Copy, sign and send on if you agree. gwen@aophoto.co.uk

To follow is a letter which is be sent to the European Commission from the International Federation of Journalists and in which we would like include as many creators signatures as possible:

“An Open Letter to the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Europe”

“Having regard to the spread of digital technology and to the increasing globalisation in the information society, we, the undersigned organisations representing creators in all the media throughout Europe, urge the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Europe to implement in every sphere of your activity the spirit and the letter of Article 151.4 of the Amsterdam Treaty , requiring an awareness of and support for the intellectual and cultural wealth of the European Union. Such, we believe, can only be achieved by a recognition of the fundamental role that creators play in the media industries, which now provide 6% of European GDP and employment for millions throughout the Member States in bringing the fruit of their skills and imagination before the public.

The development of intellectual property legislation in the European Union has contributed exceptionally to the promotion of innovation, diversity and creativity. Intellectual property protection for all creative talent in the media and the entertainment sector therefore needs to be fully acknowledged as an essential guarantee for the quality of the cultural industry.

Today the diverse and valuable expression of the European culture suffers under the threat of corporate homogenisation and by the widespread misuse of new technology. Business interests tend to give priority to profitability over cultural considerations and often seem to look out for markets in countries with the lowest level of protection of creators’ intellectual property rights. This has been and still frequently is the case in neighbouring countries, many of whom are now about to join the European Union.

Creators are always the weaker bargaining party and it is essential that they are able to decide for themselves how their work may be used and by whom.

Our European lawmakers have to ensure that all creators receive an equitable share of the profits that others make by exploiting their works. Only by continuing to support creators in their struggle to promote creative diversity and to demand the respect of their moral and economic rights can you truly ensure freedom of creation and of expression. This is the only way to guarantee a genuine choice for the consumer and a future to the enduring European contribution to global culture.

We therefore urge you to support the European intellectual and cultural identity, by resisting any attempt to weaken or diminish the intellectual property protection of the works of all creators. Brussels, 10th February 2004”

The Amsterdam treaty referred to was signed in 1999 and refers to the European Community , the article referred to (151.4) states:

“The Community shall take cultural aspects into account in its action under other provisions of this Treaty, in particular in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures.”

If you are happy for your signature to be attached to this letter please-mail me directly with your consent.

Regards

Gwen

Gwen Thomas

Executive Director

Business & Legal Affairs

The Association of Photographers Ltd

81 Leonard Street

London EC2A 4QS

T: +44 (0)20 7739 6669 F: +44 (0)20 7739 8707

gwen@aophoto.co.uk

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