The core policy goal of FSE has been to facilitate and encourage more extensive collective bargaining by screenwriters’ guilds and unions throughout Europe.
The establishment of minimum terms and conditions of employment – complete with minimum rates of remuneration – by Collective Bargaining with organisations of independent producers and with broadcasters, has the potential to change the inequitable and inefficient system of individual negotiation and consequent exploitation of the work of screenwriters.
Both at the development stage – when resources are often limited – and in negotiations for purchase of rights at the production stage, individual screenwriters are in an impossibly weak bargaining position with their contractual counterparts.
The role of national and regional Film Institutes and European programmes – which fund producers for film project development costs – is important in this respect.
This weak bargaining position of creators was recognised by the European Commission in its initial studies and in its impact assessment, leading it to propose a series of changes to the contractual provision of authors as a key component of the Copyright Directive.
Based on experience in Germany, the Copyright Directive now also suggests that the proposed changes to creators’ contracts might best be managed by Collective Bargaining.
Facilitating such bargaining, both at EU level and at national and regional level, will be the key policy priority of FSE over the next years.
A problematic issue for creators’ organisations intending to collectively bargain is the clash between collective bargaining and competition law.
Screenwriters are overwhelmingly freelance and in some jurisdictions in the European Union would be considered to be undertakings for the purpose of Competition law. Consequently, their collective bargaining can be misconstrued as price fixing and outlawed by Competition law.
This has led to action being taken by Competition Authorities in three separate member states – Netherlands, Spain and Ireland – in the last decade or so. In each of these member states, new legislation has since been introduced to try to allow collective bargaining by creators, suggesting a wide recognition that facilitating collective bargaining by creators is more socially useful than the application of a narrow and rigid interpretation of Competition principles in a way that brings those principles into disrepute.
Other member states (United Kingdom and Germany, for instance) either tolerate or formally legislate for collective bargaining by creators.
The matter has now been directly addressed by the new Copyright Directive, which explicitly promotes collective bargaining as a possible solution to the need for transparency and for the application of proportionate remuneration.
This policy issue, long a concern of the FSE, will now be brought more precisely into focus by the implementation of the Copyright Directive at national level.
German screenwriter Carolin Otto, elected new FSE president at the 18th annual general assembly of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe in Amsterdam on 11 October 2019, will focus her mandate on the Implementation of the Copyright Directive.
FSE member guild representing screenwriters in Italy, WGI-Writers Guild Italia, denounces the deterioration of contractual conditions in a press release published on 25 November.
A short video to explain why the so-called “Transparency Triangle” of the Copyright Directive opens up opportunities for collective action for audiovisual creators.
A workshop for European Directors and screenwriters’ guilds on Negotiating the Implementation of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital single Market: Transposition in National Law and Collective Bargaining Opportunities.
FSE member guilds join IAWG in support of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) dispute with talent agencies.
FERA, FSE and SAA welcome the European Parliament’s final vote on the Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market. This is a great achievement for European authors!
The Copyright Directive is a concrete opportunity to empower a struggling European audiovisual authors’ community. Participants of the workshop discussed opportunities and challenges faced by AV authors in getting fair value for the exploitation of their work.
FERA, FSE and UNI MEI organise a series of workshop to foster cooperation among European audiovisual authors’ guilds and unions on contracts, fair remuneration and collective bargaining.
More than 40 screenwriters and directors gathered in Brussels in May 2018 for the first of a series of three workshops on collective bargaining for authors organisations. A FERA/FSE/UNI MEI project.
European Film and TV Screenwriters and Directors : Their Earnings and Working Life.
Preliminary results from the first ever, comprehensive, Europe-wide research aimed at mapping out the economic and social situation of European audio-visual authors.