News

Geo-blocking: IMCO committee disregards Europe’s cultural eco-system

April 25, 2017

25 April 2017

Today, the IMCO committee adopted MEP Roża Thun’s draft report on the European Commission proposal for a Regulation on Geo-blocking.

We are disappointed that the IMCO committee’s report has explicitly disregarded the concerns of Europe’s cultural and creative eco-system – which is 11 million strong – by including (i) non-audiovisual copyright-protected content, namely e-books, music and video-games in the scope of the Regulation and (ii) audiovisual services in its review clause.

In contrast and contradiction to the European Commission and the Council, the IMCO committee has voted against European consumers, instead favouring reductions in consumer choice, cultural diversity and increased prices.

CW! supports the European Commission and Council approach, and believes that the IMCO committee position will have the following adverse consequences for the future of these sectors:

1) Reduction in consumer choice: Estimates show that the audiovisual content available to European audiences today, which relies on territorial exclusivity for its funding, production and distribution, would be harmed and reduced by as much as 48%[1]. For music, this inclusion is detrimental to independent labels, the bulk of which are SMEs, and the artists they work with. The first to be negatively impacted by this change would be smaller labels which look after local markets and do not have the financial resources to work with artists on a pan-European level. Artists wanting to sign on an independent label to get their music outside their home market will lose out.

2) Increase of prices: Should the IMCO position gain traction, business operators will be less able to adapt terms and offerings to local market conditions, ultimately increasing prices. For example, today European video games or online music services retail at different prices due to varying economic circumstances between Member States (i.e. different tax policies, monthly minimum wage – less than €300 in some EU Member States[2]). As a result, consumers that once benefited from a favourable price adapted to their purchasing power will be forced to pay higher prices, which may drive them away from digital products altogether or drive them towards piracy, harming growth of the domestic market.

3) Threat to cultural diversity: The inclusion of both non-audiovisual copyright-protected content into the scope and audiovisual services into the review clause risks undermining the EU’s long history of measures to promote cultural diversity. A pertinent example are e-books, a field where territoriality is linked to linguistic areas[3]. Booksellers face several interrelated technical challenges: expensive technology upgrades, cyber-security issues and above all low consumer demand. Today, only 1% of Europeans want to purchase e-books across borders and this is even lower for e-books outside common linguistic areas. Moreover, current payment facilities are not truly pan-European, which means that SMEs are required to invest in expensive technologies to process cross-border payments, at a loss in trying to find a solution to a complex problem they cannot ultimately control. Fewer retailers mean fewer cultural offers as major Internet platforms on the e-book market are likely to focus on bestselling titles, rather than local authors that enrich our European culture.

Therefore, CW! urges the Maltese Council Presidency and the European Commission to defend Europe’s creative and cultural sectors during the upcoming informal negotiations. We call on you to:

         i. oppose the inclusion of non-audiovisual copyright into the material scope of the proposed regulation and;

       ii.  oppose the inclusion of audiovisual services into the review clause.

The following organisations are part of Creativity Works!

Find out more about the coalition at www.creativityworks.eu

You can follow us on twitter at @CreativityW

Note to the editor

Today, European audiences can access more creative works online than ever before: they can enjoy over 30 million licensed songs, over 3,000 Video-on-Demand Services (VOD), and over two million e-book titles, as well as countless images that help make the internet the vibrant and engaging place it is. Additionally, video games are played by approximately 340,000,000 Europeans[4].

At the end of last year, the European Parliament Resolution “A coherent EU policy for cultural and creative industries” recognised the key role the creative and cultural sectors play in Europe’s economy and society: more than 11 million people with a wide range of skills and talents work in the creative industries in Europe.

[1] “The impact of cross-border access to audiovisual content on EU consumers,” Oxera, May 2016.
[2] “National minimum wages in the EU – Monthly minimum wages below €500 in east and well above €1000 in northwest” Eurostat, 10 February 2017.
[3] In principle there are no legal restrictions to distribution, since publishers acquire rights to works for a specific language in all territories.
[4]“Global Games Market Report” Newzoo, 2016.

New EUIPO survey shows Europeans prefer legal offers to access digital content

March 23, 2017

Today, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) published a study examining the perception of Intellectual Property (IP) rights amongst European citizens.

In surveying the opinions of 26,555 people across the EU-28, the study found that 70% of Europeans strongly said nothing can justify the purchase of counterfeit goods, while 78% believe that buying counterfeit products ruins businesses and jobs.

There is also a clear preference amongst Europeans to use legal means to access online content, with 83% of those surveyed acknowledging that they use legal means of access to online content when there is an affordable option is available.

The EU-wide study reveals that during the economic crisis, when household budgets were under pressure, a staggering 97% firmly backed behind the rights of inventors, creators and performing artists to be fairly compensated.

In comparison to the 2013 study, there is a growing and favorable trend towards paying for access to digital content. Some 27% said they paid for accessing legal content, which is a 7 percentage point increase from 2013. Support amongst young people also grew; 41% of the interviewees stated they are buying online content via lawful channels, also a 7 percentage increase.

Interested in learning more?

Click here and access the full EUIPO study titled European citizens and Intellectual Propriety: perception, awareness and behavior.” 

Jobs, Growth and Europe’s Digital Future in the Creative and Cultural Sectors

March 15, 2017

See what the speakers at our High Level Conference had to say on the vast impact the creative and cultural industries have on the European economy.

Creativity Works Event Highlights from Ideas Matter on Vimeo.

Geo-blocking: CULT committee calls for policy makers to protect Europe’s cultural diversity

January 24, 2017

24 January 2017

Today the CULT committee adopted MEP Therese Cachia Comodini’s opinion report on the European Commission proposal for a Regulation on Geo-blocking.

We are encouraged by the fact that the CULT opinion report supports the exclusion of all copyright-protected content from the scope of the Regulation. Lawmarkers in particular highlighted “…the specific nature of cultural goods and services” and “…the necessity to protect cultural diversity and cultural industries economic model,” recognising the specificities of copyrighted content such as books, music, video-games  audiovisual works. At the same time, the adopted opinion ackwnowledges the negative impact on audiences’ choices and Europe’s cultural diversity that their inclusion into the scope of this regulation would have. MEPs also called upon EU policy makers to adopt a prudent approach to the revision of the Regulation’s scope, stressing that “…the principle of territoriality remains an essential element of the copyright system in the EU.” We welcome a prudent approach  as including audiovisual services into the review clause would directly jeopardise the future of financing, promotion and distribution of such content throughtout the Digital Single Market.

In contrast, MEP Roza Thun and MEP Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg have proposed a different approach in their respective draft reports by (i) including non audiovisual copyright-protected content in the material scope of the Regulation, and (ii) by introducing audiovisual services into the the review clause.

CW! supports the CULT committee approach and considers that the suggestions from MEPs Roza Thun and Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg will have the following negative implications for the future of these sectors:

1) Reduction in consumer choice: banning geo-blocking practices risk causing a reduction in the diversity of offerings in many creative sectors – the opposite of what we all want to achieve. For example, concerning the audiovisual sector, estimates show that audiovisual content available to European audiences could be reduced by as much as 48%.[1] The game industry would also be discouraged from making language specific games and apps available in certain European markets.

2) Threat to Cultural Diversity: such inclusions risk undermining EU’s long history of measures to promote cultural diversity. It puts into question the future of financing, promotion and distribution of such content throughout the Digital Single Market. Let’s look at the E-book market. Currently, E-book is a nascent and uncertain market representing no more then 4-5% of the book market shares across Europe. Should booksellers be forced to sell E-books across borders, the risk is real that most small and medium scale operators would decide to stop selling E-books in order to stay profitable. Fewer retailers means less cultural offer as major Internet operators on the E-book market are likely to focus on bestselling titles.

3) Unifying prices upwards: It would curtail  the opportunity for business operators to provide sustainable offers and would reduce the freedom of services to adapt terms and offerings to local market conditions, and would as a result put pressure on services to unify prices upwards. Let’s take online music services as an example. Abolishing geo-blocking would curtail the freedom of services to adapt local terms and offerings according to local market conditions, and will put pressure on services to unify prices upward. In turn, many consumers would be driven to piracy in a market that has fought very hard to compete against illegal services. The same considerations would apply to video games and apps.

4) Calling into question the Community Acquis: Such changes would be in contradiction to the Services Directive 2006/123/EC and the long established position of the European Parliament to preserve and enhance cultural diversity (as per the primary provisions of the EU Treaty under Article 3).

When preparing the proposal, the European Commission explicitly excluded copyright-protected content from the public consultation. This was done for good reason. Any change to the material scope of the Regulation would require the European Commission to first carry out a public consultation and an Impact Assessment, in line with Better Regulation principles.

Therefore, CW! urges Members of the European Parliament to acknowledge these facts and rejects amendments suggesting: (i) the inclusion of non-audiovisual copyright into the material scope of the proposed regulation and;  (ii) the inclusion of audiovisual services into the review clause, so that the Geo-blocking Regulation does not achieve the opposite of its intended goal.

The following organisations are part of Creativity Works!

CW logos

Find out more about the coalition at www.creativityworks.eu

You can follow us on twitter at @CreativityW

Note to the editor

Today, European audiences can access more creative works online than ever before: they can enjoy over 30 million licensed songs, over 3,000 Video-on-Demand Services (VOD), and over two million e-book titles, as well as many thousands of video games and apps and  countless images that help make the internet the vibrant and engaging place it is.

At the end of last year, the European Parliament Resolution “A coherent EU policy for cultural and creative industries” recognised the key role the creative and cultural sectors play in Europe’s economy and society: more than 11 million people with a wide range of skills and talents work in the creative industries in Europe.

 

[1] See « The impact of cross-border access to audiovisual content on EU consumers », Oxera, May 2016.

Inclusion of copyright-protected content in geo-blocking draft report raises serious concerns

December 22, 2016

Today Roza Thun MEP issued her draft report on the Geo-blocking Regulation in the European Parliament. We’re concerned that the draft report proposes to include copyright-protected content such as e-books, music and video-games in the scope of the Regulation, and to extend the scope of the review clause to audiovisual works.

When preparing the proposal, the European Commission explicitly excluded copyright-protected content from the public consultation. This was done for good reasons. For copyright-protected content, banning geo-blocking practices risks causing a reduction in the diversity of offerings in many creative sectors – the opposite of what we all want to achieve. It would curtail the freedom of services to adapt terms and offerings to local market conditions, and would put pressure on services to unify prices upwards.

Similarly, the inclusion of audio-visual services in the Regulation’s review clause calls into question the Community Acquis in this area in contradiction with the Services Directive 2006/123/EC and the long established position of the European Parliament to preserve and enhance cultural diversity (as per the primary provisions of the EU Treaty under Article 3). It will negatively impact on-going investments and impair future financing, promotion and distribution throughout the Digital Single Market. It is our firm belief that the Portability Regulation is the right tool to help increase audiences’ enjoyment of audiovisual content, while preserving the principle of territoriality. The proposed, ill-conceived and inconsistent changes to the material scope of the Geo-blocking Regulation risk undermining this.

Today, European audiences can access more creative works online than ever before: they can enjoy over 30 million licensed songs, over 3,000 Video-on-Demand Services (VOD), and over two million e-book titles, as well as countless images that help make the internet the vibrant and engaging place it is.

The draft report puts this range and diversity of legal offer at risk, with inevitable negative economic consequences for the sectors in question, and for European audiences. Such a result would be contrary to the EU’s long history of measures to promote cultural diversity, as well as the DSM objectives of achieving jobs and growth.

Only last week the European Parliament Resolution “A coherent EU policy for cultural and creative industries” recognised the key role the creative and cultural sectors play in Europe’s economy and society: more than 11 million people with a wide range of skills and talents work in the creative industries in Europe. Any change of the scope of the Regulation to copyright-protected content would require the European Commission to first carry out a public consultation and an Impact Assessment, in line with Better Regulation principles.

We urge Members of the European Parliament to acknowledge this, and ensure the Geo-blocking Regulation does not achieve the opposite of its intended goal.

The Value of IP

November 21, 2016

Dr Nima Sanandaji took some time to speak to our friends Ideas Matter after our High-Level Conference about his research on the value of IP. Hear what he has to say below!

The Role of Intellectual Property In Europe’s Knowledge Economy from Ideas Matter on Vimeo.

Creativity Talks! – A Roundup of the High Level Conference on Jobs, Growth and Europe’s Digital Future

October 21, 2016

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Last week, Creativity Works! teamed up with the European Parliament’s Cultural & Creative Industries Intergroup to hold our second High-Level Conference. This year we focused on “Jobs, Growth & Europe’s Digital Future.”

We think that contrary to popular belief, the creative and cultural sectors are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital. Creative content is often what makes technology worth having. Just think: e-books are why people by e-readers; broadband packages often come bundled with access to premium audiovisual content. Our panellists from all across the creative sectors gathered to speak about just how they’ve taken advantage of the possibilities new technologies have offered, how their sectors will go on to shape the online environment, and some of the challenges they face.

Our early speakers looked at precisely how Europe will guarantee the future of its young creative professionals. We believe that strong copyright protection is an integral part of guaranteeing this future; Pauline Rouch, DSM advisor to President Juncker, put it well in her address to the conference when she argued that copyright is essential to creation. She also reiterated President Juncker’s assertion that artists and creators are Europe’s crown jewels, and that they help amplify the EU’s global resonance.

Alban De Nervaux, Director for legal and international affairs at the French Ministry of Culture, outlined his view that preserving territoriality and contractual freedom – the freedom for rightholders to negotiate licenses for creative works and content – are crucial for ensuring that young creators are able to exploit the opportunities that digital technology provides.

The middle of the conference was devoted to the idea that now is no time for business as usual – and that the creative sectors have evolved and innovated correspondingly.

Interestingly, Dan Maag from Pantaflix outlined how he started his company in order to help producers make their films more widely available in other territories, thereby achieving one of the aims of the Commission’s Digital Single Market without undermining territoriality. You can read more of his thoughts on this topic in his interview with the moderator of the conference, Per Strömbäck: “Geo-blocking cannot be done without killing related industries”.

Anthony Level from TF1 touched on a recurring theme of the conference: markets for content are often national, regional, or even local. He pointed out that the de facto need for pan-European licenses that would result from anything that restricts the ability to geo-block content would in fact hurt small players who lack the means to purchase rights Europe-wide – and the result would be the loss of this local content. He spoke more about this topic to Per Strömbäck here.

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Other panellists pointed out the importance of financing across the creative and cultural sectors. In the book sector, Christian Schumacher-Gebler addressed the belief of some that digital content should be free: books are more than just the physical product, and the creative process involves many people, which means great investment is needed. Jan Orthey from the German Booksellers Association talked about the various ways in which the book sector has been innovating, noting that over 70% of German bookshops have an online store in addition to their physical premises.

For writers, Nick Yapp, President of the European Writers’ Council pointed out that digital disruption has in many ways made creation easier than ever before. This view was echoed by representatives from the music sector, who stated that it has opened up ways for artists to reach their audiences while retaining control over their work; legal streaming of music is also on the rise according to Kees Van Weijen of record label [PIAS].

Yet at the same time digital disruption has also made piracy easier, which eventually harms the creative process. For instance, young writers find it harder to break through due to the pressure on publishers; and many parallels exist in other sectors. Better implementation of existing IPR protection rules across Europe has to be part of the solution.

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A number of panellists touched on the issue of the “new business of free” – Tomas Speight of Panther Media called it one of the biggest challenges for the stock photography sector. Despite improvements – for instance in the increase of legal downloads of music – it remains a sensitive issue for many in the creative sectors.

The event was rounded off by Christian Ehler MEP, whose Intergroup were the co-hosts of the event. Echoing remarks made by his co-chair Pervenche Berès MEP, he provided some final food for thought: unlike many things the European Union handles, culture can have a direct, positive impact on the lives of Europe’s citizens, and at its best can be emblematic of the European ideal. We hope Europe’s leaders remember this in the months ahead.

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Statement from Creativity Works! on the European Commission’s Copyright Package

September 14, 2016

Today the European Commission has published its proposals for copyright in the digital age. Copyright is the economic foundation for Europe’s cultural and creative sectors, which employ more than 7 million people with a wide range of skills. It stimulates creation, innovation, investment, production and dissemination of creative works, and has made it possible for the creative and cultural sectors to meet consumer demand for legal online content.

Our sectors have been devising new ways to entertain audiences for years, as new technologies have opened new possibilities for creative expression and enjoyment of cultural works. Today, we are digital sectors, and audiences can access more creative works online than ever before: no matter where in the EU, Europeans have access to over 30 million licensed songs; over 3,000 Video-on-Demand Services (VOD); and over 2 million e-book titles, while images have made the internet the vibrant and engaging place we enjoy today.

The benefits of the current ecosystem are clear: authors and other creators can be rewarded for their work, while their business partners have the incentives to invest in production and in making that work widely available. Territorial exclusivity supports the investment in the development, creation, production, marketing and distribution of films and audiovisual content, as well as the ability to tailor offers of film and audiovisual content to the wide diversity of consumer preferences and varying purchasing powers across Europe.

Further, the current European system of copyright exceptions and limitations strikes the right balance between protecting creativity and investment and the interests of users. It enables respect for cultural and national diversity, flexibility and an appropriate degree of EU harmonisation.

We believe that some of the proposed measures in fact threaten to undermine all this, and risk leaving consumers worse off by causing production levels to fall and reducing cultural diversity. We think that’s not a risk worth taking.

Creativity Works! stands for informed, reasoned debate on copyright and the creative and cultural sectors. We’ll continue our work to try to ensure Europe’s copyright framework works to the benefit of audiences and the creative sectors alike.

Our members come from across the creative and cultural sectors. Here’s how they reacted:

Grégoire Polad, Director General, Association of Commercial Televisions:

“Evidence shows that the proposed Regulation may affect European consumers and the AV industry in the short term (up to €9.3bn per annum) and the medium to long term (up to €4.5bn per annum) due to less European content being produced and less access to/affordable content being available to consumers. The Portability proposal remains the most adapted instrument to ensure consumer benefit whilst respecting the economic fundamentals of the sector. In all other scenarios tabled in the DSM plans, consumers and industry will be worse off than in the current situation.

Benoît Ginisty, Chief Representative of FIAPF, the International Federation of Film Producers Associations:

 “We are not convinced that the Commission’s proposed Regulation will drive new business opportunities in the online world.  As we have repeatedly argued – and as evidenced by our recent research – undermining the integrity of territoriality in licensing will come with a cost for the European film sector, its funding and distribution opportunities and ultimately for its audiences.  The result will be less cultural and linguistic diversity and reduced choice for European audiences – creativity will be affected as will our sector’s contribution to the European economy and employment.

 Henrique Mota, President of the Federation of European Publishers (FEP-FEE):

“To be a publisher you have to like to take risks; bets with new talents, chances with new topics, yet always risks. When one of these ventures finds its audience, copyright is the guarantee that we can continue to take these risks. Too many exceptions are challenging the opportunities to publish new innovative works. We will review the proposed Directive and work with the co-legislators to improve it to fit Europe’s objectives of promoting innovation and creation.”

Myriam Diocaretz, Secretary-General of the European Writers’ Council (EWC):

“European writers and translators welcome the prospects of more control which authors and other rightholders can exercise over the uses of copyright-protected works in online services. Legal certainty, licensing mechanisms and an equitable share of the economic value generated will benefit all, including our readers and audiences.”

 Helen Smith, Executive Chair and Secretary General of IMPALA:

“The Commission has taken action on some of the issues affecting the music sector online. This is an important step forward, and we expect member states and parliament will want to clarify this further. All players in the online ecosystem online need to respect copyright for the online economy to be sustainable. But we have reservations about other elements of the package, and will continue to work on these with our counterparts in the European Parliament and Council.”

Sylvie Fodor, Executive Director of CEPIC, the Centre for the Picture Industry:

“The Commission is right to have chosen an evidence-based approach when it comes to harmonizing exceptions. Because the public consultation on the panorama exception has showed that no regular internet user has ever been sued because of copyright laws relating to art in public spaces, its implementation is now left to Member States’ discretion. In our view, there are indeed more pressing issues to solve for a balanced creation and consumer friendly internet, such as bridging the value gap in all sectors. First encouraging steps have been made in this direction.”

Dara MacGreevy, Senior Counsel, Content Protection and Information Security, Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE):

“It’s worrying that the proposal threatens to undermine the legal protection for technological protection measures (TPMs). These have been fundamental in enabling the video game industry to embrace digital distribution models and to move beyond simply selling physical copies of games. This has clearly benefited consumers by increasing the amount of legal content available online; the Commission’s plans here seem to run counter to what they are trying to achieve.”

Elena Lai, Secretary General of European Coordination of Independent TV Producers (CEPI):

 “It is very disappointing to see the Commission is clearly ignoring the impact that the broadcast regulation proposal could have on the sector as a whole and particularly on Small and Medium Enterprises. In a time where Europe needs to be more united and competitive than ever before, TV producers have been crucial in addressing the interest of the audience and consumer by providing varied cultural and linguistic content which can be monetised across the EU providing valuable re-investment, sustaining diversity and competitiveness.”

Coco Carmona, Director General of the International Confederation of Music Publishers:

”We believe this Package is a step in the right direction to ensure that the value generated by online platforms when using copyright protected content is properly shared with rightholders, and we look forward to continuing working on this path with the Council and the European Parliament.”

CJEU confirms commercial linking to unauthorized content is illegal

September 8, 2016

CW! has taken note of today’s verdict from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the GS Media v Sanoma Media case (C-160/15). The verdict sends a strong message to profit seeking sites that linking to copyrighted material without rightholders’ consent is illegal. This also applies to hyperlinkers who knew or should have known that the content was unauthorized.

We are proceeding to a careful analysis of the verdict but are encouraged by the legal clarifications the verdict offers for users and creators. Europe’s creative industries are actively involved in curbing online piracy and firmly believe copyright protection is essential to sustain Europe’s creative community and economy. It enables our industries to create new content while offering the best possible experience to audiences and users, including by continuously increasing and diversifying our legal offer. Taking action against illegal sites is not about preventing access to creative content but to protect consumers and stop pirates who do not contribute to Europe’s cultural diversity while making a business out of exploiting content that’s not theirs.

This Autumn Will be Critical for the Creative & Cultural Sectors in Europe

July 20, 2016

After a busy period for the cultural and creative sectors, we’re looking forward to the summer break. Yet we’re well aware that some people in Brussels will still be hard at work, putting the final touches to the Commission’s plans for its second package of copyright-related proposals.

Over the past few months, our members have been busy making themselves heard, compiling studies that make clear the potential implications of weakening copyright protection and undermining territorial exclusivity, notably for audiovisual works and for the sports audiovisual ecosystem: audiences would lose out not only in terms of reduced variety of production, but also in terms of reduced quality.

Likewise, our members have been making the case that including copyright-protected content in the Geo-blocking Regulation would risk causing a reduction in the diversity of offerings in many creative sectors – the opposite of what we all want to achieve. We think that the Portability Regulation – with the appropriate safeguards to preserve the principle of territoriality – is the right tool to help increase audiences’ enjoyment of creative content, and would not want it undermined by ill-conceived changes on other fronts, in particular the possible application to online services of the principles enshrined in the Satellite and Cable Directive, and especially its Country of Origin principle.

We will also continue to make the case that any change to the current regime of exceptions and limitations to copyright needs to be justified by a sound economic and legal analysis. We think that the current rules, together with a wide variety of business practices, provide flexibility to innovate and find new ways to meet consumer demand, and give national governments the scope to respect their individual legal traditions and pursue policies suited to their country’s circumstances.

Come September, all these issues will be at the top of the political agenda in Brussels, and you can be sure that we’ll be very active in promoting informed debate between decision makers, the creative and cultural sectors and other stakeholders. On 12th October, together with the Creative & Cultural Industries Intergroup in the European Parliament and the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the EU, we’ll bring together high-level figures from politics and the creative industries to discuss the pressing questions around the sectors, and look at what they mean for Europe’s digital future.

We hope you can join us for the discussion then. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

Creativity Works!

Film Festivals and Markets – Beyond the Red Carpet

May 2, 2016

Filmposters

An interview with Anders Kjærhauge, Administrative Director of Zentropa

AndersKjaerhauge

Anders Kjærhauge is the Administrative Director of Zentropa, one of Scandinavia’s most well-known film production companies. Founded in 1992 as the result of the co-operation between director Lars von Trier and producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen on the feature film “Europa”, Zentropa has produced more than 150 international and Scandinavian quality features, co-productions, and low budget films. The company produces internationally award-winning directors and screenwriters such as Thomas Vinterberg, Susanne Bier and Lars von Trier.

While Anders is about to pack his luggage for the Cannes Film Festival and Market, he accepted to answer a few questions on the importance of film festivals and markets for his productions as well as on the current outlook for the European film industry. A great opportunity to get insight into how a film is produced from the first synopsis and idea to the big screen and beyond.

Why are film festivals and markets important for a production company such as Zentropa?

When it comes to the main film festivals and markets, it is very common to hear that it is all about the red carpet, stars and glitter. But for the industry, the festival and accompanying market is vital to our business. I heard that the upcoming Film Market of the Cannes Festival and the Festival itself will gather more than 10 000 professionals including more than 3000 producers, 2000 distributors, 1500 sellers and 800 festivals programmers. The reason why is because the main film festivals give our films a tremendous opportunity to be seen by diverse audiences and the accompanying market provides a platform for producers, buyers and distributors to meet and invest both in films that are under development or in the making and films that have not found distributors yet in the various countries around the world.

Of course another reason to go to film festivals – and maybe the most rewarding one – is when your film is in competition but that means that you have been able to manage all of the previous steps, from developing the idea into a script, from writing into shooting, editing and ending up with a fully-fledged film.

So you go to film festivals and markets with projects that have not been shot yet?

Actually this is an essential part of our work. We need to secure the financing of our films and we often do that by cooperation internationally with other producers in co-productions and/or pre-selling future distribution rights in different countries around the world. I would say that finding future distributors and buyers for a finished film can, of course, sometimes be tricky. But convincing partners to invest in a project that is just an “idea” with only a script and perhaps a director’s name is the most complicated part as it involves a lot of both creative and financial risks. When we talk about internationally acclaimed directors such as Lars Von Trier or Susanne Bier, it is somehow easier but when it is a first film, this part is almost the most challenging moment of filmmaking.

Could you briefly explain how your films are financed?

Of course, even if each film has its own “way”, its own business model, I can give you the general lines. First of all, a film always starts with a good story. Once you have a convincing story, you need to pre-finance the next steps, including the development into a synopsis, a script, selecting the creative contributors, shooting the actual film, the salaries of everybody, including all the technical crew and staff. To do so, you need to convince buyers or distributors to invest in the film in exchange of future exclusive rights of distribution in certain territories and distribution channels. Those pre‐sales of future exclusive distribution rights can be as important as up 30 to 47% of the total budget of a film or TV production. In the case of A Royal Affair which Zentropa produced with Nikolaj Arcel as the co-author of the script and director, pre-sales represented 37% of the full budget. The full amount was raised from 20 different financing sources, including 8 foreign pre‐sales for the Scandinavian territories, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Spain, Benelux and the US. This is money that we have to secure upfront before we can even begin making the actual film.

Then we need to choose how and where the film will be shot. The entire crew is hired and the shoot can begin. As the final editing touch is being made, we plan the strategy of marketing and selling the film. At this stage, knowing the audience is essential as it depends on many cultural factors. We need to choose to which festivals we will submit the film, the details of its theatrical distribution, home entertainment (DVD and online) and cable and TV distribution. This, of course, depends on each territory.

As you can see, the production of a film is a very long road and, as producers, we usually only get to recoup our initial investment after all the other partners. When the film is a success of course because most of the time, it is very hard to recoup our initial investment.

What did you do at the Berlinale Film Festival and Market then?

I/we went there for the usual work which we have already discussed, presenting scripts and new projects but also because one of our recent films, “The Commune” directed by Thomas Vinterberg, was selected for the competition.

How did it go?

It went very well. Trine Dyrholm, the main actress, was awarded the Silver Bear which is a great achievement for her but also for the entire team that worked on this film. When the selection of the film for the Berlinale Main Competition was announced, we were thrilled. As you can guess, there is no better outset for a release than having a film selected to be in the programme of a major film festival. It is the best reward we can dream of in view of all the risks, the time and efforts it involved for so many people. The shooting started in 2014 and we are only reaping now the first rewards.

How was The Commune started as a project?

Thomas Vinterberg had just been nominated for the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for The Hunt. He came to us with this story about the clash between personal desires, solidarity and tolerance in a commune in Denmark in the 70’s. We decided to produce it in co-operation with Toolbox Film, a Danish production company. TrustNordisk, an international   sales company based in Denmark, immediately started to pitch the film in festivals and film markets. They took the project to the American Film Market and made a deal with French distributor Le Pacte. As previously discussed, this part of pre-financing is crucial. We needed to share the risks and get some pre-financing in order to start with the shootings at the earliest moment possible.

How many companies and funding have been involved?

“The Commune” was produced by Sisse Graum Jørgensen and Morten Kaufmann for Zentropa Entertainments19 in co-operation with Toolbox Film, co-produced by Film I Väst, Zentropa International Sweden, Topkapi Films and Zentropa International Netherlands with support from the Danish Film Institute, DR, Eurimages, and Nordisk Film & TV Fond, The Netherlands Film Fund, the Swedish Film Institute and the MEDIA programme of the European Union. Nordic distribution has been handled through Nordisk Film Distribution and TrustNordisk handled international sales. As you can see from the first steps till the final release, a lot of financial partners are involved. Again, the financial risks have to be shared.

How do you see the outlook for the film industry in Europe?

There are many quality productions and an incredible diversity of films being released every year across Europe. Of course there is always room for improvement, but a lot of those films are exported beyond their home markets and if you just see how many European films are running for international awards or are winning prizes in the major film festivals around the world, it is just amazing.  We have an amazing creative force in Europe which reaches audiences throughout the globe.

As a production company, do you feel supported by the European authorities?

In terms of financial support, the European institutions are helping a lot, for instance, through the “MEDIA” programme which has supported Zentropa since the beginning on various productions and distributions.   We would not have been able to grow without the MEDIA programme. We have not always been in agreement but we always listened to each other since we had a mutual goal:  the development of quality European films. I have heard that during the last Berlinale, there were 20 European Union’s supported films, 5 of which were shortlisted for the Golden and Silver Bears. This is a great sign of dynamism, creativity and outstanding financial risk-taking.

Unfortunately, we are also aware that the fundamental legislation, copyright, which underpin our creativity and financial risk-taking could change soon in Europe.  In my view, some of the changes under consideration could seriously harm the industry.

What kind of changes?

The European Commission is currently trying to implement its “Digital Single Market Strategy”, with a view “to contribute to the economic growth and job creation in Europe”. But the reality is that, as it stands now, several of the proposals under consideration have the potential to seriously undermine the creative and financial conditions for the film sector in Europe.  I am not convinced either that the changes under consideration will increase economic growth and jobs in our sector – I am worried that the changes would reduce our current contribution of 107 billion Euros to the European economy and 1,2 million jobs in 2012.

Why?

For instance, one of the themes under consideration would involve putting an end to selling territorial exclusivity – or at least reduce such exclusivity to make it financially weaker.  . As I explained to you earlier, the pre-financing of our films implies that we are able to pre-sell the rights on a territory-by-territory and an exclusive basis. The marketing strategy and many other factors are linked to this territorial approach. If you force an abolition of the frontiers, there will be only one territory, one distribution right, one negotiation, one contract and one financing source.  In my view, it will be close to impossible to pre-finance our films anymore. The disappearance of this possibility of giving exclusive territorial rights in exchange of co-production or future distribution would make the whole financing and distribution system collapse.

It is as if the European Commission in a certain way is starting to destroy what they have built for the last 15 or 20 years. The cornerstone of our sector is the freedom to finance and license works in a mix of different models, partnering with future distribution partners and platforms of different sizes, scope and geographical footprint, for the benefit of the Europeans and their incredible cultural diversity.  We really must preserve this commercial and contractual freedom.

What would you recommend for a modern and dynamic European film sector then?

The European Union should look to its vibrant film sector and the online marketplace to continue to provide innovative business models and features, including portability of services, by acknowledging the importance and primary role of market-driven solutions in a fast growing technology-reliant environment. I can well understand the desire of European audiences to be able to access their subscription services at home when they are abroad on holiday or for business. But the best way to promote such innovation is through market-led growth that further enables the private sector to adapt and develop new services that are responsive to evolving consumer interests and real, demonstrable demand. These services should be encouraged but currently, I do not see the European proposals going in that direction.

We can respond to consumer demand for each work by electing to license each audiovisual work on a territorial, multi-territorial or pan European basis. Territorial exclusivity also supports the development of the fast growing audiovisual online services across Europe, of which there are now over 3,000. This diversity is driving change and innovative solutions so European audiences can access and watch film and audiovisual content in the widest possible range of options.

Preserving cultural diversity both in the range of films which we produce and in the range of different distribution options offered to audiences is a key objective of European public policy and the European Union should celebrate and champion this diversity – both in production and in distribution ‐ and not impose business models which would favor a small number of multinational platforms.

What should we wish you for Cannes Film Festival and Market?

Interesting and productive meetings with filmmakers, distributors, buyers, see good films and… the sun to enlighten the stay!

Europe Needs More & Better Information About the Risks of Piracy

April 8, 2016

Cultural and creative content represents the livelihood of millions of people today. Copyright is the economic foundation stimulating creation, innovation, investment, production and dissemination of their content across Europe and beyond. Without an adequate level of IPR protection, the diversity that the cultural and creative industries offer would simply disappear. Thus the trends displayed by the latest European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)’s survey of 15-24 year olds’ online consumption habits are very worrying for CW!. This survey shows that a quarter of the young Europeans asked admitted to intentionally using illegal sources to access online content over the past 12 months, citing convenience and prices. In particular, the fact that nearly one in four of those surveyed believe there is nothing wrong in accessing digital content from illegal sources for personal use is a serious cause of concern.

CW! believes that the survey highlights the need for more and better information about the risks of piracy and its consequences, as well as the need to continue to provide the public with easy-to-access information on the rapidly-expanding range of legal offers online.

Today, there are over 3,000 audiovisual services online platforms in Europe through which consumers can access their favourite TV programmes, music, e-books, games, movies and sports in their own languages (for an overview please see our page). These offers are expanding by the day. Dozens of public awareness-raising campaigns have been launched over the years about the negative impact of piracy and counterfeiting such as Operation Creative in the UK, Respect Creativity in Italy, Contrefaçon non merci in France, Ante las falsificaciones, no seas cómplice in Spain, Zrób to SAMo! Do the SAMe! In Poland or Intellektika in Estonia (for a comprehensive overview, we suggest you visit the EUIPO Public Awareness Campaign register).

CW! members are taking this effort one step further by contributing to the development of a European platform showcasing legal offers soon to be launched by the EUIPO. This one stop shop will offer comprehensive information about legal digital content offers across Europe. We hope that this will help young Europeans to make informed decisions as consumers online and to better protect the livelihoods of the millions of their fellow Europeans who work in the creative industries.

Brussels Avant-Première: Our Kind of Traitor

April 6, 2016

 

OurKindOfTraitor

On this year’s World IP Day, 26th April, Creativity Works! members will join forces with other organisations to hold an avant-première of Our Kind of Traitor, the new film by British director Susanna White. Based on the John le Carré novel of the same name, it tells the story of a couple caught up between the British secret service and the Russian mafia – neither of whom they can trust.

If you’re interested in attending, write to ourkindoftraitor@creativityworks.eu. Places are limited, so we’ll write to let you know if you have a seat.

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CINEMA NEXT: The Future of Film and the Big Screen in Digital Europe

February 2, 2016

Creativity Works! member International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) teamed up with a number of MEPs for a conference titled CINEMA NEXT, to explore the Future of Film and the Big Screen in Digital Europe.

The conference was organised at the European Parliament under the patronage of MEPs Bogdan Wenta (EPP), Julie Ward (S&D), Jean-Marie Cavada (ALDE) and Helga Trüpel (Greens).  The main topic of discussion revolved around the role of cinema theatres in the broader film industry. We learned that even though cinema attendance accounts for just a small percentage of film viewing, it amounts to or more than half of film revenues, and is growing. If anything, cinema is becoming more important in the digital era, not less.

The discussion moved on to look at how the EU’s film industry benefits from a stimulating business environment, encouraged by a stable and flexible legislative framework. Phil Clapp, the President of UNIC and CEO of the UK Cinema Association praised European cinema  for ”punching above its weight” and accounting for 29% of global box office revenue. Jean-Marie Cavada MEP emphasised the need for caution with resources when modernising the copyright legislation, and stressed the value of creative works. Tilman Rotberg, Head of Media and Entertainment Germany at GfK, spoke about the difficulties of motivating people to go to the cinema and not fall into the ”sofa trap”.

Leigh Thomas, Director of Partnerships at Into Film, stressed the importance of teaching young people to watch films legally. MEP Julie Ward spoke about her previous professional life in the cultural sector, how culture promotes cultural cohesion, and the crucial way it builds audiences for the cinema and prepares young people for work.

We hope that those who attended found the discussion as stimulating as we did. Stay tuned for more cultural and creative events over the coming months!

Exceptional premiere screening of the restored version of ‘Marius’

January 13, 2016

The 1931 French classic movie ‘Marius‘ has been digitally restored and will be screened on 27 January 2016 in Brussels.

Directed by Alexander Korda based on the play by Marcel Pagnol, the drama film stars Raimu, Pierre Fresnay and Orane Demazis. The film’s music was by Francis Gromon.

Part of a trilogy that includes two other films – ‘César‘ and ‘Fanny‘- ‘Marius‘ was selected as a Cannes Classic during the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

This exceptional premiere screening is made possible by the Franco-American Cultural Fund (FACF), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM) as well as the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW).

The event will also see the participation of Costa-Gavras, Honorary President of the FACF and President of La Cinémathèque Française; Jean-Noël Tronc, FACF President and SACEM CEO; and Stan McCoy, FACF member and President and Managing Director of MPA.

Date and Time: 27 January 2016, Wednesday, 7:30pm
Venue: Cinéma Galéries, 26 Galérie de la Reine, 1000 Brussels

To attend, please RSVP by 20 January 2016: marius@brusselsscreening.com

Cinema Next: The Future of Film and the Big Screen in Digital Europe

January 11, 2016

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Creativity Works and the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) will be holding a lunch conference on the Future of Film and the Big Screen featuring leading cinema executives and EU decision makers.

Date and Time: 27 January 2015, 12pm-3pm
Venue: Room PHS 5B001, European Parliament, Brussels

The event will be hosted by:

  • Bogdan Wenta (MEP)
  • Julie Ward (MEP)
  • Helga Trüpel (MEP)
  • Jean-Marie Cavada (MEP)

A buffet lunch will be included. Click here for the complete agenda.

To attend, please RSVP by 20 January 2016: lhoulgatte@unic-cinemas.org

Listening to Europe’s Creative & Cultural Sectors

December 9, 2015

Today the European Commission has published its Communication on the future of the European copyright framework. We are digital sectors at heart, and hope the Communication marks the start of an informed, constructive dialogue about how copyright should continue to enable the creative and cultural sectors to thrive in Europe – ultimately to the benefit of rights holders, audiences and users alike.

Creativity and cultural expression are a vital part of Europe’s identity.  Copyright is the most effective enabler for the creation, financing, production and dissemination of cultural works, and has made it possible for the creative and cultural sectors to meet consumer demand for legal online content. We welcome the Commission’s intention to further support this market development.

In this spirit, we call upon the European Commission to take into account the views of the seven million people who make up the creative and cultural sectors in Europe. Helping the creative and cultural sectors to grow and create jobs requires proposals that respect the rights of creators and their business partners. We look forward to working with the European Commission, the Member States and the European Parliament to ensure their proposals work for both consumers and our sectors, while allowing the market to lead the way.

Our members come from across the creative and cultural sectors. Here’s how they reacted:

Grégoire Polad, Director General of ACT, said:

“Today the Commission has published a proposal  for a Regulation on portability aiming at allowing subscribers that have paid for subscriptions in their Member State of residence to continue to access that content when temporarily travelling to another member state. We look forward to continuing our work with the Institutions to develop from this blueprint a workable solution that is fit for purpose.”

Benoît Ginisty, Managing Director of FIAPF, the International Federation of Film Producers Associations, said:

“Film producers are excited about the opportunities offered by digital technology – we are already deeply engaged in the digital environment.  In the digital economy, licensing distribution rights by territory remains fundamental to the financing, production and distribution of content not just in the EU, but worldwide. It’s this freedom to co-produce between different countries and to pre-sell future distribution rights on an exclusive basis to a wide range of distributors in several countries that enables us to finance vibrant European film production and maximise film distribution to Europe’s culturally diverse audiences.” 

David Kavanagh, Executive Officer, Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, said:

“Authors are at the roots of the creative industries’ value chain. We are hopeful that the European Commission will promote a legal environment with fair remuneration of all right holders safeguarding creativity and ensuring the continued investments which are vital to Europe’s economy.”

Anne Bergman, Director of the Federation of European Publishers, said:

“Exceptions to copyright need to be just that – exceptions, not the rule. It’s a positive sign that the Commission says it will take market specificities and existing practices into account regarding exceptions to copyright. The current system enables respect for cultural and national diversity, flexibility and an appropriate degree of EU harmonization and has led to more creative works being available than ever before. Licences can and are already addressing many issues. Any new exception would therefore have to be justified by very strong evidence of market failure, and consider the incentives for investments by writers, publishers and booksellers in order to ensure the creation, publishing and distribution of new books.”

Helen Smith, Executive Chair and Secretary General of IMPALA, said:

“The music sector has made it possible for millions of music lovers throughout Europe to access a large and diversified offer whenever they want and on any device they choose. To maximise this, all online platforms offering copyright-protected content need to compete on a level playing field – copyright rules in particular need to apply to all players who are actively involved in distributing copyrighted works.”

Nick Yapp, President of the European Writers’ Council, said:

“On behalf of over 150,000 authors, writers and translators, the European Writers’ Council welcomes the opportunity to take part in the discussions planned by the European Commission. The importance of the protection of copyright cannot be overestimated. It is an essential ingredient in the process that enables creativity to survive and prosper in any society, and has produced the treasury of European Culture.”

Mathieu Moreuil, Head of European Policy of Premier League, said:

“We are proud to provide millions of sports fans throughout Europe and the world with tailored content which matches specific tastes and preferences of each market. Any dilution of territorial exclusivity could lead to pan-European licensing ultimately destroying that rich, culturally diverse content offer that we are all striving to create. Any legislative initiative must be approached with great care and should respect both contractual freedom and territorial exclusivity which are key for a successful and sustainable future for the creative industries.”

Sylvie Fodor, Executive Director of CEPIC, said:

“Professional photographers and picture agencies work online as a matter of course, and rely on strong copyright protection to make their jobs possible. While the initiatives mentioned in the Communication aiming at a fairer distribution of the value generated on the Internet are to be welcomed, a number of proposed exceptions might further undermine the revenues or discriminate against a certain category of visual authors. Photography needs strong enforcement measures or a realistic possibility to enforce rights against platforms who have built a business model on the free re-use of copyrighted content.”

David Sweeney, ISFE’s Senior Counsel, said:

“Video games and apps were born digital, and are by their very nature intellectual property. Without IP rights, they wouldn’t exist. As such, respect for intellectual property rights online is vital to the sector, which has flourished in the digital era.”

More Than Just Games: Europe’s Sports & Video Games Industries

November 19, 2015

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Creativity Works! members ISFE, Bundesliga and the Premier League teamed up with Daniel Dalton MEP last week in the European Parliament to present the workshop: “More Than Just Games: Europe’s Sports & Video Games Industries.”

David Sweeney, ISFE Senior Counsel, talked about how the game industry’s consistent evolution and success is based on the current copyright environment – new regulation should be introduced only where necessary. Richard Glynn, CEO of Studio Powwow talked the audience through the process of developing video games. As in all creative and cultural sectors, games begin with an idea – in fact many ideas. But Richard explained that while ideas themselves are cheap, actually executing these ideas, refining them and narrowing them down to produce something fun for gamers, requires large investment. This is before even considering the investment needed to bring a video game to market and attract an audience. The bottom line? Everything Richard’s studio produces is intellectual property, and strong copyright protection underpins the investment it needs to do its work.

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Having discussed videogames, the workshop moved on to look at the beautiful game. Stefan Brost and Mathieu Moreuil, from the Bundesliga and Premier League respectively, outlined the effort that goes into making matchdays across Germany and England a success. To give just one example, over the last 13 seasons the Bundesliga has invested over 1 billion euros in young talent.

Bundesliga and Premier League matches are shown in more than 200 territories in the world, and commercialising broadcasting rights for the matches is what makes both leagues’ investment in success possible. The value of the rights varies greatly – with their home country being by far the most valuable. Moreover, the same match would be covered very differently in Germany and France. The panellists explained that licensing by territory is therefore vital for the leagues to offer fans the coverage they like, and that undermining this system would have the effect of reducing the amount of tailored, legal offers for fans, especially those in small markets.

The audience engaged in a lively discussion, touching on issues such as access to venture capital for videogames, the hits-driven nature of the video game business, and how radio coverage is also a widely-loved part of football broadcasting.

We hope to be back soon in the European Parliament to talk more about how Europe’s cultural and creative sectors work – so stay tuned!

Therese Comodini Cachia MEP: EU should adopt a market-led approach to copyright

November 3, 2015

In an article for the Parliament magazine, Therese Comodini Cachia MEP made the case for a market-led approach to copyright. She wrote:

“Creativity, cultural diversity and innovation could be Europe’s greatest tools for economic and social growth. But copyright protection is essential. Ineffective enforcement of copyright law undermines incentives for the creation and distribution of European cultural products. Copyright does not hinder the digital single market strategy; rather it improves consumer and business access to digital goods and services.”

You can read more on the Parliament magazine website.

Creativity After Work, 16 September 2015, 6:30-8:30pm

September 9, 2015

Don’t forget to join us on 16 September, Wednesday, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm for a drink!

Brasserie Quartier Leopold
Place du Luxembourh 9
Brussels

Please RSVP: info@creativityworks.eu

Creativity After Work

Creativity Works! High-Level Conference on The Future of the Creative & Cultural Industries in Europe, 23 June 2015

June 19, 2015

Creativity Works! is organising a High-Level Conference on The Future of the Creative & Cultural Industries in Europe on 23 June 2015.

The event is co-sponsored by the Cultural and Creative Industries in Europe Intergroup, and kindly hosted by the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union in Brussels.

For more information about the programme and panellists, click here.

Creativity Works! High-Level Conference on The Future of the Creative & Cultural Industries in Europe, 23 June 2015

How Do You Create A Song, A Book, An Image?

May 15, 2015

This week saw the second Creativity Workshop! in the European Parliament.

Held with the European Parliament’s Creative and Cultural Industries Intergroup, and chaired by Pervenche Berès MEP and Chirstian Ehler MEP, the workshop sought to answer a deceptively simple question: “How Do You Create A Song, A Book, An Image?”

Bestselling author Nina George and publisher Mark Verhagen (CEO and founder, Luster) revealed the hidden sides of book publishing; music publisher Nicolas Galibert (Sony/ATV Music Publishing)and Anne-Lize Vancraenem (Green LFANT Music Company) expounded on a day in the life of a song, and award-winning photojournalist Dirk Waem and Jeroen Paling, (Deputy Director, B en U – International Picture Service) illustrated photography’s role as living heritage.

For some more snapshots of the event, see #CWEvent on twitter. Stay tuned for our next Creativity Workshop!

Creativity Workshop!

 

The Digital Single Market Strategy is an opportunity for the Commission to ensure creativity and culture flourish in Europe

May 6, 2015

CW! logo

Creativity Works! believes that in launching its Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Commission has an opportunity to bolster Europe’s natural strength: its cultural diversity.

The creative and cultural sectors are fully embracing the digital opportunities brought about by the fast technological developments especially over the past few years. They provide more works and services online than ever before to satisfy an ever increasing and diversified consumer demand: Europeans can access over 2 million e-book titles, view audiovisual works on over 3,600 video-on-demand services, and listen to over 37 million licensed tracks on 230 licensed digital music services.

We look forward to working with the Commission to ensure the Digital Singe Market aligns with the EU’s jobs and growth agenda. Our sectors contribute over €509 billion to Europe’s GDP and employ some 7 million people. As the Commission seeks to find ways to sustain this level of employment and further encourage job creation and economic growth, an effective Digital Single Market, underpinned by a strong copyright regime, would enable the creative and cultural sectors to maintain this significant contribution to Europe’s economy.

As its work progresses, the Commission will need to carefully evaluate all possible economic and legal consequences of modifying the current framework for copyright on businesses small and large, consumers and Member States legal traditions. It will also be important to fully take into consideration the views expressed by all stakeholders during its consultation, giving each their due weight. The principles of ‘Better Regulation’ will be an invaluable guide towards ensuring that the Digital Single Market is truly in Europe’s interests.

Current CW! Chair Jan Runge said:

“A true digital single market requires a good deal of work on a number of issues: broadband access, taxation, digital skills, payment systems, fair competition online… Progress in these areas will ultimately help Europe in its efforts to create new jobs and economic growth.

Creativity Works! sees the digital market as an opportunity for all cultural and creative players – whether large or small. However, for that promise to be fulfilled, the digital market needs to be competitive, diverse and fair. Copyright is the key foundation for creativity in the digital market. Strengthening these rules will also create better conditions for all creative stakeholders to take risks and promote new talent.”

Creativity Works! looks forward to working with the European Commission over the coming months to develop a robust, evidence-based approach to the Digital Single Market that will support job creation and economic growth in Europe. Strong copyright is just one measure towards ensuring a Digital Single Market that works for consumers, the creative and cultural sectors, and for Europe in the digital age.

BASCAP publishes a report on ‘Roles and Responsibilities on Intermediaries’

March 27, 2015

The Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative—a special project of the International Chamber of Commerce— on 26th of March published a new study setting out steps that intermediaries can take to fight counterfeiting and piracy. Check out ‘Roles and Responsibilities on Intermediaries: Fighting counterfeiting and piracy in the supply chain’  here.

BASCAP calls on search engines to do more. Illegal sources, rather than the abundant offer of legal platforms, often populate your results when searching for an artist or title online.

Let’s work together to make sure that creativity can work online too!

Virginie Rozière MEP on copyright and authors’ rights

March 20, 2015

In the debate over copyright, the rights of creators and their remuneration are one of the central concerns.

Virginie Roziére MEP, member of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection outlines the issue while taking into account the intricate nature of copyright.

She says: “Free access to the culture only makes sense if it leads to a fair remuneration of those who are at the heart: the authors and artists.“

If you want to read more about Ms Roziére’s opinions on the copyright debate, follow this link.

European Film Agencies urge EU to adopt evidence-based approach to copyright

March 19, 2015

The European Film Agencies have adopted a common resolution on the EU plans to reform the copyright framework.

On what has become a highly sensitive issue, the EFAD urged the European institutions to adopt an evidence-based and targeted approach, informed by impact assessments and to avoid any “big bang” policy changes, instead opting for a gradual solution developed in close cooperation with the relevant stakeholders.

P. Dinges, President of the EFADs said: “As organisations dedicated to supporting the creation, production and distribution of European works, we fully share the objective to promote the circulation of works and their availability to an increasingly wider public, but we would be deeply concerned about any proposals that would endanger the financing of film and television productions”.

If you are interested in the finding out more about the details of the resolution, simply follow this link.

IMPALA on the DSM and Copyright

March 12, 2015

Helen Smith from CW! member IMPALA (Independent Music Companies Association) wrote on the Digital Post last week, answering a number of questions about what independent music companies need from a Digital Single Market and copyright.

The article also touches on how independent music companies have embraced streaming services to provide music to fans at their convenience, and the importance of the revenues of today – secured by copyright – for promoting the artists of tomorrow.

Here are some of our favourite soundbites:

“Independents see the digital market as a fundamental leveller, full of opportunity for smaller cultural and creative actors. For that promise to be fulfilled, the digital market needs to become more open, competitive and diverse and of course safe and fair.”

“The reason why people who work in the music ecosystem need copyright to be robust is that it is the fundamental trading tool which allows them to be remunerated. If creators don’t have copyright, the fruits of their labour can be transferred and they don’t have the economic and moral freedom to decide what happens to their work. Even the essence of freedom of expression is undermined.”

“Independents work hard to open new opportunities for their artists and are often ahead of the pack. They were the first to license Napster, in 2001, and they have been at the forefront of the digital market’s evolution ever since.”

“Independents see those who love music not as mere consumers but as fans, as people who are eager to experiment and this is a great match.”

You can read the full article here.

Leading producers warn abolishing territoriality could be the end of independent cinema in the EU

February 10, 2015

Berlin. At the world-famous Berlinale film festival Günther Oettinger, the EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, called for cross-border online film services to be made available all over the EU. His was a busy visit to the German capital. On Monday, he  not only opened the  traditional Creative Europe MEDIA conference bringing together the who’s who of Europe’s film and creative industry, but also launched the European film forum, a new platform for dialogue with the industry.

Concerns related to abolishing territoriality were raised by numerous leading producers . Andy Paterson, the producer of The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth, told UK paper The Independent that “The proposal being mooted would destroy the European film business completely. This is not about consumer access, it’s about the way that films are made. None of the films that were at the BAFTAs last night would have been made if it becomes impossible to make individual territory sales around the world.”

He further underlined potential issues that would arise with abolishing territoriality by saying “the only films that could be sold on this basis are huge blockbusters and sequels. So far as giving people increased choice, you would decimate the business. What it means for the British Film Industry is that there wouldn’t be one.”

Jean Prewitt, CEO and President of the International Film and Television Alliance reiterated the same concerns stating:  “The Commission’s proposal would seriously damage the ability of independent producers to finance their films, which depends on exclusive licenses to local distributors. Ultimately, it would not benefit consumers. If the only issue is getting large blockbusters delivered to them on multi-territorial online platforms, maybe that will happen. But the vast majority of independent films, including European art house films, will not prosper in this environment.”

 

EU supported films at the Berlin film festival

February 10, 2015

19 films selected for the 2015 International Film Festival in Berlin (5-15 February) are supported by EU’s Creative Europe MEDIA sub-programme with over 2 million euro. Nine of the films are presented in the Main Competition, including the opening film “Nobody Wants the Night” by Isabel Coixet, a co-production between Spain, France and Bulgaria.

If you want to find out more, you can check out the following link

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Creative Industries reach record high – now worth £8.8 million an hour to UK economy

January 20, 2015

Growth of almost ten per cent in 2013, three times that of wider UK economy

Accounted for 1.7 million jobs in 2013, 5.6 per cent of UK jobs

2015 set to be another bumper year for UK creative output

New figures published in January 2015 reveal that the UK’s Creative Industries, which includes the film, television and music industries, are now worth £76.9 billion per year to the UK economy. This massive contribution is an all-time high and equates to £8.8m per hour, or £146,000 every single minute, playing a key role in the Government’s long-term economic plan.

The latest statistics come as 2015 looks set to be another bumper year for UK creative talent. There is already a huge number of highly anticipated offerings from every sector of the UK’s creative community; be it the latest Bond film, Spectre, the next instalment of Game Of Thrones, the eagerly awaited conclusion to the Arkham videogame trilogy Batman: Arkham Knight or the publication of the first illustrated editions of the Harry Potter series of novels.

As well as entertaining us, the Creative Industries drive growth, investment and tourism, which is why supporting the sector is a key part of the Government’s long-term economic plan. The tax reliefs in place continue to be a powerful tool in attracting foreign investment, and last year’s publication of the CreateUK strategy set out how Government and industry will work together to ensure the continued success of this dynamic sector.

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“The UK’s Creative Industries are recognised as world leaders around the globe and today’s figures show that they continue to grow from strength to strength. They are one of our most powerful tools in driving growth, outperforming all other sectors of industry and their contribution to the UK economy is evident to all.“

Key findings from the statistics released could be found here:

 

#NousSommesCharlie

January 8, 2015

Nous-sommes-Charlie (1)

New KPMG study: huge consumer choice for online film & TV in the UK

December 8, 2014

Almost 90% of the most popular and highest quality film and television content is now available in the UK across legal digital platforms, according to a new report compiled by KPMG and published today.

The report, entitled ‘UK availability of Film and TV Titles in the Digital Age’, looks at the availability of the most popular and critically acclaimed film and TV titles on 27 legal digital streaming and download services as of December 2013 in the UK. According to KPMG’s primary research, 86% of the most popular and highest quality films titles were available through an online video on demand service.

The study also finds that:

– 100% of the 2012 UK top 100 box office hits are offered on at least one of the services;
– 96% of the UK all time box office hits are offered on at least one of the services;
– 90% of independent films were available on at least one service;
– 75% of top UK 100 TV programmes were also available one at least on service.

All this mirrors similar success in the music and publishing sectors, where consumers can access more than 37 million individual music tracks and more than 2 million e-books from legal platforms EU-wide.

Commenting on the report, the UK’s Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“The digital revolution means the world’s best creative content – from box office films to some of the UK’s best TV – is available online, and can be accessed through on demand and mobile devices. […] This means there’s never been a better time to watch the latest blockbuster on your internet-enabled TV or catch up on an episode of your favourite TV drama on your mobile on the way to work.”

If you want to read more, check out the report here!

How to Make a Film

December 4, 2014

It takes complex financing, investment and the work of many people to bring creative ideas to the big screen.

We’ve just uploaded a new infographic showing all the steps involved, from pre-financing, development, and shooting, right through to distribution to audiences via cinemas, TV, and online services/DVDs. Take a look here!

CW! in the European Voice

November 21, 2014

If you’re based in Brussels, you’ve probably seen this week’s special report on Copyright in the European Voice.

Several of CW!’s member organisations are quoted or mentioned:

“IMPALA, the independent music companies’ association, estimated that more than 30 million tracks are available in every EU country.”

“The Centre of the Picture Industry (CEPIC) estimates that “85% of pictures found online by visual search systems are unlawful copies, and 80% of those illegal images have been spread through search engines such as Google Images”

“Chris Marcich, president and managing director of the Motion Pictures Association for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, argues that by and large the EU’s enforcement regime works. But, he says, it is implemented unevenly. Rights-owners find enforcement difficult in Spain, he explains, whereas French and British judges are more robust in granting injunctions under EU law.”

The report also does a great job of highlighting the value of the cultural and creative sectors to the European economy, as well as their role in Europe’s identity and influence on the global stage.

Subscribers can read the report here!
http://www.europeanvoice.com/special-report/copyright/

Copyrights and wrongs

#Creativityworkshop

November 19, 2014

Film and television are part of people’s daily lives across Europe – but how much do you know about the process that brings them to the big (or small) screen?

This week’s ‘creativity workshop’ in the European Parliament treated just this question, exploring what it takes to make film and television in Europe.

Hosted by Jean Marie Cavada MEP and Bogdan Wenta MEP, the workshop’s participants were treated to case studies on the film and TV industries.

Steven Flint, Director Of Operations for Global Entertainment Production at FremantleMedia Group, shared some of his views on European TV companies’ experiences as global leaders in developing programmes. Charlotte Lund Thomsen, Director General of CW! member organisation the International Video Federation, explored the process behind Danish-Czech-Swedish film ‘A Royal Affair’.

You can view the film industry presentation here. You can also see what was said on twitter by searching #creativityworkshop

To see what one of our co-hosts thought, you can visit Bogdan Wenta MEP’s website , while additional photos of the event can be found at MEP Jean Marie Cavada’s site via this link.

Avant-Première of Samba

October 10, 2014

This week, Creativity Works! members held an exclusive avant-première of Samba, the new film from the makers of ‘Intouchables’ and starring Omar Sy and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Staff from the European institutions and representatives of the creative and cultural sectors gathered at Flagey’s iconic theatre to discuss the latest happenings in the industry and the Brussels political scene.

CW! plans to hold more cultural themed events through the autumn and winter – stay tuned for more information!

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Agence Europe: Creative sector in no hurry over copyright White Paper

September 11, 2014

CW! has once again made it into the press – this time in an article by Agence Europe .

The article takes up some of CW!’s core arguments: that copyright remains the foundation of the creative industry and  is a driving force for creativity itself; that the current legal framework is functioning and up-to-date; and that instead of reopening the framework, its implementation should be improved.

Look out for more CW! coverage as the copyright debate hots up.

Article: “Creative sector in no hurry over copyright White Paper” – M Desset (subscription only)

CW! Pop-Up Reception – Today from 6pm, European Parliament Esplanade

September 3, 2014

CW! pop-up invitation2

Commission Unveils IPR Action Plan & Third-Country Strategy

July 4, 2014

This week, the European Commission unveiled its Intellectual Property Rights Action Plan and Strategy for IPR protection and enforcement in third countries. 

Creativity Works! welcomes the ‘follow the money’ approach of the Action Plan – overall, we see it as a step in the right direction. We’d further highlight the need to improve respect for copyright in Europe more generally, as it is a fundamental right that promotes cultural diversity, safeguards creators’ livelihoods and promotes financial risk-taking in the production, marketing and distribution of creative works. The Action Plan needs to promote a sustainable environment for the creative industries to continue to create, invest and flourish.

Creativity Works! is also pleased to see the Commission’s acknowledgement of the value of the creative sectors and their contribution to EU economy and employment, especially with regard to the rest of the world.

In the words of Commissioner De Gucht on the Strategy for third countries:

“Our businesses, creators and inventors should be duly rewarded for their creative and innovating efforts. For that, and to maintain the incentives that drive innovation and creativity, we must keep working on improving standards with our international partners. We will remain open to adapting our approach according to their levels of development, but underline the positive impacts that intellectual property can have on growth, jobs and consumers.”

We all share a responsibility in ensuring a fair online ecosystem and only close cooperation can make the online world a better place for creators and businesses alike. What’s more, CW! members look forward to contributing to the process. Read more about the Action Plan and Strategy here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-760_en.htm

European Commission: Sport as a growth engine for EU economy

June 19, 2014

Sport’s economic contribution to the EU economy is impressive, and often underestimated. Following a high-level stakeholder meeting in Brussels, the European Commission says sport has a share in the national economies which is comparable to agriculture, forestry and fisheries combined, and is expected to rise.

The stats are striking: “overall the sports sector accounts for 2% of the EU global GDP, while the total employment generated by sports activities is 7.3 million-equivalent to 3.5% of the total EU employment.”

The Commission has also drawn up a number of objectives for increasing this already-considerable economic contribution.

Find out more here!

Publishing as passion

June 18, 2014

Books are a passion for many people, and few will be more bibliophile than Pierre Dutilleul, Deputy CEO of the French publishing group Editis, and newly-elected President of the Federation of European Publishers (FEP-FEE), a CW! member.

In FEP-FEE’s latest newsletter, Mr Dutilleul talks about what it means to be at the head of a major publishing firm. Mr Dutilleul also reminds us that publishing is a “creation industry, and, as the people in charge, we have to locate, ease, attract and develop the loyalty of those talents which make the book, even in times of crisis, a priority good”.

Read more here!

 

Cultural and creative industries: a boon for the EU’s external relations

June 13, 2014

A new report released by the European Commission argues there is a “very considerable potential” for culture in Europe’s international relations. Published on 10th June, it also explores the ways in which culture and cultural expression have already been deployed by European actors in multiple relationships with their counterparts elsewhere.

The report highlights the fact that many EU Member States are placing much greater emphasis on the cultural and creative industries as the leading sector in trade and investments, notably as vectors for greater income and employment. In fact, 9 EU Member States are in the top 20 exporters of such goods worldwide.

Moreover, the report demonstrates the ways in which increased cultural engagement with the rest of the world can serve the interests as well as the ideals of the EU and its Member States. This would be to the benefit of intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity, and would foster competitiveness, innovation and development. To find out more, read the report here!

Great growth potential for digital content industry in Spain

May 28, 2014

A  new study by Prof. Francesco Sandulli from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid finds that in the last five years, the digital content industry in Spain has grown by 50%, whereas the physical content industry has decreased by 20%. The study looks at the evolution of supply and demand of digital content in Spain, with a focus on those industries with a higher potential impact on the entertainment industry, namely music, video, videogames and books.

 The study, launched on 27 May in Madrid, shows that in terms of total revenue, the book industry had the best results in the digital arena in Spain with a total of 74 million euros in digital sales in 2012, while the music industry has been more successful in transitioning to the digital world, with sales in 2013 accounting for 40% of the revenues of the whole music industry (compared to 4% of the total market share in the book industry).

 Analysing the evolution of the legal offers of digital content in Spain, the study highlights that the digital parts of the music, video, videogames and books industries have generated € 161 million in 2012, and more than € 3 billion in total. According to the study, Spain is the sixth largest digital video market in Europe by revenues and providers, even though digital video sales represent only a small 5% share in the Spanish video market. The growth potential of Spain’s digital content industry is tremendous.

CW! in The Parliament magazine

April 18, 2014

CW! was featured in issue 388 of Brussels-based magazine The Parliament this week.

World Intellectual Property Day takes place on 26th April – and we think it’s the perfect occasion to celebrate creative Europe.

Read more on what we have to say here!

Celebrating World IP Day – 26th April

April 14, 2014

This year’s World IP Day will celebrate the global passion for cinema.

As part of the celebrations, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has interviewed filmmakers, film producers, actors and actresses about their passion for cinema, and why copyright is at the heart of the sector.

Click here to see  what they have to say!

Did you know…

April 9, 2014

…that European commercial TV broadcasters invest 50% of their revenues back into the creation of more audiovisual content, and that the audiovisual industry employs 1 million people in Europe?

CW! member The Association of Commercial Television in Europe’s new website www.acte.be contains all you need to know about their contribution to the European economy, as well as the latest news on the sector and their positions on various aspects of EU media policy.

We encourage you to take a look!

European Copyright Consultation: a rights holders’ perspective

March 13, 2014

Over on the Future of Copyright blog, Nathalie Falot covers the close of the Commission’s public consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules by looking at what rights holders have had to say on the matter.

We were very pleased to see that she quoted the Creativity Works! submission to the consultation at length. Read what she had to say here!

CW! welcomes the closure of the European Commission’s public consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules

March 6, 2014

Creativity Works! welcomes the closure today of the European Commission’s consultation on the review of EU copyright rules. Amongst the thousands of responses received by the Commission in recent weeks are those from industries within the creative sector representing thousands of companies and millions of creators and workers from across the EU, whose businesses and livelihoods depend upon copyright and its effective protection. We are pleased to see such large-scale engagement with copyright. In our view, this is indicative of the importance of the matter at hand. Clearly, copyright reform is not just a legal question: it touches on Europe’s cultural heritage and diversity, as well as innovation as a driver for growth and employment. These are issues that will affect us all for years to come

Europe’s creative works are loved throughout the world. Europe’s cultural diversity and creative edge are unique and strategic assets of the EU. And copyright is the economic foundation for our sectors, stimulating creation, innovation, investment, production and dissemination. Our sectors make a significant contribution to economic growth and jobs – particularly for young people – in the EU. Copyright-intensive industries generate 7 million jobs, contribute approximately €509 billion to European GDP and generate a trade surplus with Europe’s trading partners.

The EU Copyright Directive, as well as the Acquis, has demonstrated its flexibility by enabling our sectors to continuously invent, invest in and create new cultural works for citizens to enjoy in the digital age. Tampering with such a carefully-constructed copyright system requires careful consideration of the facts, giving appropriate weight to the evidence, and should be done with the strictest accountability. We look forward to continuing engagement from all the stakeholders concerned, working to ensure that Europe remains a place where creators, the creative industries and citizens can continue to thrive.

The Creativity Works! position paper is available here.

The UK’s ‘modern makers’

March 4, 2014

While most economies and sectors in Europe shrunk during the recession, the UK’s creative industries ‘gross value added’ grew at a rate of 9.4% in 2012, nearly six times faster than that of the rest of the UK economy, according to a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) launched at the Oxford Media Convention on 26 February.

The report, entitled ‘March of the modern makers’, highlights the particular strengths and comparative advantages of the UK’s creative industries, and outlines how a more co-ordinated and concerted approach to government policy could help creators realise their full potential.

In addition to sectoral growth, employment in the creative economy grew by 6% between 2011 and 2012 to 2.55 million jobs. Among the creative sub-sectors, employment between 2011 and 2012 in film and TV grew at 13.6%, IT, software and computer services grew by 15.6% and design by 16.2%. You can download the report here.

Every voice counts: IMPALA calls on the music sector to speak up on copyright in Europe

February 26, 2014

Independent music companies account for 80% of all music released in Europe, and over 80% of jobs in the European music industry. Copyright is essential for guaranteeing them the ability to invest in new talent, and continue to drive the online market. That’s why Helen Smith, Executive chair of the Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA), is calling on all of those involved in the music industry to stand up for creators and make their voice heard in the European Commission’s consultation on the EU copyright regime. Read what she has to say here:

http://www.theparliament.com/latest-news/article/newsarticle/independent-music-companies-call-on-policymakers-to-make-eu-fit-for-copyright-in-the-digital-age/#.UwzIl-NdW9-

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European creators share their views on how creativity works in Europe

The Creativity Works! launch saw European creators come together to kick-start a lively discussion about the future of creative content and innovation in Europe. See for yourself what they had to say:

Arlene McCarthy MEP: EU copyright must ensure creativity can flourish

Helienne Lindvall speaks out on freedom of speech

There is no freedom of speech in a society that forces people to speak for free

The advent of the internet has been invaluable for creators. It has allowed them to communicate directly, long-distance, with fans and each other (I can now, for example, write a song with someone sitting on the other side of the Atlantic, simply by using Skype).

But it has also brought new challenges that threaten artists’ freedom of expression by taking away their freedom of choice. It’s taken away their choice of how their work is used, disseminated and monetised – even of who benefits from that monetisation (clue: often not the creators themselves).

Back in the 19th century Victor Hugo wrote that authors’ rights were the engines of free speech, and this is as true today as it has ever been. Hundreds of years ago, before authors’ rights and copyright were established, creators were reliant on the support of rich patrons, who in return could dictate what type of work would be produced. Understandably, it was highly unlikely an artist would create a piece of work critical of his or her master, as the result would be the termination of their livelihood.

Back then, as today, those in power understood the importance artists held in swaying public opinion and spreading information, and being able to use artists as mouthpieces for propaganda and self-aggrandisement or, conversely, silence them, was no doubt more than tempting.

It is no coincidence that democracy and freedom of expression have flourished since the advent of copyright protection, as it enables creators to retain their independence and to speak freely.

Piracy is not progress

That’s why there’s a certain irony to anti-copyright campaigners’ use of freedom of expression as a reason for its abolition, and claiming that piracy is progress. More and more artists are losing their ability to make a living due to copyright infringement and the devaluation that piracy, in turn, inflicts upon their work when it’s used by legal outlets (having a shop giving away the product for free next door sure drives down the overall price point). When they voice their concerns they’re told they need to invent new business models. Yet the only “new” business models proposed are to rely on voluntary donations, private benefactors, brand partnerships or, in some cases, government hand-outs. This is anything but progress – it’s a return to begging, corporate feudalism or communism.

In 2013 Google’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, went on a lobbying tour of India in an attempt to convince its citizens not to regulate the internet.

“Now is the moment for India to decide what kind of internet it wants for them [sic]: an open internet that benefits all or a highly regulated one that inhibits innovation,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Times of India, as if those were the only two choices on offer.

“As the internet has emerged in many of these different countries, there’s quite a few countries that have no laws that pertain to the internet at all and those internets tend to be free and open with almost anything goes,” he said at the Big Tent Activate Summit in New Delhi.

Despite what one may conclude by reading tech blogs, Schmidt is in a minority. In a recent UK survey 64% of the population said they wanted a regulated internet. Even countries that fiercely protect freedom of speech, enshrining the right in their constitutions, have laws that ensure that this freedom doesn’t violate and infringe on other people’s rights.

Freedom of speech – but only if you agree with us

Being an online columnist for the Guardian, I became used to a certain amount of nasty comments on the threads of my articles quite early on. But a few years ago I became the subject of a huge amount of vicious, vitriolic, systematic online abuse – often by anonymous writers. It started when I wrote an article where I revealed how much “media gurus”, who claim the new business model for music creators is to give their work away for free, are charging for going around talking about it – ranging from £3,000 for The Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde to £150,000 for Seth Godin.

Some tech sites dedicated numerous blogs to calling me stupid, ignorant, and saying that I should just shut up. Sometimes comments on the blogs were deleted for voicing support for me. One memorably abusive tweet read: “I wish someone would come up with a way of killing people like Helienne Lindvall online.” Lovely.

I couldn’t help but see the irony and hypocrisy in their concerted attempts to silence me in the name of “free speech”. Yet, at times, it upset me so immensely – even made me fear for my safety – that it seriously made me consider if speaking out was worth it. I noticed that a small label’s website was hacked and became the target of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks after its owner had defended me in one of his blogs. It felt like I was battling a monster too big for a sole individual like me to withstand.

But I also started getting more and more artists come up to me in person and messaging me directly, thanking me for speaking up for them. So, after taking time out until the abuse had somewhat subsided and the bullies had turned their attention elsewhere, I decided that I would not let myself be silenced by the anonymous mob. Still I wonder how many others deem the price too high.

Why copyright is the best system for retaining freedom of expression

It’s no coincidence that cable channels that are financed through subscriptions have produced some of the most ground-breaking and thought-provoking television programmes of the past couple of decades. Being able to charge for content is the best way to retain independence – and this is true online, as well.

Copyright may not be perfect, but it’s by far the best and fairest system for protecting democracy and freedom of expression. It’s fair because creators only get monetarily rewarded if the work they produce is deemed by the public to be of a good enough quality to be read, listened to, played with and/or watched. The digital revolution has given artists the possibility of more opportunities than ever to retain their independence through this transaction. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if they were forced to give this up for a return to the ancient system where artists were forced to beg and to be beholden?

There is no freedom of speech in a society that forces people to speak for free

Helienne Lindvall is a London-based songwriter and freelance columnist for The Guardian and other publications