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European Commission copyright consultation/Authors and performers

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Private copying and reprography European Commission copyright consultation
Fair remuneration of authors and performers
Respect for rights

The European Commission is considering modernizing European copyright laws. To get feedback and input on this modernization, the Commission has published a series of questions, and is looking to interested stakeholders (like our community) to answer them. This is a vital opportunity to participate in a dialogue that could have a major impact on copyright laws and the future of the free knowledge movement. More background is available from the European Commission.

We would like to prepare a draft response here, as a collaborative experiment. If we wish to respond, it will need to be finalized before the end of January 2014 (see the proposed timeline).

Welcome to the discussion! Please help by answering the questions below.

Fair remuneration of authors and performers[edit]

The EU copyright acquis recognises for authors and performers a number of exclusive rights and, in the case of performers whose performances are fixed in phonograms, remuneration rights. There are few provisions in the EU copyright law governing the transfer of rights from authors or performers to producers[1] or determining who the owner of the rights is when the work or other subject matter is created in the context of an employment contract[2]. This is an area that has been traditionally left for Member States to regulate and there are significant differences in regulatory approaches. Substantial differences also exist between different sectors of the creative industries.

Concerns continue to be raised that authors and performers are not adequately remunerated, in particular but not solely, as regards online exploitation. Many consider that the economic benefit of new forms of exploitation is not being fairly shared along the whole value chain. Another commonly raised issue concerns contractual practices, negotiation mechanisms, presumptions of transfer of rights, buy-out clauses and the lack of possibility to terminate contracts. Some stakeholders are of the opinion that rules at national level do not suffice to improve their situation and that action at EU level is necessary.

Question 72[edit]

72) [In particular if you are an author/performer:] What is the best mechanism (or combination of mechanisms) to ensure that you receive an adequate remuneration for the exploitation of your works and performances?


[Open question]

  • Abolishing expensive super-structures such as the obligatory copyright collection societies. --Nemo bis
  • Creators should hire publishers to promote and distribute their works. In other words, publishers should promote and distribute works on behalf of the creators. Publishers should never be copyright holders. Also, collective societies should never be monopolistic. Collective societies should have democratic authorities and fair money distribution. Membership should be opt-in, and creators should be allowed to choose which works should be managed by the collecting society, and which licence should apply to each work. --NaBUru38 (talk) 15:06, 11 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • ...

Proposed Foundation answer[edit]

Based on the comments above and the Creativity4Copyright suggestions, I propose the following answer for the official Foundation response: -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 01:04, 7 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Wikimedia community members, like many other creators, such as academics, are primarily motivated by things other than money. Many other creators now use their creative works to support alternative revenue channels, like live performances, rather than expecting to be paid for every use of every work. And copyright's purpose is not remuneration - remuneration is only a secondary effect of the protection of artist's interests, which are increasingly non-monetary.
So the Wikimedia community encourages the EU to undertake a thorough analysis of the motives of creators - economic and otherwise - and reform the remuneration system so that, instead of aiming at maximum financial efficiency, it considers and balances the many different motives of creators and the public.
It seems likely to our community that a more comprehensive analysis of this sort would involve a variety of reforms that return power to creators and away from the copyright industry, including reform or abolition of collection societies, contractual protections for individual creators when interacting with publishers, and greater protection for individuals who use the public domain to create materials for non-monetary reasons.

Question 73[edit]

73) Is there a need to act at the EU level (for instance to prohibit certain clauses in contracts)?



  • Your name here

No opinion[edit]

  • Your name here


Instructions: If yes or no, please explain.

  • Abusive clauses should be banned. Moreover, copyright transfer should be abolished. Publishers should offer promoting and distribution services, not be work buyers. --NaBUru38 (talk) 15:08, 11 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
    • I didn't include this in the main answer because I think it is more effective for us to focus on new-style individual creators (like us). But it is probably a good idea to submit this separately. -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 00:08, 7 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
      • It will probably be submitted by WMIT. I'm proposing this text: We refer to the answers by Copyright for Creativity and Wikimedia Foundation. In addition, we offer an example of a clause for which to investigate EU-wide repeal, that is the complete surrender of copyright by an author in favour of another entity, such as a publisher: copyright is the right for authors to be financially able to enrich the society with their work (via copyright licenses granted in return of some requirements), not a physical object to be sold and resold at increasing prices. Clauses in contrast with the SPARC Author Addendum could be deemed void in EU; on the other hand, an author must be able to completely waive undesired copyrights in favour of the general public, as with the CC0 Public Domain Dedication.
  • ...

Proposed Foundation answer[edit]

Based on the Creativity4Copyright suggestions, I propose the following answer for the official Foundation response: -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 01:04, 7 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Since the increased ease of sharing and publishing has greatly increased the number and reach of amateur creators who build on the work of others, there is a need to prohibit contractual clauses that prevent users from taking advantage of the exceptions provided in legislation implementing the Copyright Directive. It is also necessary to prohibit using technical restriction measures aimed at the same effect.

Question 74[edit]

74) If you consider that the current rules are not effective, what would you suggest to address the shortcomings you identify?


[Open question]

  • ...

Proposed Foundation answer[edit]

Based on the Creativity4Copyright suggestions, I propose the following answer for the official Foundation response: -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 01:04, 7 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

For the Wikimedia community, the problems with the current rules often stem from the assumption that every use of work should be remunerated in order to satisfy creators' interests, when many modern creators either do not seek financial remuneration at all, seek remuneration from other sources, or seek remuneration only from specific uses rather than every use. As a result, we suggest a thorough rethinking of the assumptions behind modern remuneration systems before any legislative action is undertaken - particularly any that would further empower existing members of the copyright industry, who incorrectly assume that without payments to middlemen all creativity would cease.


  1. See e.g. Directive 92/100/EEC, Art.2(4)-(7).
  2. See e.g. Art. 2.3. of Directive 2009/24/EC, Art. 4 of Directive 96/9/EC.