The Fair Remuneration Issue
In the majority of countries, screenwriters and directors in the audiovisual sector do not have a right to receive fair remuneration for the reuse or rebroadcast of their work.
While the various operators, broadcasters and distributors get fairly remunerated, the creator at the very heart of the project rarely receives the same treatment. The aim of the Audiovisual Campaign is to help correct this imbalance.
The overwhelming majority of screenwriters and directors are self-employed individuals which in most countries means they have no sick pay, pension or regular wages. The process of bringing new work to the screen meanwhile, is long and uncertain. Without the ability to earn a fair livelihood from their back catalogue, many are forced to leave the industry.
Why Does The Audiovisual Campaign Matter?
This decrease in livelihood matters because each year, screenwriters and directors create works that generate employment and value for their national economies while enhancing the vitality of the world’s culture. Today, the European audiovisual and film sector makes a huge contribution that is under threat due to the lack of fair remuneration.
The Contribution Made to the EU Economy by European Audiovisual and Film Sector
The Number of Jobs Supported by the European Audiovisual and Film Sector
Source: “Remuneration of authors and performers for the use of their works and the fixations of their performances” study prepared by Europe Economics-IVIR for the European Commission
Imagine how much greater this contribution could be if the law insisted that screenwriters and directors were fairly treated as equal partners
How Did We Get Here?
Even Before the Work Exists, the Author Has Already Relinquished Everything
When lawmakers established a specific right for authors over two centuries ago, their aim was to create a legal framework that fostered the development and diversity of creation. It enabled authors to make a living from their creations and to share in the success of their work. Over the years however, screenwriters and directors have seen this essential link between the use (or exploitation) of the work and the author’s remuneration become eroded.
In too many countries today, a crude lump-sum fee has replaced the legitimate right to proportional remuneration for each use. Due to the global market for audiovisual works, authors in all regions are affected. But that’s not the only issue with this process.
The negotiation of this fee occurs prior to the start of production, long before anybody could accurately estimate the value of any future success. There is no way therefore that this initial payment could be considered fair for either party. Additionally, as most authors are independent individuals, they will often end up negotiating their contracts against huge organisations from such a point of weakness that holding out for a fairer deal is not a viable option.