Authors societies defend rights in brussels and announce historical general assembly in Lisbon

“The European Commission wants to ensure cultural diversity, the widest circulation of cultural and artistic works by all the countries of the European Union, and to increase the number of professional opportunities for all the creators of our countries” – it was with these words that Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission with the responsibility of the Digital Market and former Prime Minister of Estonia, addressed the hundreds of people present in the 2017 edition of the Meet the Authors event promoted by the European Group of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC) , whose Board SPAutores integrates, on the 29th of May in a hotel in the Belgian capital, attended by a significant number of MEPs, directors of dozens of societies of authors and also diplomats, authors and journalists.

Some 50 MEPs from several Member States, four permanent diplomatic representatives of the European Union and approximately 80 authors of various nationalities took part in this event.

“Dear EU, please fix the ToV” was the “slogan” of this initiative organized by GESAC and attended by its most prominent leaders and also Juan Aristegui, Spain’s permanent ambassador to the European Commission, which was one of the Speakers at the opening session, in addition to the EC Vice-President. Among the several MEPs present was the Portuguese Carlos Zorrinho (pictured with José Jorge Letria, president of the SPA), PS member, invited by SPA, distinguished MEP for the quality of his work in Brussels and that also supported and reinforced the Portuguese representation.

It is recalled that Carlos Zorrinho was one of the Portuguese MEPs who a few months ago received in Brussels a delegation of SPA, who wanted to present to Portuguese MEPs the position of SPA and the Portuguese author community on the urgency of ensuring the regular and fair payment corresponding to the use of works protected from numerous countries on the various digital platforms.

In the course of the works, which lasted throughout the afternoon of the 30th and which included artistic performances, there were widely participated debates and a statement was distributed in which it is affirmed “We, creators from all artistic fields and from all over Europe, call on you, EU decision makers, to put a stop to the funnelling of value away from the creators to a number of online platforms. You have rightly acknowledged that user uploaded content (UUC) platforms are now the main point of access to our works online, but unacceptably do not, or only barely remunerate us for their exploitation. ” And the statement added: “The viability of cultural and creative industries, which create significant growth and jobs for the EU economy, is threatened by this transfer of value. We want an environment that fosters growth for new and legitimate businesses, including UUC platforms, while providing legal certainty for consumers, and ensuring that this is paired with appropriate remuneration for creators. UUC platforms have built their businesses on people’s desire to access and share our works, and should not put the burden of liability on consumers or creators. The current situation is a race to the bottom that drives down the respect for and value of creative works. We depend on copyright/authors’ right as this is our pay and the only leverage we have to negotiate fair remuneration for our works.The forthcoming legislation on copyright is your opportunity to stop these freeriding platforms. We therefore call on you to: clarify that UUC platforms like YouTube are involved in reproducing and making our works available under copyright laws and ensure that the safe-harbour non-liability regime does not apply to them as it is meant for technical intermediaries only. The European Commission’s fair and balanced approach on this issue was a step in the right direction. We count on the European Parliament and the European Council to build on and further develop the solution proposed by the Commission to ensure a sustainable environment for all.”

As several speakers recalled and stressed, more than 7 million people are currently working in Europe’s cultural sectors and creative industries, which gives a fair measure of the relevance of cultural and artistic life for the continent’s economic development and for its desirable sustainability in the context of crisis. All the participants in this edition of Meet the Authors have strongly and creatively underlined the correctness of this fight, which had and continues to have the support of a large number of MEPs present.

BRUSSELS ANNOUNCES AND PROMOTES CISAC ASSEMBLY IN LISBON

On May 29th, the Belgian society SABAM held a meeting of the Board of GESAC, with the presence of the SPA, which includes the Board in a renewed mandate, followed by a General Meeting attended by the most important of the authors’ societies and with the presence of Gadi Oron, CISAC’s Director General.

Amongst other interventions, the most noteworthy was that of Anders Lassen, CEO of Koda, Denmark, who explained in detail the operation and strategic objectives of the organization he runs. During the general assembly, the SPA delegation, President José Jorge Letria and the Board member Paula Cunha, announced in detail the entire schedule of the week in which it will take place in Lisbon, with SPA as host, the CISAC general assembly and important meetings of all the other structures of leadership of the world confederation of authors’ societies, which chose Lisbon to carry out its most important act with the participation of leaders from all over the world. On June 8, the date of the general assembly, SPA will grant its Medal of Honor to the composer Jean-Michel Jarre, president of CISAC. A great show of celebration of lusophony is also scheduled at the Teatro da Trindade on the evening of the 6th and a dinner with the performance of great fado performers on the night of the 7th. On the afternoon of this day the CISAC board of directors will be received in the Chamber of Lisbon by Mayor Fernando Medina.

Numerous bilateral and multilateral meetings will be held in Lisbon this week in the two SPA buildings which, with leadership responsibilities in the most important world copyright structures, notably the chairmanship of the European Committee of Authors’ Societies, receives, stimulates and disseminates such initiatives. At the meeting of the CISAC leadership structure, José Jorge Letria will produce an analysis of the European situation, especially after the meeting of the European Committee held a few weeks ago in Moscow.

This set of events will be the most important annual event of CISAC ever held in Portugal, coinciding with the reinforcement of the support to the African Portuguese societies that have already integrated or are to integrate CISAC, at the initiative and with the support of SPA, for instance the case of Cape Verdean Music Society that, from June 8, will be part of CISAC.

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