Dear colleagues,

You may have recently read in the press about Marzieh Vafamehr.

Marzieh is an actress in her own country, Iran. She was sentenced to one year in jail and 90 lashes for playing in a feature film the role of an young actress living in Teheran whose show is banned by authorities and who, in order to continue to express herself artistically, is condemned to live an underground existence. The film clearly denounces the hurdles and humiliation that artists regularly have to face in Iran to express their opinion against the establishment. We understand that many in Iran watched the film through informal channels as the government had not authorised its screening.

The film, an Australian-Iranian coproduction, was strongly criticized by the conservative press and led to imprisonment of Marzieh Vafamehr and recently to this sentence, which she is determined to appeal.

We are trying to collect as many signatures as possible for a petition to Mr. Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We would be grateful if you could encourage your members to join this petition, thus supporting this campaign for freedom of expression and human rights.

The petition is available on line at: http://www.equityfoundation.org.au/newsbites/actors-equity-calls-for-the-release-of-marzieh-vafamehr.html

We thank you in advance for your help and support.

European Directive extending performers’ rights adopted by European Council

After several years of uncertainty and series of fresh developments, the European Directive extending the term of protection for performers’ rights in respect to sound recordings has finally just been adopted by the European Council on Monday 12 September 2011.

Against an international backdrop which is largely unfavourable to copyright issues, this initiative has, for several years, had to face often radical opposition from various lobbies, often underlain by arguments that were either inconsistent or simply in bad faith. FIM’s lobbying efforts also encountered resistance from the industry when it came to ensuring that the text really benefitted musicians and not just record producers.

The text adopted represents an historic step forward. It does not just extend the term of protection of neighbouring rights from 50 to 70 years but also includes provisions aimed at correcting imbalances affecting contractual relationships between performers and producers. From this point of view, the text is firmly innovative and, may, we hope, provide a basis for further headway.

All FIM European members are invited to get closely involved in the process of transposing the directive into national legislations. Trade unions from other regions are also encouraged to draw inspiration from the text’s most favourable provisions in order to continue to make worldwide headway where musicians’ rights are concerned.

IAEA recalls the importance of online rights for creative workers

Conference on “Creative industries: Innovation and Growth” – Brussels, April 20th, 2011

Organised by Confrontations and CSPH-International, this conference focused on the crucial importance of Intellectual property for all industries based on creation and innovation. The IAEA welcomed the contribution of Commissioner Michel Barnier (Internal Market) who reiterated the commitment of the Commission to tackle the issue of counterfeiting and piracy, recalling their negative impact on jobs. Mr. Barnier also insisted on the need to increase the online legal offer and involve ISPs, while avoiding unnecessary criminalisation of citizens.

IAEA Secretary, Benoît Machuel, expressed the support of the Alliance to the recently adopted Gallo report. He also stated that IAEA would welcome amendments to the Enforcement directive currently under review, that would allow for effective measures directed at those who make of copyright infringement their business, thus promoting illegal behaviours and consciously damaging the jobs and welfare of all those who create and perform. The Commission should ensure that effective, speedy and costless remedies are made available in all Member States for this purpose. “It is not acceptable that offshore platforms based in no-law zones establish their commercial success and wealth on deliberate illicit appropriation of protected contents, while creative workers hardly make a living from their craft”, he said.

He also stressed that most artists were not getting a fair share of the revenues generated by the exploitation of their works and performances. “This is primarily a matter for social dialogue and collective bargaining, which must be encouraged and facilitated. This can also be a matter for the legislator, should such social dialogue remain unsuccessful.”

“The artistic and social dimensions of cultural contents must be systematically taken into account when decisions impacting the creative chain are being discussed and considered, so as to make sure that the issue of the remuneration of creative workers is properly addressed”, he added.

Download the press release in pdf