Wim Wenders, Bela Tarr, Ken Loach [pictured] and Paul Laverty are among nearly 16,000 names from the European film industry who have so far signed a Creators’ Petition arguing for the safeguarding of authors’ rights.
The petition was organised ahead of a meeting of the European Commission’s (EC) 27-member College of Commissioners on Wednesday (Dec 5), which is being convened on the instigation of EC President José Manuel Barroso to examine initiatives that the Commission might adopt in the field of copyright.
According to James Taylor of the Brussels-based Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA), the question being posed at the Brussels gathering is whether the Commissioners will “support Commissioner Barnier’s approach of trying to resolve circulation issues surrounding creative works without touching the legislative based behind copyright, or will they support Commissioner Kroes’ calls for wholesale copyright reform and the re-opening of the 2001 Copyright Directive?“
The petition, which was also signed by the Dardenne brothers, Mike Leigh, Rebecca O’Brien and Volker Schlöndorff, declares that “the fight against copyright, and against the right of authors to live from their art and receive fair compensation, forms the focus of an entire coalition: namely, lobbyists from the leading companies on the Net who seek to exempt themselves both from their tax commitmentsto Member States and their obligations towards cultural diversity and creation; certain consumer lobbies who consider the total and immediate satisfaction of their constituency a necessity, regardless of the negative, harmful impact for cultural industries, jobs in culture and for the funding of future creativity; European administrative departments and even commissioners who confine authors’ rights and cultural diversity to old boundaries, thus irremediably excluding them from the digital world.“
“It is hard to imagine an author wanting to prevent his work, film, book, music from being seen, recommended or discussed by the public,“ the petition argues.
“It is however easy to imagine that convenience of the digital solution might pose a threat to this particular human right: the author’s right to receive compensation whenever exploitation is made of his/her work.“
“There are basic principles that no tablet, smartphone, no new service should undermine. Respecting authors’ rights is one of them.“