Netherlands plans fair play
THE government of the Netherlands has introduced a Bill in the country's parliament to guarantee authors and performers - from writers to cartoonsists to photographers to actors - fair pay for use of our work.
In its current form it introduces the right of authors (and peformers) who have licensed their work to "equitable remuneration" ("billijke vergoeding"). This equitable remuneration has to be determined by the parties. If the parties fail to determine the amount of this remuneration, it will be determined by the Minister of Culture. Authors would have the right to demand that contracts are revised when the amount they've already been paid is "totally disproportionate with what the publisher has received" for use of the work. This mirrors the "windfall" provision that has existed in German law since 2002.
If the publisher or broadcaster does not "exploit" a work after a certain amount of time, the contract can be "dissolved" and all rights revert to the author.
The Minister of Justice will create a Commission - an arbitration body - to resolve disputes over contracts. Associations and trades unions, as well as individual creators, will be able to bring cases to this Commission. If the parties dispute the Commission's findings, they have three months to submit their case to a court: otherwise the Commission's settlement is definitive.
We'll be following the progress of this Bill as closely as we can.