November 28, 2020

Esquerra Republicana gets involved with an amendment that endangers Catalan cinema | Culture

Esquerra Republicana gets involved with an amendment that endangers Catalan cinema | Culture



After passing through the Congress of Deputies, the new life of the Intellectual Property Law has reached the Senate before returning to Congress for final approval. Last Friday the senators presented the amendments to the work that the deputies had done before. Among the proposals of the groups to modify the rule, Esquerra Republicana de Cataluña (ERC) has defended until the last moment something that no group in Congress, or even his own, had raised as a possibility: the death of reciprocity in rights of author with third countries.

This figure defends and ensures the control of the use of the works of the holders of the Spanish State in Spain and abroad (by virtue of reciprocity agreements that they sign with foreign management entities). What ERC proposed is to withdraw the copyright to creators whose countries do not guarantee "a right equivalent to Spanish authors".

Free movies

They call it "the principle of material equality in relations with non-EU states". This measure proposed last Friday ERC would affect, above all, the US productions and, what is more alarming, European, Spanish and Catalan films. The rebound is easy to imagine and that's why it has never been considered: the measure would free the television channels from paying royalties to Hollywood and, thus, would make the national product the most expensive and damaging to the benefits of the chains themselves , that they would program for free the film industry that produces and collects the most.

None of the parliamentary groups of the Senate consulted by this newspaper would be willing to vote in favor of this amendment, which "could generate a diplomatic conflict of a commercial nature with the Americans by repealing a remuneration that benefits the American creators", explain sources of the management entities to this newspaper. These entities say that "it would be more expensive to broadcast our films than the American repertoire."

The amendment starts with Senator Bernat Picornell who, in a telephone conversation with this newspaper on Tuesday afternoon, said he had "little time to work". He regretted that the deputies in Congress had had three months to create their amendments and that in the Senate it would only have been possible in a week "of bridge". "We have not finished studying the amendments approved in Congress and we have presented these amendments because we are seeing that nobody is clear about the matter. But if in the debate it is clear that reciprocity defends the rights of the authors we will withdraw the amendments, because an amendment is not a finalist. An amendment is not a proposal of intentions, it is the beginning of the debate, "explains Picornell.

Withdrawal 'in extremis'

What has surprised even the Catalan cinema itself is the reason why ERC wants to open a debate that does not interest its represented. According to this newspaper, several creators contacted the senator to show their displeasure. Picornell himself acknowledges that he was aware that he would have interpretation problems with the measure, "but it is the only way we have to discuss it." "But if it affects the Catalan authors, we will certainly withdraw it. Last week on Thursday was a bridge, on Wednesday we could hardly see it and we have gone too fast. Maybe this amendment should have gone in another line, "he added to the other side of the phone from the Senate.

Within minutes of maintaining this conversation with the ERC senator, from his cabinet they inform the journalist about WhatsApp that "after finishing talking with entities and affected parties, we have clarified some points and the conclusion is that this does not guarantee the rights of the fabric that we just want to protect ". So, five days after presenting the amendment to Article 199 and one day after the presentation and voting, they decided to withdraw the proposal that could have left Catalan cinema without a screen fee.

In the US there are exclusive rights and in Europe, remuneration rights. On the other side of the Atlantic, the rights belong to the producer, given that the unions are very strong. The producers are also syndicated, because all the components of the productions have a highly regulated wage obligation. Everything is priced by the unions and this in Europe does not exist. Here are the remuneration rights that watch over the authors and are distributed among the management entities.

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