D-UK CEO Andrew Chowns speaks at SAA conference

The Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA) hosted a conference in Brussels on 29th November, at which Directors UK Chief Executive Andrew Chowns participated in a panel session. Piers Haggard, Directors UK Board Member and Chair of European directors’ group FERA, was also in attendance.

The conference, entitled Audiovisual Authors Online – Seizing the Digital Revolution, brought together multiple stakeholders to look at the evolution of the online sector and how audiovisual authors fit into it. MEPs, authors, European Commission members and civil servants and representatives from collective management societies were all in attendance to listen and contribute to discussions.

Andrew sat on the panel for a session entitled Authors in the European Audiovisual Value Chain, at which he condemned the situation where directors are required to surrender their copyright for little or no compensation or reward, and asserted the importance of incentivising authors by ensuring that they can participate in the rewards of the success of their work. This was greeted by a round of applause from the audience!

In a later session looking at solutions, Piers asked a panel member from Holland how a joint licensing scheme was working there, and put him on the spot as to how the revenues were divided up among the authors and other rights holders. This is a crucial area that we will need to keep a close eye on when the EC responds to the consultation.

SAA now turns its attention to the results of the Green Paper consultation and the European Commission’s plans for action on the remuneration of audiovisual authors. It will contribute to the European Parliament report on the “Distribution of Audiovisual Content Online”, and continue to work to increase opportunities and rewards for screenwriters and directors in the online market.