 in Campaigns

Possible changes to Copyright. Your work on demand: anytime, anywhere, any cost?

Reading time: 4 minutes and 24 seconds

Directors UK's Joint Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Amanda Parker writes…

The European Commission is looking at the Copyright Directive and considering possible reforms.  This is very important to us, and to you, because the ownership of your copyright is fundamental to your ability to protect your creative rights and our ability to ensure you get properly rewarded for your work.

The European Parliament is looking to influence the next steps of the Commission and has taken the first step this year with some of its committees considering what reforms should take place.  Its legal committee is taking a leading role and has produced a draft report written by Julia Reda.

Julia Reda MEP

Julia Reda represents the Pirate Party in Europe.  The party is pro-consumer, arguing for a borderless Europe that puts consumers at the centre of decisions about how and where your work is seen.   

Her report sets out a list of radical reforms to copyright in Europe.  Almost all of these proposed reforms have been suggested by consumer groups, and her report has virtually ignored the views of broadcasters, producers, directors and other authors. 

She has now written a blog post, calling for content creators to get in touch directly as she wants to hear from authors first hand.  In it she expresses concerns about collective management organisations (CMOs) and collecting societies. She suggests that collecting societies may not be accurately representing the interests of their members. 

She also says ‘users want broad access to information and an end to the criminalisation of their everyday behaviour’ .  What she means is that consumers should be able to do things like file sharing, copying to and from devices, user-generated content, mash-ups etc. without seeking licences or permissions or making payments to authors and rights holders. 

If the EU directive is reformed as she suggests, this could impact significantly on future earnings for authors.  Many of her proposals will have the effect of reducing the scope and value of your copyright.

This is her blog, calling for responses from individual creators and not CMOs…

The Pirate Party has previously managed to energise and motivate a very effective consumer lobby, which is in favour of radical copyright reform.  The Pirate Party has asked for – and achieved – a number of individual responses in support of her plans.  We think her request to hear directly from creative individuals gives you an opportunity to tell her what you think. 

It’s important that you as individual Directors UK members are heard, as much weight is being attached to direct responses from individuals.

We therefore urge members to respond.

You might find it helpful to consider the following points in particular.

Directors UK is a collecting society and we represent the views of our individual members - of whom you are one.  Directors UK’s Board is run by its members – all of whom are individuals, voted on by their peers to represent their interests Our aim is to have your work seen as widely as possible, as frequently as possible; with you, the author, being paid fairly and keeping your rights as an author intact. You as an individual author may feel more vulnerable in negotiations concerning your contractual, creative and economic rights without support from Directors UK.  If you feel you rely on us (your CMO) to help ensure you receive fair remuneration for your work, and protect your work from unauthorised or illegal uses - something which is far more difficult to achieve alone and without the support of an organisation championing your rights - we would urge you to say so. Please say whether you agree that users should be able to legally continue their ‘everyday behaviour’ of disseminating your work without you receiving financial or creative recognition. Julia Reda mentions in her report that authors should receive ‘appropriate remuneration’ for their work.  She doesn’t go into further detail on this, so it is also worth stating to her just what this means to you:  increasingly in the digital age we are witnessing an increase of exploitation against authors, in the form of unfair contracts, inequitable remuneration and pressure to waive creative rights away. Without creators, there is nothing for audiences to consume:  copyright exists to connect consumers with directors, authors, producers, broadcasters, so any proposal for reform needs to look at the interests of all, and not just any one group.

Thank you for your support and participation: please take a moment to respond, because the more responses received by individual creators, the greater the opportunity to influence change for the better.

If you’d like to take a look at the draft report in full, please click here

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