With start of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, AEPO-ARTIS has addressed an open letter to the Spanish President Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón with the goal to highlight the significance of culture and advocate for the enhancement of performer’s rights, aligning with the priority placed on social and economic justice during this presidency.
Dear President of Spain,
Dear Mr. Sánchez Pérez-Castejón,
This week Spain officially took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. For the next six months Spain will be leading the rest of the European Union in taking the most important decisions that need to be taken.
AEPO-ARTIS is a non-profit making organisation that represents 38 European performers ’ collective management organisations from 28 different countries, including the Spanish organisations AISGE and AIE. The number of performers, from the audio and audiovisual sector, represented by our members can be estimated at 650.000.
Looking at the ambitious program Spain has presented, we are grateful for the focus that is put on promoting greater social and economic justice and in particular the proposal to continue the debate at EU level on the need to improve the working, social security and tax conditions of artists through the promotion of a European Status of the Artist.
For AEPO-ARTIS, a strong protection of actors’ and musicians’ neighbouring rights is a vital element in such a Status of the Artist. This has already been recognised by the European Parliament. In its 2021 Resolution on the situation of artists and the cultural recovery in the EU the Parliament called copyright and neighbouring rights “the core of the fair remuneration of artists and creators” and insisted on the effective implementation of the 2019 Copyright directive with a strong focus on guaranteeing fair, appropriate and proportionate remuneration for performers.
So far only a few member states have effectively implemented this directive in a way that guarantees the principle of fair remuneration and three have not yet transposed it at all. We are therefore particularly pleased that it is Spain that has to guide these Member States in achieving an effective implementation.
Spain has a long tradition of copyright legislation that is based on respect for artists. With a non-transferable right to remuneration for authors and performers for all forms of digital exploitation, Spain is the EU Member State that offers our actors and musicians the best protection in all of Europe.
And the numbers show that this has benefited the Spanish music industry and audiovisual sector as a whole. AIE and AISGE have been able to collect and distribute remuneration for online exploitations for our performers without affecting other players. Promusicae’s most recent yearly report points out that the Spanish music industry saw its turnover increase by 12.43% in one year, for the third time in a row. And a recently published report by the European Audiovisual Observatory shows that Spain has climbed up to become the third most fiction film producing country in the EU. The climate in Spain is good. This is also confirmed by Netflix, which recently doubled its production capacity in Madrid.
We call upon the Spanish Presidency to continue to promote a strong protection of neighbouring rights and an effective right to remuneration for online exploitations during its Presidency. We trust that you will direct the Commission to closely monitor the effective implementation of the Copyright directive in all Member States with a focus on the effective improvement it has on the socio-economic position of our artists.
With the same objective, we call upon the Spanish Presidency to ensure that the ratification of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances by the EU will effectively empower our actors and contribute to their overall Status.
Finally, we invite the Spanish Presidency to intensively collaborate with Belgium to continue this work when handing over the Presidency at the end of the year. Belgium recently took the brave political decision to bring its legislation up to the level of Spain and an intensified collaboration will help in achieving the common goal of effectively protecting performers throughout the whole EU.
We remain at your disposal to discuss any of the above further.
On behalf of every performer whose work you have ever appreciated.