Everyone loves and respects a creator! – Or do they?


From Alfons Karabuda president of European Composer and Songwriter Alliance!
Everyone loves and respects a creator!
Even our big corporate counterparts say they do.
They don’t.

After years of hard work, the EU finally decided on modernized copyright reform.
One that would safeguard the whole cultural and musical ecosystem, and bring transparency where no transparency was to be found.

The Directive is now in process to be implemented in all European member countries, and you would think it to be an excellent opportunity for all of us to collaborate and bring added value to ourselves and society as a whole.

It’s not.

In Sweden, where the Justice Departement is handling the implementation, you will find letters regularly addressed to them by our counterparts, trying to undermine authors’ and performers’ rights.

Let me give you an example of such a letter written by TV4, CMore Entertainment AB, Nordic Entertainment Group AB, Discovery Networks Sweden AB, Sveriges Television AB, Sveriges Radio AB.

First of all, an explanation for my international friends. You all know the global organizations such as Discovery (having recently tried to cut the revenues by up to 95% for the composers, also retroactively, but failed due to massive global protests) but might wonder who Sveriges Television and Sveriges Radio are? They are the Swedish public broadcasters, using our tax money to pay for the lawyers writing the letter trying to undermine our author’s right.

What were their concerns in this recent letter?

1. Unpredictable costs due to authors’ rights.

What they don’t say to the Justice Department is that any unpredictable copyright cost would come from unpredicted sales of their program/film and subsequently bring much more unpredicted income as our share is only a fraction of the total copyright “cake.”

2. Fair remuneration (according to the EU-Directive) to the creators might weaken the big TV-station’s competitive edge.

This shows the disrespect for professional creators thinking they will work for you regardless of if and what you pay. What they don’t understand is that they will lose composers to competitors if not withholding a decent standard to those working for them, resulting in lower-quality programs/films and less future unpredicted income revenues.

3. Coercive contracts

The group of media corporates is trying in the letter to disarm the issue of coercive contracts calling them normal and something they need in order to continue “business as usual.”

Nothing should be normal about them, as the terms of publishing agreements into which composers are coerced are far less fair than what could be secured in a truly free and open market. It affects all stakeholders and the quality of the film when money is drained from the system often into the pockets of third-party middlemen, not creating any content.

Actually, the reasons why the EU Commission, Parlament, and Council decided on several of the articles in the Copyright Directive was to counteract the negative effects coercive contracts provably have.

4. The BIG corporate media companies are in a weaker position

We, the composers, songwriters, and lyricists, are, according to the letter, supposed to be stronger than the TV and film companies because we can act collectively. ??

This said from TV4, CMore Entertainment AB, Nordic Entertainment Group AB, Discovery Networks Sweden AB, Sveriges Television AB, Sveriges Radio AB, who collectively joined forces to act against us individual creators.

The Swedish public broadcasters haven’t even bothered to answer the letters the community of Swedish writers has written to their board and CEO on two occasions.

They just don’t care, and they don’t have to, because they are in power.

This is also one of the reasons why we need a law fit for purpose.

Let us all intensify our efforts and transmit our views to the Swedish Justice Departement:

[email protected]

[email protected]

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