The Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society (ASDACS) and the Australian Directors Guild (ADG) launched a “fair remuneration for directors” campaign that aimed to grant Australian directors an inalienable right of remuneration for the ongoing exploitation of their films.
To support this, Writers & Directors Worldwide wished to pledge its support for authors in this region via an international press release. We identified key messages and interviewed key stakeholders to produce a document that was widely shared around the world.
About the Client
Writers & Directors Worldwide is an international not-for-profit organisation that works to protect the rights of writers and directors working in the audiovisual, literary and dramatic repertoires.
Its history stretches back almost 50 years and today, it is active in all regions of the world to facilitate the sharing of ideas, information and best practice to defend authors’ rights in these important artistic repertoires. The organisation acts as an advisory body to the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers and is also an official observer to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights.
ASDACS and ADG Propose the Addition of an “Inalienable Right of Remuneration” to Australian Copyright Law with the Backing of Writers & Directors Worldwide
The Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society (ASDACS) and the Australian Directors Guild (ADG) have called upon the support of the international not-for-profit organisation Writers & Directors Worldwide in their fight for the fair remuneration of Australian screen directors. Following today’s meeting in Belgium, the three organisations will begin working together to learn from successes in other regions and drive an international awareness campaign to improve the understanding of the independent creators’ plight.
This announcement comes as the ASDACS and ADG launch their “fair remuneration for directors” campaign that aims to grant Australian directors an inalienable right of remuneration for the ongoing exploitation of their films.
“Australian directors make a vital contribution to culture, diversity and economic growth with film adding $AU5.8 billion (€4.1bn) to the country’s GDP in 2013,“ said Sabiene Heindl, Director of Corporate Affairs/Legal for ASDACS and the campaign’s leader. “Yet for close to 50 years, these creators have been denied any meaningful ‘ownership’ of their works and as a result, the majority still earn less than the minimum wage.”
This is clearly a severe issue for directors today and has a significant impact on the next generation of talented Australian directors. Applying the lessons learned from similar challenges faced overseas is invaluable in helping to urgently address this.
“It’s a global issue but we already have the solution in the effective protection of authors’ rights. We just need governments to recognise and enforce them,” said Yves Nilly, screenwriter and Chair of Writers & Directors Worldwide. “The objective for all industry stakeholders must be to build a sustainable creative economy that stimulates great work, allows directors to make a living and encourages exciting new artists for the benefit of culture and for the public.”
The fair remuneration for directors’ campaign by ASDACS and ADG aims to build upon their work in 2005 that resulted in the Australian Government granting partial Retransmission Rights for directors. Whilst this was an important step, the rights are not inalienable and are mostly assigned to producers through contract and so in practice, they have proved ineffective. Despite this, opposition to directors’ copyright in the region is still entrenched both in the common law system and through years of industry practice where Australian government film agencies insisted on chain of title documents in which producers controlled all rights.
“Changing the laws won’t be easy,” said Stephen Wallace, Chair of the ASDACS. “The Australian government has been reluctant in the past to act without the consent of all parties in such matters so it’s vital that all parties understand the issues at stake. Money is flowing in from European collecting societies but the lack of Australian recognition of directors’ rights to remuneration make it difficult for local audio-visual societies like ASDACS to reciprocate. This stifles the creation of new Australian work and makes our industry unattractive to overseas creators. What we need is fairness for directors and the work they do.”