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Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, has called on the global film community to stand united in response to a European Commission proposal that ‘could negatively impact the flourishing creative diversity and artistic expression in Europe’s film industries.’
“While we celebrate this exciting new collaborative world, we must also safeguard the rich diversity that gave it life. A diversity endangered by some of the European Commission’s proposals for the Digital Single Market,” said Dodd. “While the stated goals of these proposals are laudable – offering greater choice to European consumers and strengthening cultural diversity – in reality, these ideas could actually cause great harm to Europe’s film industries and its consumers.”
Senator Dodd cited an independent study compiled by Oxera and Oliver & Ohlbaum. The report found that rather than improving consumer choice, eliminating the practice of territorial licensing would lead to an enormous cost to audiences and harm European creative economy. The results would threaten cultural diversity both in production and distribution, and thus, reduce the volume and quality of original content offered in the EU. Given the high-risk nature of the business, the dismantling of the financial underpinnings of filmmaking has the potential to be especially harmful. According to The British Film Institute, only about six per cent of independent films produced between 2003 and 2011 ended up making a profit.
“Territorial licensing and exclusivity agreements are part of what gives investors the confidence to take a chance on a production. Taking away territoriality and exclusivity agreements means less investment and, in turn, far fewer productions,” Dodd continued. “The European Union is made up of 28 different nations with different cultures, different languages, and different tastes. Forcing every film to be marketed and released the same way everywhere, at the same time, is a recipe for failure,” he warned.