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Venice: European Auteurs Launch Plea For EU to Pass New Digital Copyright Law

A large group of prominent European filmmakers is using the Venice Film Festival as a platform to launch an impassioned appeal to the European Parliament concerning an upcoming vote on key legislation that would give them a bigger piece of the pie in the digital age.

Mike Leigh, Paolo Sorrentino, Jacques Audiard, Laszlo Nemes are among the 165 signatories of a Venice Declaration calling on the EU parliament members to pass the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market in the vote on September 12.

Speaking to Variety at the Venice Film Festival Roberto Viola, head of the European Commission department that regulates communications networks, content and technology, said the directive would give film and TV directors and writers the possibility of renegotiating contracts signed before the digital age, noting that “in many cases are 20 years old,” just as many movies are getting a new life online. “Their authors [directors, writers] have a right to sit at the table and say: ‘let’s talk about this,’” Viola noted.

In their Venice Declaration the European fillmmakers point out that the September 12 vote is crucial because it will be “the last chance for a final adoption of this much-needed Directive” before European elections scheduled in May 2019.

“We, audiovisual authors, absolutely need this Directive to be adopted on time: to ensure freedom of expression and independence of creators as well as authors’ rights,” the filmmakers said.

“The principle of fair and proportionate remuneration, improved measures on the transparency of the exploitation and contract adjustment mechanism, will make a big difference. With these provisions, the Directive will improve our position in the industry,” they added.

Besides forcing streamers such as Netflix and Amazon to pay out greater copyright fees to film and TV directors and writers the directive also concerns user-generated platforms like YouTube.

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