Campaign Activity

Equity UK joins Irish Equity in calling for protection of film workers intellectual property rights

Today we join our sister union Irish Equity in sharing a statement calling for the protection of film workers' intellectual property rights in Ireland.

The statement follows an online discussion hosted by Irish Equity on 11th January, 'Contracts, Your Rights and the EU Copyright Directive', which focused on how greater protection can be secured for the intellectual property rights of film workers in Ireland.

Participants, including representatives of Irish and UK Equity, the International Federation of Actors and the Writers and Screen Directors Guilds of Ireland, said:

"Together these organisations represent the copyright holders whose creative talents underpin Ireland's burgeoning audio-visual sector. They came together for this online event because the rights of all performers, writers, composers, and directors are being systematically undermined by the buyout contracts issued by a number Irish producers and production companies.

"These contracts are fundamentally incompatible with the copyright protections enshrined in the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 and in the EU Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive, as they are expressly conceived to strip artists of their fundamental property rights as enshrined in legislation, reduce the potential earnings of these actors, writers, composers, and directors, and make a mockery of the extraordinary taxpayer investment in the audio-visual sector. The rights of these creative workers, including the right to equitable, proportionate and appropriate remuneration for the ongoing financial life of a production, are protected in law and are systematically and continually flaunted.

"We call on the government to ensure that the protections of the EU Copyright Directive as transposed into Irish law be fully and meaningfully implemented, with immediate effect. Pursuant to this we demand that any and all applications for public funding to the audio-visual sector, be it through section 481 or any agency, be accompanied by a written commitment that all contracts for creatives engaged comply fully with the legislation, including copyright rules, in both word and intent. This must be a mandatory requirement for any and all companies operating in the audio-visual sector in receipt of taxpayer funding."

John Barclay, Equity UK’s Assistant General Secretary, said:

My colleagues and I, including our Northern Ireland Official Alice Adams Lemon, welcome this initiative from Irish Equity and other creative Unions and Guilds across the island of Ireland to work together to work together to remove the iniquitous contracts issued on productions in the Republic of Ireland. It is unacceptable that the employers in receipt of public money are seeking to remove copyright protections contained within the 2000 Act and the Copyright Directive.

Only through the Unions and Guilds across the island of Ireland working together can professional creatives hope to secure fair pay and contractual protections through collective bargaining of the intellectual property rights.

Among those who also addressed the meeting were Irish Equity President, Gerry O’Brien; International Federation of Actors General Secretary, Dominick Luquer; Writers Guild of Ireland Director, Hugh Farley and Screen Directors Guild of Ireland General Secretary, Birch Hamilton.

For further information on our joint campaign, please contact:

Alice Adams Lemon
Equity Official, Northern Ireland 
07936 045081

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