Meeting Report: EuroFIA Tallinn

EuroFIA Event Reports News

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On the 27th to the 29th of May this year, the EuroFIA group gathered in Tallinn, Estonia, warmly welcomed by host union Eesti Näitlejate Liit (ENL) which had worked tirelessly to receive the group in a memorable setting in the centre of Tallinn’s old town. The EuroFIA group was very well represented, with delegates from almost all affiliates. In addition, we were happy to receive guests from the actors’ associations of Lithuania and Latvia, who attended as observers.

The first day of meetings was the annual meeting of EuroFIA unions with Audiovisual sector Collective Management organisations, co-organised with Aepo Artis. This meeting was a wide ranging exploration of all topical issues related to intellectual property, including: transposition of the copyright directive, including a targeted panel on appropriate and proportionate remuneration; future strategies in discussions in the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights; Artificial Intelligence and Ratification of the Beijing Treaty. There was also an inspiring final panel focussing on cooperation between unions and CMOs for better outcomes from collectively bargained and other models intended to remunerate performers for online use. Panellists reflected on the strategies for partnerships building on the strengths of unions and CMOs, how to cooperate well in practice and the benefits that such partnership delivers.

The EuroFIA group convened for a day and half of meetings. The meeting began with a tribute to Catherine Alméras, former Vice-President of FIA, who sadly passed away at the beginning of the year. The group observed a minute’s silence in her memory, reflecting on the major contribution she made to the EuroFIA over the years. The meeting was then opened by the Deputy Mayor of Tallinn with responsibility for culture Karel Oja, who reflected on the importance of Live Performance and keeping it vibrant and accessible in the wake of covid. He shared that theatre has a particular place in the hearts and cultural life of Estonians – in a country of 3 million inhabitants there are and impressive 3,3 million theatre visits a year (these figures are from 2019). The EuroFIA group also re

The group turned its attention to European policy work underway on rebuilding the sector in the wake of Covid and work being done in particular on living and working conditions of artists and cultural workers. The group received guest speaker Heidi-Marie Meissnitzer, responsible for Arts and Culture at the Austrian Permanent Representative to the EU, and co-chair of the European Open Method of Coordination Process, who shared the main findings of this important report. The report is the outcome of an extended information gathering and exchange of experiences between the 27 member states of the EU and which includes a strong and comprehensive set of recommendations, including on strengthening collective bargaining in the sector. (Since the EuroFIA meeting, the report has now been published and is available here: The status and working conditions of artists and cultural and creative professionals Report of the OMC (Open Method of Coordination) group of EU Member States’ experts).  

The meeting also included a lively panel discussion on AI and voice work, which extensively explored the rapidly emerging issues and union response. Already, companies have emerged to supply via AI the voices and the clones that can be used to replace performers already quite commonly in certain types of production. Key elements of the union strategies have included developing add-ons for audio contracts and legal advice to members on how to protect performances. The text and data mining exception is also a major issue and it comes down to moral rights. Conditions are needed and consent is key for current and future performances. Collectively bargained agreement with AI companies would be the best way to establish these, but a regulatory framework is needed. Consent, time-limited use, and use in the spirit of what was agreed upon is absolutely key.

In addition to the EuroFIA group meeting, a new ad hoc group of unions active on dubbing also held a first meeting and will continue to liaise closely. The German-speaking group of unions of the EuroFIA also met, as did the group of Central and Eastern European unions. The next meeting of the EuroFIA will be online at the end of this year. The next in person meeting of the EuroFIA group will be in Spring 2024. FIA’s Icelandic affiliate FiL would like to host the EuroFIA in Reykjavik, subject to being able to mobilise some financial support to enable them to receive the group.

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