Authors demand their fair share of profits generated by cultural content on the Internet 16/Nov/2016
This is the main conclusion of today's debate, attended by authors, representatives of the cultural industry, lawyers and politicians

During the event "The value of digital content," organized by the Instituto Autor, creative professionals demanded the protection of their work and their rights in the online market

The first debate held in Spain in response to the European Commission’s recent proposal to update the outmoded normatives regarding intellectual property on the internet took place this morning.
Authors, officials from the Commission and the European Parliament, and a variety of representatives from the cultural sector, met in the headquarters of the SGAE, in an event organized by the Institute of Authors' Rights (Instituto de Derecho de Autor), to discuss the value of cultural work in an online context.

Participants aim to highlight this issue which particularly affects writers, and are campaigning for fair recognition from the use of their work online.

José Miguel Fernández Sastrón, president of the SGAE underlined “the tremendous importance of the culture industry in Europe which currently occupies third place in terms of economic clout, after food and construction.”  Nevertheless, he says, “this sector cannot survive on the basis of the voluntary sacrifice of those who make it possible".

And María Martín Prat, head of the European Commission's Copyright Unit DG Connect, explained the main features of the "Copyright Package" passed last September by the European Commission which aims to modernize copyright, identified in the Commission as a priority in the Single Digital Market strategy.

Adriana Moscoso del Prado, Secretary General of the Instituto de Autor, introduced speeches by two academic experts in legislative matters, Fernando Carbajo and Ignacio Garrote.  Although Mr Carbajo complained that the European Commission hadn't taken advantage of an in-depth review of Intellectual Property rights, the two men expressed confidence that the proposals made in the Copyright Package will be put into action.

Lastly, Mercedes del Palacio, Councillor for Culture on the Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Institutions, chaired a discussion between copyright owners and representatives of the European Parliament.

The authors' point of view was put forward by Simon Darlow, vice-president of the International Council of Music Authors (CIAM), who rated the European Commission proposal as "promising” and as "an opportunity to improve the transfer of value of work which at the moment sees virtually no income, when it is published online," and Inés Paris, director and screenwriter and member of the board of directors of the SGAE highlighted the professionalism of those who have decided to train and work in a sector which lacks any regulation to protect the only thing they have: their ideas.

Rosa Estarás MEP of the European People's Party quoted Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, stating that the creative profession is not a hobby and announced that her group in the European Parliament will seek a balance between all those who are part of the value chain.

José Blanco López of the European Socialist Group spoke of the need for solutions to ensure a fair remuneration for authors. He also expressed his conviction that, if material published online is not of high quality then ease of access is of little importance, therefore what is most relevant is that authors can continue to work in fair conditions.  Finally, Maite Pagazaurtundúa of the European Liberal Group said that the value chain of the creative industry has always been imbalanced, leaving authors vulnerable. In that sense, she called for Juncker to provide a kind of "Common Agricultural Policy for culture" as a priority.

Carlos López, President of the Instituto Autor and Carlos Guervós, Assistant Director-General for Intellectual Property of the Ministry of Education Culture and Sport, spoke in the closing session. Mr Guervós defined the position of the ministry as "its commitment to guarantee a fair remuneration for the authors" and added that the measures proposed by the Commission are in line with his expectations.

Today's meeting on 'The value of digital content' held at the headquarters of the SGAE is the follow-up to the first meetings organized by the Instituto Autor held in September 2015.​

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