Euro helmers call on EC to keep levies

Loach, Almodovar, Von Trier sign protest letter

LONDON — A group of prominent European helmers appealed to the European Commission Monday to continue supporting copyright levies on the private copying of audio and audiovisual works.

The EC’s Internal Market Commission is currently reviewing European copyright law and is reported to be considering modifying copyright laws related to the private copying and downloading of music and film.

The directors — comprising Pedro Almodovar, Ken Loach, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Lars von Trier, Costa Gavras, Nanni Moretti and Mike Leigh — said the revenue from these levies was essential for European film financing.

“Our craft is to write and direct movies. It is becoming harder to finance European stories. Therefore, even if the compensation that we receive in relation to the private copying is limited it still represents an important source of remuneration,” they said in an open letter.

The group accused consumer electronics companies, which have lobbied the EC to overhaul the levies on private users, of misrepresenting the situation.

“Our only assets as creators are the rights granted to us as authors of intellectual property works. Therefore, questioning this right to compensation for private reproduction is a frontal attack on our ‘droit d’auteur’ or copyright,” the directors continued.

“We fail to see how Digital Rights Management will be a substitution for this right whose implementation is worth Euros 560 million ($712 million) a year to the creative industries in Europe,” they added.

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