Magazine article Screen International

Oettinger under Fire over Copyright Proposals

Magazine article Screen International

Oettinger under Fire over Copyright Proposals

Article excerpt

EXCLUSIVE: European Commissioner receives criticism from major UK, German and French players as well as European producers associations.

European Commissioner Günther Oettinger has come under fire for his copyright proposals from key industry players from France, the UK and Germany.

In the letter sent to Oettinger and leaked to Screen, Metropolitan Filmexport CEO Victor Hadida, Constantin Film Chairman Martin Moszkowicz and Vue Entertainment International CEO Tim Richards began by underlining "the need for evidence-based policy making when it comes to developing the Commission's strategy for cinema and copyright."

They pointed out that the "vast majority" of the EU-supported films screening in the Berlinale's Competition last month were financed through territorial pre-sales agreements with local distributors.

"Without the ability to adjust the release pattern and the price for films to local market demand - commercial practices that are very common in a range of digital industries - smaller and more fragile works would be marginalised," they observed

"We would therefore like to encourage you and your service to have more trust in the business acumen and the innovation capacity of our sector to decide how films should best be released across Europe to benefit our consumers. European copyright law enables us to take these informed decisions. It is fit for purpose and flexible enough to adapt to technological change," they declared.

They also suggested that the Commission should refocus on "issues that could truly help our sector to become even more competitive, diverse and innovative"

These included concentrating "efforts to reduce profits from commercial-scale infringements on the Internet through the Follow the Money Initiative" as well as to promote responsible and fair media consumption online and raise awareness of the positive contributions of copyright amongst younger consumers.

The "non-exhaustive list of ideas" as food for thought for the Commissioner was rounded off with the comment that it would be a welcome development "if new stakeholders of the highly interdependent European film ecosystem, including Google, Netflix, Amazon and iTunes, were to become participants in, rather than only beneficiaries of, European cinema. Similar to broadcasters and cinema operators, these international platform providers should contribute to national film funds if they create revenues on the basis of selling theatrically released films. …

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