Two Turkish motions adopted at EuroFIA meeting in Edinburgh
The first EuroFIA meeting of 2013, kindly hosted by Equity, UK, took place in Edinburgh from April 13 to 15. Delegates from all around Europe gathered in the capital of Scotland to discuss about the evolutions of the situation of performers at national, European and international levels.
The meeting was divided into two parts. The first two days were dedicated to the European trade union members of the International Federation of Actors, allowing them to share their achievements and concerns and to strengthen their common position on European and international matters. Then, on Monday, unions and collecting societies met to find ways to stick together to defend the interests of performers.
Many topics have been addressed, including the ratification and implementation of the long awaited Beijing treaty, the currently debated – and still under construction – EU legislation on collective management of rights, the Vitorino mediation on private copying and reprography levies, a discussion about the particular case of opera singers etc.
Two EuroFIA resolutions were unanimously adopted, both related to Turkish developments. The first one supporting the action of AUT and ÇASOD in their fight for preserving the Emek Movie Theater in Istanbul – a historic theatre that is currently threatened to become a mall. The other one encouraging the Turkish state to provide social security protection for all actors in the country. You can download those two resolutions here under.
EuroFIA meeting in Istanbul on June 2-3
EuroFIA delegates recently met in Istanbul to hold their first 2012 group meeting. FIA member ÇASOD hosted the event, which gave delegates the opportunity to meet the new Actors’ Union of Turkey and to adopt a EuroFIA resolution supporting ÇASOD and AUT in their fight for the protection and improvement of public funding for theatres in Turkey.
EuroFIA delegates held their first meeting of 2012 from June 2nd to June 3rd in Istanbul. The event, kindly hosted by Turkish member of FIA ÇASOD, gathered performers’ unions from all over Europe but also European collecting societies. Indeed, EuroFIA had invited those organisations for the fourth time in four years, in an effort to further develop a fruitful dialogue with them. It allowed delegates to address all kinds of relevant topics: private copying, the green paper on the online distribution of audiovisual works, legislative initiative on collective rights management, the WIPO audiovisual performances treaty, orphan works and the enforcement directive.
The EuroFIA meeting itself was also an occasion to engage in a rich discussion on matters affecting European performers and their work conditions: recent EU developments such as the Creative Europe programme and the Green Paper on the Online Distribution of Audiovisual Works, European social dialogue in the audiovisual and live performance sectors, the establishment of a collecting society in the interest of AV performers, training and life-long learning.
Another item on the agenda – Public funding on national theatres support for live performance – even generated the adoption by EuroFIA of a resolution on the dramatic situation currently affecting the Turkish artistic community. Indeed, after the Istanbul municipality’s decision to change the management system of city theatres and the consequent protests by the artistic community, Prime Minister Erdoðan announced a possible complete scrapping of all public funding for both state and city theatres. A resolution was adopted by EuroFIA to express its disapproval of such threats to artistic creation. You can download and read the whole resolution in English, French or Turkish below.
The meeting also gave the recently created Actors’ Union of Turkey the opportunity to officially apply for the FIA membership.
EuroFIA delegates met in Berlin on June 25th, 2011
EuroFIA’s first meeting of 2011 took place in Berlin on the 25th of June. Kindly hosted by our German affiliate Ver.di, the meeting brought EuroFIA members together to discuss and reflect on several issues of concern for performers and their unions.
Inspired by the vivid conversations that had marked the previous EuroFIA meeting, held in Amsterdam in October 2010, the discussion was partly structured around panel debates focusing on particular problems faced by European performers’ unions. The subjects were: “Freelances and Self-Employed Artists – the Role of Unions and the Advance of Emerging Intermediary Players” and “Piracy and Enforcement”.
Other topics of discussion were covered, notably the extension of the term of protection, tools to promote gender equality in artistic productions, WIPO, work carried out at national level, and recent EU developments – in the fields of artists’ mobility, intellectual property rights, European Social Dialogue, cultural diversity. Gathering in Berlin also gave EuroFIA members the opportunity to attend the final event of the groups’ latest project: a conference on Transition Schemes for Dancers.
An emergency motion was adopted in support of FNV-KIEM and the Dutch cultural sector, facing irreversibly damaging cuts. To find out more about this dramatic situation and how to support our Dutch colleagues, click here.
EuroFIA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 16-17 October 2010
EuroFIA’s Dutch member FNV-KIEM kindly hosted the meeting in Amsterdam. FNV-KIEM opened the meeting by noting that at a time when the cultural sector in the Netherlands, and indeed in most countries in Europe, is facing severe budgetary cuts; international meetings of performers’ unions to exchange ideas and strategies on how to work in such a challenging climate are more important than ever.
Following a strong request from the member unions of EuroFIA at our previous meeting in Brussels, the first half a day of the meeting focused indepth on the main day-to-day needs of EuroFIA unions and how best to approach them; how FIA can be supportive; and how members can best support each other. It was structured in a series of panels, with speakers on each theme and time for general discussion. The themes were: Cuts to Arts/Culture Funding: the challenge of campaigning successfully against them; Recruiting and retaining members: the challenge of growing as a union; Establishing a Social Dialogue; Diversifying services and employment opportunities for members; Staying abreast of new media developments and making the most of them in collective bargaining.
The rest of the meeting dealt with recent EU developments; WIPO; and issues including piracy; competition rules and their impact on self-employed performers; and work in other FIA regional groups. Two motions were also adopted at the behest of members from Portugal and from Ireland. You can view them below.
EuroFIA Meeting, London 14th-15th of November 2009
The second 2009 EuroFIA meeting was held on the 14th and 15th of November in London, where Equity UK kindly hosted the group’s members. The group had to go through a big number of issues and to make important decisions in only two days. Indeed, the meeting’s agenda was pretty heavy. First, an update was brought on EU developments concerning matters of concern for FIA and its European members: extension of the term of protection; progresses made in the European Social Dialogue Committees on Audiovisual and Live Performance; joint working with Creators’ organizations on the self-employed status; new project on gender equality and the representation of women in theatre, films and television; etc.
Other important matters were also discussed at the meeting. Developments and progress made at the WIPO and a possible position of FIA on the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements were brought on the table. So was the issue of piracy and of its dramatic consequences on our industry. Several national solutions to this problem were highlighted, notably the examples of the UK and France, both about to use the ‘graduated response’ method. EuroFIA members also talked about the Remuneration Right for Making Available on Demand, the mobility of performers beyond their national boarders and the Cultural Diversity Coalitions. Finally, the developments of the Dancers’ Working Group and the decision to widen its scope and optimize its efficiency reminded us once more the usefulness of regional meetings and work under the FIA umbrella.
Indeed, as each EuroFIA meeting shows us, it was the opportunity for our EuroFIA members to meet, discuss and share their experience regarding common concerns – drastic budget cuts in culture observable in most European governments due to the economic crisis; the trade unions’ need to renew themselves and to manage to involve the young generations of performers; etc. – and thus to strengthen the work carried out by FIA and its members.
Several motions were passed by the end of the meeting and are available for you to download here below. One of these concerns the defense of the Slovenian minority in the city of Trieste in Italy and of its theatre, which is not receiving the subsidies the government is supposed to pay. Another motion stresses FIA’s members’ commitment to fight against the Finnish law on ‘Work-for-hire’ and support our Finnish affiliates on this matter. Finally, a third motion was passed, concerning our support to our Serbian affiliate regarding the new law on copyright in Serbia.
Meeting of EuroFIA and Collecting Societies - EuroFIA, Warsaw, 8-10 May 2009
EuroFIA and Collecting Societies Seminar on Issues of Common Concern (8th May):
Pictured: The Discussion Panel on "The Exclusive Right of Making Available: How can it benefit Performers? Is there a "One-size fits all" solution?
This seminar took place immediately preceding the EuroFIA meeting (see report below). It was a very valuable opportunity to exchange ideas on shared challenges and on improving cooperation. The discussion took in such issues as: a possible future extension of the term of protection in the Audiovisual Sector; getting benefit for performers from the exclusive right of making available; WIPO; exploitation of archive material; and private copying. And of course there was an indepth dicussion on maximising the relationship between collecting societies and unions. The programme of the one-day seminar is available for download below, as are a number of the contributions that were made on the day. We hope that other speakers will also send us their contributions so that they can be made available here and we will add them as we receive them.
Agenda of the EuroFIA-Collecting Societies Meeting Presentation from AISGE on the Extension of the Term of Protection Presentation from DSF on Exploitation of Archive Material Presentation by NORMA on Maximising the relationship between unions and collecting societies Presentation by ACOD-Cultuur on Maximising the relationship between unions and collecting societies
Speeches made at the EuroFIA - Collecting Societies Meeting, 8th May
EuroFIA Meeting, Warsaw 9-10 May 2009
The EuroFIA meeting continued on the 9th and the morning of the 10th of May. The meeting was hosted by our Polish affiliate ZASP, which recently celebrated the 90th anniversary of its founding. Naturally, the activities of FIA at European level were the key focus of the meeting. A number of copyright-related issues were discussed, including the state of play regarding a possible future extension of the protection and the recent European Commission consultation on copyright in the knowledge economy. There was also a detailed update regarding the activities in the two European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committees of which FIA is a member – in the Live Performance and Audiovisual Sectors. The regular FIA participants shared their views on the work of the committees. The recent developments in the area of health and safety in the Live Performance committee and the decision to set up a working group on the issue of risk assessment were highlighted, as well as the slow progress being made in the joint working on gender equality and equality of access in the Audiovisual committee. An overview was also provided of the two project applications recently submitted by these committees to the Commission, which are currently awaiting evaluation. If successful, they would allow the continuation of the work of development and strengthening of social dialogue structures in these sectors in the new member states , begun in previous projects.
There was an indepth discussion at the meeting on the latest developments regarding the application of competition rule to independent workers in the media/cultural sector, preventing them from benefiting from collective agreements. There were updates from Danish and Dutch colleagues about important legal initiatives in these areas arising from efforts by the unions and it is clear that this will remain an important area of work in the coming months. Other areas of discussion included recent European work in the framework of the Open Method of Coordination on Culture; recent developments on mobility of artists and cultural workers; recent relevant EP reports and the project application submitted by FIA for a second project on gender portrayal and equal opportunities for performers.
In light of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation, there was also a very rich debate on cultural and creative industries thinking in the Arts sector and the challenges and possible opportunities that it can offer. This discussion will give rise to a FIA position paper, prepared in view of the year, but there was also a strong request from members to continue to explore this area and the proposal of having a half day seminar at the EuroFIA meeting in London was raised.
Detailed minutes of the meeting will shortly be available on request from the secretariat.
The next meeting of the EuroFIA group will be on the 14-15 November in London.
EuroFIA Meeting Marrakesh October 2008
The EuroFIA group had a meeting in Marrakesh just prior to the FIA Congress. It offered a good opportunity for the group to come together to discuss recent relevant European developments, such as the proposed extnsion of the term of copyright protection and the Green paper on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy. It was also a chance to discuss the EuroFIA project on Gender Portrayal, now in its final phase. The meetings was chaired by delegates from the EuroFIA group coordinator Irish Equity. They also prepared a short report on some of the group's main activities over the past four years in order to feed back to the Congress. That report is available below. Minutes of the meeting are also being prepared and will shortly be available on request from the Secretariat.
EuroFIA Report to Congress, presented by Irish Equity Representatives Padraig Murray, Rynagh O'Grady and Des Courtney:
1-2 June 2007 - Bucharest, Romania
The last EuroFIA meeting was held in Bucharest, Romania, on 1-2 June 2007. The group focused on the follow up to the EU green paper on "Modernising Labour Law", as well as on the latest draft of the Audiovisual Media Services directive, the issue of state aid in the film industry and on the private copying remuneration schemes. EuroFIA members welcomed the EU Commission communication extending the state aid regime for the film industry in Europe until 2009, but stressed the need to watch out for any possible ban of “territoriality” clauses after this date – which make national funding available on condition that a minimum percentage of the production budget is spent where the aid is given.
Emphasis was put on the need to clarify the status of the artist and to build on existing sources - including the European Parliament Resolution and the UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of the Artist – to give the EU member States a better understanding of how much the spread of atypical work in the industry is affecting the livelihood of performers. The group equally discussed a project submitted to the European Commission in the context of the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, which focuses on the portrayal of 40 plus women in theatre and television. This project involves a qualitative and quantitative research on gender portrayal, as well as two awareness-raising conferences that will take place in Latvia and the UK in 2008.
Finally, EuroFIA decided to work on a model EU contract for dancers, harmonising their minimum terms and conditions. The next EuroFIA meeting will take place in November 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal.
24-25 November 2006 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
The last meeting of the European group of FIA (EuroFIA) was hosted by GLOSA/ZDUS and took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on November 24-25, 2006. The agenda of the meeting reflected the EU legislative programme with a focus on three main pieces of legislation – the Green Paper on Labour Law, the “Audiovisual Media Services” Directive and the announced Recommendation on private copying remuneration systems.
On labour law, the group decided to concentrate on the definition of worker and operate for an extension of the “employment status” of performers also to include "atypical" work in the sector - usually performers working under short time or part-time contracts with multiple employers, generally referred to as "freelance" in many of the member States.
EuroFIA pledged to work for the establishment of a minimum social protection for genuine self-employed performers and to cooperate with the European institutions for a more coherent definition of this contractual category.
On the draft “Audiovisual Media Services” directive - recently handed back by the European Parliament (first reading) to the Commission – the group criticised the weak extension to non-linear on-demand services of clear obligations fostering the production and distribution of European and independent works. However, EuroFIA deemed the amendments voted by the Parliament an encouraging step forward, e.g. the endorsement (unfortunately only in the recitals of the directive) of voluntary measures for the promotion of European works by the non-linear audiovisual media services, the strict characterization and regulation of product placement, the improved regulation of advertising breaks and the more focused definition of "independent producer".
Future lobbying on this issue will continue to be based on: the rejection of more flexible rules for advertising; the rejection of product integration and the call for a strict regulation of product placement; the full extension of the scope of the Directive to the online audiovisual services, including rules for the promotion of European content and independent productions in the online environment – beyond simple declarations of principles in the recitals.
EuroFIA also discussed the EU Commission’s intention to phase out private copying levies in Europe. The group continues to uphold the importance of the private copying remuneration for performers and disagrees with any alternative that may jeopardize this legitimate source of income in the digital world.
EuroFIA joined forces with other European organizations in the creative industry, under the banner ‘Culture First’, to counter the efforts of equipment and blank media manufacturers and safeguard these levies. The Coalition successfully stalled the process and prevented DG Internal market from releasing a Recommendation to the EU member States that might have wiped out private copying remuneration schemes, to the sole benefit of these corporations.
The group also discussed gender equality, the mobility of dancers and the EuroFIA Dance Passport scheme. EuroFIA is envisaging a project with EU financial support, which would focus on the qualitative dimension of gender discrimination, aiming at promoting a different and positive image of women in theatre, television and cinema, with a specific focus on mature actresses. The Dance passport was extended to FIA affiliates in the new EU member States and work started on a collection of information on performers’ pension and career-transition schemes.
The next EuroFIA meeting will take place in Bucharest, Romania, on 1-2 June 2007.
26-27 May 2006 - Zurich, Switzerland
The European group of FIA (EuroFIA) met in Zurich, Switzerland, on 26-27th of May 2006 to discuss EU policies and to review its activities – and those of its members – since the last meeting.
Focusing on the draft directive on “Services in the Internal Market”, the group studied the revised Commission proposal and concluded that – despite the exemption of the audiovisual sector – it still is a threat for live performance, which continues to fall within the scope of the directive. The group feared that the directive would encourage the spread of “self-employed” status in the sector, without offering enough guarantees to fight fraud – namely disguised employment – and to prevent performers from falling under the scope of competition law, once they are likened by the directive to “service providers”. EuroFIA is strongly opposed to the identification of performers with “service providers” and believes that live entertainment should also be excluded from the scope of the new directive.
The group equally discussed the revised “Television without Frontiers” directive, now called the “Audiovisual Media Services” directive. The draft directive fails to extend to non-linear, on-demand operators clear obligations fostering the production and distribution of European and independent works. It also waters down regulation on advertisement and legalises product placement. EuroFIA supports the commitment of the European Commission to fight fraudulent relocation of on-demand audiovisual service providers, but is concerned about the relaxation of advertising rules and by the many questions that still remain unanswered about “product placement”. Most of all, however, the group criticised the weariness with which the directive is addressing the issue of EU content in the non-linear world. As an increasing amount of creative works is now channelled on-demand to the viewers, the lack of positive regulations to make new content providers in the EU support the cultural diversity of the 25 member States is not satisfactory.
EuroFIA also discussed the future phasing out of private copying levies in Europe. The group considers that such step will deprive performers of a significant source of income, particularly unacceptable as most of them must transfer all their rights to the producers and have therefore little more than the original fee to live on, including between one engagement and the other, when they are effectively unemployed. The European group of FIA believes that technological protection measures and digital rights management systems cannot and should not replace a remuneration right enshrined in the copyright laws of a majority of EU Member states.
The group has further reported on its sustained work on the status of the artist, with special emphasis on “self-employment” and on the criteria to make out disguised employment. This work is all the more necessary nowadays, in the context of the forthcoming Green Paper on EU Labour Law, an initiative of the European Commission, an open consultation on new forms of employment, atypical work and the relationship between flexibility and security.
The group also discussed gender equality and the mobility of performers, two issues on which additional work will be undertaken in the near future, building on the EU agendas - the 2006 “European year of workers’ mobility” and the 2007 “ European Year of Equal opportunities for all”. The next EuroFIA meeting will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 24-25 November 2006.
23-25 septembre 2005 - Prague, Czech republic
The last EuroFIA meeting took place in Prague, Czech Republic, on 23-25 September 2005. The meeting was attended by FIA affiliates’ representatives from all EU countries, as well as candidate countries. The debate focused on EU developments and on a few specific activities of the group.
The outcome of the latest consultation launched by DG Information Society on the revision of the Television Without Frontiers Directive was largely debated, with a special focus on the “Liverpool conference on the audiovisual industry”. The group expressed its concern for the future of cultural diversity in Europe and for a likely attempt to weaken the promotion of European works and independent production. EuroFIA recommended the extension of clear ad hoc obligations to all new audiovisual non-linear services. It also called for a status quo of existing advertising rules.
EuroFIA welcomed the adoption of the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee’s report on the directive on “Services in the Internal Market” and called for a clear exemption of the entire cultural sector from the scope of the directive. The group also called for this report to be approved by the Internal Market Committee, which is the main EP body in charge with this matter.
The group discussed recent developments related to intellectual property: from the spread of Peer-to-Peer file-exchange systems and performers’ IP rights to the European Commission’s initiative on the cross-border collective management of copyright; from the ongoing WIPO negotiation on a possible future treaty for broadcasting organisations to the future of the WIPO audiovisual treaty.
EuroFIA also reviewed the work undertaken by the group on the status of the artists and gender equality – i.e. the promotion of women’s image in the media. A working group was defining the key components of the social status, permeating the different models currently existing in the EU member States, with a view to promoting its implementation at European level. The group was also keen on safeguarding the trade unions’ capacity to organise and represent all their members regardless of their status, including self-employed performers.
Encouraged by the EU gender equality policy and the Lisbon agenda, EuroFIA is establishing priorities to increase not only the quantity but also the quality of European works – namely by changing stereotypes, fighting the shortage of employment for ageing actresses, encouraging training and career transition opportunities for female performers.
Finally, EuroFIA welcomed the adoption of the Convention on cultural diversity by UNESCO, despite the strong opposition from some countries. This Convention is the result of five years of sustained negotiations and vigorous efforts from several Coalitions for Cultural Diversity around the world, in which a number of EuroFIA members have been actively involved. The next EuroFIA meeting shall take place on May 26 and 27, 2006, in Zurich, Switzerland.