We live in a globalized world where copyright protection becomes essential in the audiovisual industry. We must fight for the copyright protection of an original creation because it is a unique concept, and demand a fair remuneration for its reproduction in the different media content distribution platforms. If we ask ourselves: at what point does an audiovisual work exhibited under support, generate rights that lead to copyright? The answer is simple: automatically.
The dramatic implementation of new technologies has exposed the growing need for an update of the legal framework, registration mechanisms, and control of audiovisual exhibitions.
In WAWA Association we had the opportunity to speak with some executives from EGEDA (Organization for the Management of Audiovisual Producers Rights), an institution that regulates and promotes the adequate and fair use of audiovisual works. We asked them their opinion about the legal framework of intellectual rights protection’s current situation in the entertainment industry, as well as the scenario we are currently experiencing in the Latin American region.
Carlos Manuel Gómez, General Director of EGEDA Mexico, thinks that the current progress of copyright protection is happening at great speed, and states the following “We went from a simple licensing model for theater and TV, to a model where the licensing options are many. Every day, producers discover more ways to monetize products. The same products that years ago used to generate very little money once they were sold, usually only through TV”.
The creation and use of mechanisms that protect and spread original audiovisual work can lead to opportunities that maximize its income. This is part of the normal process of any licensing. In this regard, Gómez adds “…This is important because it is forcing the producers to be aware of their rights. By knowing this, they can make big progress. Not only because they will learn about their collective rights with other fellow producers through management cooperatives, but also because they will reach the monetization of audiovisual works that years ago were impossible, like the retransmission by restricted television channels rights and of the public communication in commercial establishments rights. These last two types of rights have existed in the world of music since the very beginning, but only in the last few years they have come into effect throughout Latin America.”
Of course, every region deals with different legislation and the challenges that creative directors and audiovisual institutions face are very diverse.
Gabriel Salcedo, EGEDA’s Director of Legal Affairs for Latin America, explains the following “The ‘sale of copyright’ in audiovisual productions can have at least two perspectives. First, some form of transfer of the rights of those who according to most of our LATAM laws consider the ‘author’ of the audiovisual work: screenwriter, director, cartoonist of the animated work, musical composer (with the exception from Argentina, which also considers the producer as the author). Even though authorship involves highly personal aspects, the quality of an author is not subject to commercialization. But the profits are. Except in cases where certain public communication rights are considered unalienable, and therefore they are subject to remuneration rights. Honestly, whether or not these rights are unalienable to each legislation, I have never seen a case when someone, other than the author itself, claims rights to management cooperatives. Not even in audiovisual studies in America that have hired the authors through work for hire contracts, which means that the producers are in fact the owners of the economic rights that belong to the authors”.
Then Salcedo continues to add “…There is also a second perspective. For many authors, an audiovisual work is legally considered an independent and autonomous work of the contributions of each author. Meaning, that the usage rights of said audiovisual work are decided without hesitation by the legislation, without the opinion of the producers, even if these usage rights were assigned by agreement or transfer. So yes, every region deals with different legislation, but in my opinion, a deal is and will always be a deal. You have to accept and follow its rules, no matter where you are”.
Without the slightest doubt, it is evident that one of the greatest challenges faced in recent years has been educating the public about the authors’ rights to obtain remuneration for the usage of their work. Especially in Latin America, a region where almost every user thinks that intangible things should be free. At least that is what Hilda María Jiménez, EGEDA’s General Director in Ecuador, thinks. She also adds that “… from the governments in charge and their public policy, this is a pending issue in most Latin American countries. The challenge is even greater than we think. Additionally, in terms of marketing and distribution of their works, authors must continue to find better ways to reach the general public with their offer”.
We also asked Jiménez how this situation was in her region. She tells us that, “In the particular case of Ecuador, this situation becomes harder because my country is not an important market and it has many tax limitations and bureaucratic obstacles. Big platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, or HBO Max welcome little or no Ecuadorian production within their streaming offer. This is not the case in Colombia, Argentina, or Mexico. These countries not only have a wider range of productions, but they also have better economic and legal conditions that attract these platforms. Finally, the greatest challenge for authors will always be to reinvent themselves with their works to attract an increasingly demanding audience”.
EGEDA’s work is really important and intense. It is an institution that cares for the audiovisual industry, supports its productions, and fights for third parties to get paid what they deserve for their works.
Vivian Alvarado, EGEDA’s General Manager in Colombia, explains to us what the goal of this institution is. “EGEDA is a management company at the service of audiovisual producers; therefore it plays a fundamental role in the commercialization and monetization of the audiovisual producers’ rights. Through this institution, producers can obtain remuneration from places where audiovisual works are used excessively, such as hotels, hospitals, and other places open to the public, as well as from other types of users such as streaming services for television and film content by subscription”.
Another of EGEDA’s main goals is to generate concrete actions through activities that benefit the sector for the promotion of original work. EGEDA does this by supporting film festivals, organizing audiovisual exhibitions that go beyond the commercial circle, and offering training meetings. In Colombia, EGEDA supports and promotes the Macondo Awards as well as the Colombian Film Academy. These are complemented by Ibero-American activities that also support the development of the audiovisual sector, such as the Platino Xcaret Awards for Ibero-American Cinema and the Latin American Platino Awards, which bring together professionals like directors, actors, producers, musicians, technicians, associations, filming committees and specialized press.
All producers who own audiovisual works and/or who have acquired them by purchase or inheritance can join EGEDA for free, registering at the site https://www.egeda.com/