Creators Warn of European “Cultural Decay” Unless Brussels Gives Priority to Promotion of Rights

Groups representing writers, musicians, actors and artists today called for stronger rights protection and new laws to defend Europe’s cultural heritage. “There is a dangerous complacency among policymakers at national and regional level that threatens cultural decay in Europe unless urgent action is taken to promote creators’ rights,” said the Creators’ Forum, a European network of authors and artists, at a press conference in Brussels.


Creators’ groups are angry that market forces, driven by the imperatives of profitability, are the dominant force in shaping copyright and intellectual property protection policy. They say this will have drastic consequences for cultural development and could severely jeopardise the fabric of diversity in an enlarged European Union.


“Cultural values are at the heart of the European project, yet even in the economic terms that dominate Brussels policymaking there is a strong case for the promotion of creators’ rights that is being ignored.”


Creators say their work, which is intrinsically innovative and forms a vibrant and competitive element of trade relations with a workforce of millions, contributes to around 6 per cent of the European economy and that figure is set to increase dramatically with the expansion of the information and media sector thanks to new technological developments.


“Creators must receive a fair remuneration for their works and they need strong moral rights,” said the Forum, which organised a conference on Authors Rights in the EU and Globalisation yesterday.


“It is unconscionable that this valuable and precious segment of European society and work is being marginalised in favour of business interests,” says the Forum.


“We need to end the insidious work-for-hire system that denies authors and artists control over how their work is used, we need new rights management systems that are secure, transparent and fair, we need to protect freelances and we need new regulations to complement EU directives on copyright by recognising moral rights.”


The Forum has drawn up an open letter to be signed by many of Europe’s leading cultural icons that will be submitted to European Union leaders to press the case for a change of direction in favour of protection of creators’ rights.


“The battle is by no means over,” says the Forum. “European institutions must defend cultural diversity against profitability and that means acknowledging the fundamental role that creators play in the economic and cultural life of Europe.”


Further Info: Pamela Morinière: 0032 2 235 2216


The European Creators' Forum is composed of:

European Writers' Congress / EWC

European Federation of Journalists / EFJ

International Association of Art / IAA Europe

Pyramide

Fédération Internationale des Musiciens / FIM

Fédération Européenne des Réalisateurs de l'Audiovisuel / FERA

Fédération Internationale des Acteurs / FIA

Union Network International / EURO-MEI