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Institutions / Legislation - Europe

Industry Report: European Policy

The European Producers Club publishes a Code of Fair Practices for streamers

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The association outlined four golden rules, in an attempt to sensitise EU regulators and change the rules of engagement with major industry players

The European Producers Club publishes a Code of Fair Practices for streamers

The European Producers Club has published a dedicated Code of Fair Practices for streamers, concerning their commissioning content from independent producers. The code is set to change the rules of engagement with major industry players such as Netflix, Amazon and Disney, and follows the negotiations underway in many European countries. In detail, the EPC's set of rules comprises four core principles and was assembled in the hope that EU regulators will take them into account for their future course of action.

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The first principle is that fair and proportionate remuneration and economic participation — already provided for by the EU for authors, directors and other copyright or related rights owners — should be applied to independent producers as well. In particular, fair remuneration includes “reasonable producer fees, overhead fees in accordance with industry standards, and additional remuneration to be determined fairly and depending on viewing results” as well as “an adequate contingency reserve.”

The second rule focuses on producers’ contribution and their right to participate in future derivative works. It applies in the case of independent outfits which have acquired, created or co-developed an IP, and states “that underlying IP shall remain with the production company, including the rights to make sequels, prequels, remakes, and any other derivative audiovisual works based on the initial film or TV series.”

Moreover, the exploitation rights granted to the VOD service should be limited to the rights of the film or TV series that said VOD service needs in connection with the primary exploitation of the work on its platform, while allowing for the production company to authorise the reasonable, additional exploitation of the remaining or unused rights of the work (such as a theatrical release or a free TV exploitation) after a reasonable period of exclusivity. VOD services should only require the license of the rights they actually exploit. Alternatively, they should acquire those additional rights for additional fees at a fair market rate. All exploitation rights granted to a VOD service should revert to the independent production company after a reasonable period of time.

The third principle covers transparency and accountability. VOD services should provide independent producers with “regular and comprehensive information on the exploitation of the work, in particular with respect to (i) the number of overall views of the work on the VOD service, including detailed data for the key territories, as well as (ii) relevant and comprehensive information about any off-service exploitation and any revenues thus generated.”

The final recommendation of the Code of Fair Practices concerns public benefits and fiscal incentives. In particular, national benefits or subsidies, regional support funding and tax incentives aimed at national and European works in the member states should be accessed only through independent production companies. EPC adds that such support should be recognised as part of the producer’s financial contribution and allow for the production company to maintain ownership and control of exploitation rights that are of a value that is truly comparable to that contribution.

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