Parliament wants minimum social standards for artists and cultural workers, including streamers

Parliament wants minimum social standards for artists and cultural workers, including streamers
Photo by Fausto Sandoval on Unsplash

The European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee is calling on the Commission to establish common minimum standards for artists and cultural workers, including digital streamers.

In a resolution adopted on Monday, they’re asking for a framework that will set standards on working conditions for people in those sectors.

They’d like to see two things in a proposal: cross-border mobility programmes for young creators and innovators, and better protection for authors and performers from dominant streaming platforms.

Calling the need to improve the vulnerable situation of artists “urgent” as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought the cultural sector largely to a standstill, they want Parliament to draft an EU-wide framework on working conditions and minimum standards for all artists— streamers included.

“Artists are exposed to unfair practices by dominant digital streaming platforms, such as buy-out clauses that deprive authors of their royalties,” the committee said in a statement.

“To remedy that, MEPs want the Commission and Member States to ensure artists and cultural workers have access to collective bargaining and to strongly enforce protection for works and their creators in national copyright legislation.”

They also said that differences in national legislation regarding an artist’s legal status and cross-border recognition of it hinder collaboration and mobility.

They’re calling on Member States and the Commission to remove all barriers to cross-border mobility, revising administrative requirements on visas, taxation, and social security, if needed, in addition to the recognition of arts-based education degrees.

“With this report, we have sent a strong message to improve cross-border mobility for artists, authors, cultural creators and cultural workers,” said Monica Semedo (Renew, LU).

“It will help to give artists a better and more secure livelihood by clarifying their status and simplifying access to social security. And we will fight to solve the problems artists face today, be it on discrimination based on gender, race, origin or sexual orientation or be it political repression, which we all know is much too prominent in the EU nowadays.”

The committee says that the pandemic exposed the pre-existing labour vulnerabilities of artists and cultural workers.

In 2020, the cultural and creative sector in the EU experienced losses in turnover of over 30 percent, amounting to a cumulative loss of €199 billion – with the music and performing arts sectors experiencing losses of 75 percent and 90 percent respectively.

The arts is a field of employment characterised by intermittence, fragile livelihoods, weak or absent social security, MEPs say, adding that huge differences exist between Member States regarding support, social benefits and definitions of an artist.

“MEPs urge Member States to foster and defend artistic freedom in order to uphold the right to freedom of expression and ensure that EU citizens can freely enjoy artistic creations,” they said in a statement, urging the Commission to sanction EU countries that fail to uphold these freedoms.

The resolution from the Culture and Education Committee should face a vote by Parliament in October’s second plenary session.

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