Mr. President, copyright must definitely be the priority of Creative Europe 2020.
By making harmonization of the digital single market the second priority of your mandate, you brought a wave of concern on creators. It is time to give them a reason to hope by reaffirming that they will be part of the Europe we are building together. Creators inspire innovation in the whole economy, provide millions of citizens with employment and imagine the Europe of tomorrow.
Copyright guarantees both creation value and funding. For two centuries, the authors’ protection implement has proven flexibility and adaptability to what new media, technology and then digital technologies required and to the consumption behaviors, always respecting diversity and work dissemination; as witnessed by numerous negotiated exceptions: from private copying to the recent adaptations to disabilities, and agreements in the music sector with the subscription platforms such as Deezer, or under negotiation in the publishing sector between the authors, publishers and libraries for the Digital Loan in Libraries. All examples that show that authors side with modernity, with all due respect to those who confuse access with “open bar”, work integrity with “open source”.
Copyright, as a fundamental value of freedom of expression, reinforces the supply diversity for the consumers, even if the Forum d’Avignon prefers to speak of them as readers, spectators, music lovers, art amateurs or video-gamers. Those who accuse copyright of not favoring the single market confuse protection with negotiation: the trade agreements of territorial licenses often correspond to cultural areas, made up of languages and history. These contractual agreements are also the basis for providing funding for the works of the entire creative chain by facilitating adaptation, translation and contextualization of their dissemination.
Watch out for a second frontier. Your will to unlock cultural and linguistic boundaries in the name of consumers curiously stops at the technical barriers imposed by digital players. These closed technologies that prevent the amateur from changing of distributor without giving its previous purchases up indisputably are an obstacle to the transmission of books (such as Kindle by Amazon) or music (such as Itunes), without mentioning the social networks that capture the value of the exchanges, without compensation or possible way out (Facebook…). Which side freedom is on? You must admit that the stakes regarding territoriality, interoperability and mobility are more related to trade, competition and technique than copyright.
Copyright is not outdated. On the contrary, it must carry on evolving. We believe that all “modernization” of the 2001 EU Directive on copyright could only be envisaged with the 2000 directive on e-commerce: the technological environment and consumer behaviors change arguments apply at least as much for digital platforms as for authors! Or even more: the former delocalize added value and employment, the latter relocate at the heart of territories. The economic development and employment of the whole chain, which is essential for Europe – between 4 and 6% of GDP –, are depending on it.
Mr. President, please lend a helping hand to creators. Their resources and the vitality of their innovation must be at the very heart of your policy. It is time to design the Europe you wish for the future of digital generations. Together, we believe in this Europe, which enhances the value of its cultures and heritages’ diversity, ensures the freedom of expression of its creators the guarantee of which depends on the protection of their rights.
The Forum d’AvignonBlogactiv Team