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Film directors and screenwriters have urged the European Parliament to pass the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which is due to be discussed next week.
A group of 165 film makers signed the Venice Declaration at the Venice Film Festival on Monday, September 3.
In May, the European Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives finalised its position on the draft copyright directive.
The directive encourages collaboration between online content-sharing service providers and rights owners and allows European copyright law to meet the requirements of the digital age, the committee said.
Article 11 of the directive addressed the so-called value gap, which is the remuneration received by authors and performers compared to the profits made by the internet platforms making rights owners’ works available.
The committee said the new rules should target online providers whose main purpose is to provide access to copyright-protected content for the purposes of making profits from it, but this should not include online marketplaces whose main activity is e-commerce or not-for-profit platforms.
Another suggestion made by the committee is that service providers are considered liable for copyright infringement when they fail to take “urgent steps” to prevent the availability of copyright-protected works on their platform.
In July, the European Parliament rejected the draft directive by a vote of 318 to 278. It is now up for debate, amendment, and a vote during the next plenary session, which is on September 12.
Articles 11 and 13 of the proposed legislation appeared to be the sticking points. Article 13 would require internet platforms to filter content so as to detect infringements.
According to the film makers, the draft legislation “puts authors at the heart of copyright” and the European Parliament should not delay the legislation’s implementation.
It would introduce “an unwaivable right to proportionate remuneration for authors”, the film makers said.
However, they have warned that the draft directive is “in danger of being wiped out” if the European Parliament does not finalise its position on the proposed copyright rules by September 12, as this is the last opportunity for the directive to be adopted before European elections.
The directive “absolutely” needs to be adopted on time, to guarantee freedom of expression and creator/author rights, the film makers said.
Signatories to the declaration include Mike Leigh, director of “Secrets & Lies”; Lone Scherfig, director of “An Education”; and Jacques Audiard, who wrote “The Prophet” and “Rust and Bone”.
The film makers who signed the Venice Declaration said they have also signed a similar petition organised by the Federation of European Film Directors, the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, and the Society of Audiovisual Authors. That petition is currently supported by nearly 19,000 people across more than 100 countries.
Venice Declaration, EU copyright law, Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, digital content, value gap, internet platforms, entertainment