News Detail

26.05.2006

EuroFIA Meeting in Zurich

The European group of FIA (EuroFIA) met in Zurich, Switzerland, on 26-27th of May 2006 to discuss EU policies and to review its activities – and those of its members – since the last meeting.

Focusing on the draft directive on “Services in the Internal Market”, the group studied the revised Commission proposal and concluded that – despite the exemption of the audiovisual sector – it still is a threat for live performance, which continues to fall within the scope of the directive. The group feared that the directive would encourage the spread of “self-employed” status in the sector, without offering enough guarantees to fight fraud – namely disguised employment – and to prevent performers from falling under the scope of competition law, once they are likened by the directive to “service providers”. EuroFIA is strongly opposed to the identification of performers with “service providers” and believes that live entertainment should also be excluded from the scope of the new directive.

The group equally discussed the revised “Television without Frontiers” directive, now called the “Audiovisual Media Services” directive. The draft directive fails to extend to non-linear, on-demand operators clear obligations fostering the production and distribution of European and independent works. It also waters down regulation on advertisement and legalises product placement. EuroFIA supports the commitment of the European Commission to fight fraudulent relocation of on-demand audiovisual service providers, but is concerned about the relaxation of advertising rules and by the many questions that still remain unanswered about “product placement”. Most of all, however, the group criticised the weariness with which the directive is addressing the issue of EU content in the non-linear world. As an increasing amount of creative works is now channelled on-demand to the viewers, the lack of positive regulations to make new content providers in the EU support the cultural diversity of the 25 member States is not satisfactory.

EuroFIA also discussed the future phasing out of private copying levies in Europe. The group considers that such step will deprive performers of a significant source of income, particularly unacceptable as most of them must transfer all their rights to the producers and have therefore little more than the original fee to live on, including between one engagement and the other, when they are effectively unemployed. The European group of FIA believes that technological protection measures and digital rights management systems cannot and should not replace a remuneration right enshrined in the copyright laws of a majority of EU Member states.

The group has further reported on its sustained work on the status of the artist, with special emphasis on “self-employment” and on the criteria to make out disguised employment. This work is all the more necessary nowadays, in the context of the forthcoming Green Paper on EU Labour Law, an initiative of the European Commission, an open consultation on new forms of employment, atypical work and the relationship between flexibility and security.

The group also discussed gender equality and the mobility of performers, two issues on which additional work will be undertaken in the near future, building on the EU agendas - the 2006 “European year of workers’ mobility” and the 2007 “ European Year of Equal opportunities for all”. The next EuroFIA meeting will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 24-25 November 2006.

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