Archive for 2015

WGI & SDGI Welcome Irish Film Board Statement on Gender Equality

22nd December 2015 by Maura McHugh

The Writers Guild of Ireland and the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland welcome today’s statement by the Irish Film Board on gender equality.

We congratulate the Board on its commitment to achieving 50/50 gender parity for writers and directors in feature film production within three years.

We have been pressing the Board on this important issue for a number of years. Recently the Equality Action Committee of the two guilds has been involved in fruitful discussions with the Film Board and we would like to thank Dr Annie Doona, acting Chair of the Board, in particular.

We look forward to working with the Board to measure progress towards the goal of parity, and to the introduction of additional measures, if necessary, to guarantee achievement of gender equality in the allocation of public funds for film production in Ireland.

Screen Directors Guild of Ireland
Birch Hamilton, Executive Director – birch (at) sdgi.ie
Writers Guild of Ireland
David Kavanagh, Executive Officer – david.kavanagh (at) script.ie

Members of the Equality Action Committee
Liz Gill, Dr Susan Liddy, Lauren Mackenzie, Marian Quinn

New EU Copyright Proposal

10th December 2015 by Maura McHugh

In relation to its Digital Single Market strategy, the European Commission delivered today a proposal to allow Europeans to travel with their online content and an action plan to modernise EU copyright rules.

At present, Europeans travelling within the EU may be cut off from online services providing films, sports broadcasts, music, e-books or games that they have paid for in their home country. Today’s proposed Regulation on the cross-border portability of online content services addresses these restrictions in order to allow EU residents to travel with the digital content they have purchased or subscribed to at home. Cross-border portability, a new EU right for consumers, is expected to be a reality in 2017, the same year as the end of roaming charges in the EU (press release). Since it is a proposal for a Regulation, once adopted it will be directly applicable in all 28 EU Member States.

In addition, the Commission today outlines its vision of a modern EU copyright framework. This “political preview” will be translated into legislative proposals and policy initiatives in the next six months, taking into account all inputs from several public consultations.

The SAA, FERA, and FSE have broadly welcomed the European Commission’s commitment to go beyond political declarations and take action on authors’ remuneration.

They said:

In addition to action on authors’ remuneration, the Commission’s communication Towards a modern, more European copyright framework rightly identifies other areas where it can make a difference:

  • Effective enforcement: tackling commercial-scale piracy, which discourages new businesses based on the online exploitation of protected works that are essential to the development of the European online content market;
  • Fostering accessibility, availability and circulation of European works through a range of measures using the review of the Satellite and Cable Directive, the Creative Europe programme and, although not mentioned in the Communication, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive review.

Furthermore, the Commission’s communication shows that copyright and authors’ rights are certainly not broken but can be adapted in specific areas to cope with the challenges of the online environment. SAA, FERA and FSE welcome the fact that the Commission does not directly question the territoriality principle and recognizes the flexibility of copyright and authors’ rights to adapt to any market structure and business model, whether territorial or pan-European.

However, some measures could still inadvertently question the territoriality principle and need to be reconsidered. While we can support portability of subscription-based online content services, poor drafting that would not limit the portability in time could allow cross-border access through the back door. The same applies to a unified copyright title, considered as the long-term goal by the Commission, and any review of the Satellite and Cable Directive that seeks to extend the country of origin mechanism of direct satellite broadcasting to online transmissions.

In addition, cross-border access still seems to be mistaken for the silver bullet to enhance accessibility of European works. While FERA, FSE and SAA support the objective of improved circulation of European works, we consider that only active promotion which brings European works to European citizens’ direct environment will make a difference in a highly competitive market dominated by Hollywood productions.

Finally, we are surprised by the inclusion of private copying levies in the communication and the negative approach. This sits in stark contrast to the European Parliament’s 2014 resolution which underlined the continued relevance of the system to the digital age and its importance to Europe’s creators. It also seems to contradict the Commission’s insistence that authors’ remuneration is one of its priorities. The levy system is a virtuous cycle, which provides freedom to copy for consumers, a contribution from manufacturers and importers who sell copy-making devices and fair compensation for creators.

Barbara Hayes, Chair of the SAA board of directors said:
“Action on authors’ remuneration is very much linked to the fostering of a sustainable online marketplace for European works by enabling screenwriters and directors to receive continued royalties for previous works while working on the development of future projects.”

Cécile Despringre, Executive Director of the SAA added:
“We do not understand the Commission’s long-term vision of a unified copyright title as if it was in its DNA to harmonise everything. This simplistic and bureaucratic vision is in clear contradiction with the EU’s political motto “United in diversity” which acknowledges exactly what the EU is about.”

Pauline Durand-Vialle, CEO of FERA said:
“Any actual improvement of authors’ remuneration will require a thorough approach by the Commission based on improved contractual practices as well as increased collective bargaining and collective management of rights”

Here are some responses from members of Creativity Works!:

David Kavanagh, Executive Officer, Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, said:
“Authors are at the roots of the creative industries’ value chain. We are hopeful that the European Commission will promote a legal environment with fair remuneration of all right holders safeguarding creativity and ensuring the continued investments which are vital to Europe’s economy.”

Anne Bergman, Director of the Federation of European Publishers, said:
“Exceptions to copyright need to be just that – exceptions, not the rule. It’s a positive sign that the Commission says it will take market specificities and existing practices into account regarding exceptions to copyright. The current system enables respect for cultural and national diversity, flexibility and an appropriate degree of EU harmonization and has led to more creative works being available than ever before. Licences can and are already addressing many issues. Any new exception would therefore have to be justified by very strong evidence of market failure, and consider the incentives for investments by writers, publishers and booksellers in order to ensure the creation, publishing and distribution of new books.”

Festive Lucky Dozen

27th November 2015 by Maura McHugh

The WGI invites all members to a Special Festive Social at our office, where you will be able to chat with your fellow writers while partaking of wine, mince pies, and other sweet treats.

It’s a special Lucky Dozen because we are inviting more than a dozenCome One, Come All!

The holiday fun takes place from 7pm – 9pm on Thursday, 17 December at our office in Arthouse, (3rd Floor), Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

WGI members should RSVP to info (a) script.ie by 16 December, with ‘Christmas Lucky Dozen’ in the subject line.

Happy Holidays!

New Members Night

26th November 2015 by Maura McHugh

New Members of the WGI are invited to a meeting where we will discuss the work of the Guild and answer any questions you might have, including but not limited to: your membership of the Guild, writing for the screen, stage, and radio in Ireland, what to expect from writing contracts, and how copyright works.

Some of you have already attended an earlier New Members meeting this year, in which case there is no need to respond. If you have not yet attended a New Members meeting however, we would encourage you to come along and find out what the Guild does and how it can benefit you.

The meeting will take place at 6pm on Thursday, 17 December at the WGI’s office in Arthouse (3rd Floor), Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

If you wish to attend please RSVP to info (at) script.ie by Wednesday 16 December with ‘New Members Meeting’ in the subject line.

The Graft of the Craft

24th November 2015 by Maura McHugh

How Can Irish Scriptwriters Make a Living?

The WGI, in association with Screen Training Ireland, is organising a free one-day seminar on ‘The Graft of the Craft: How Can Irish Scriptwriters Make a Living?’.

It will take place from 10.00am – 12.30pm on Friday, 11 December, 2015, at 2nd Floor, Arthouse, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

Participant Profile

This seminar is for scriptwriters who are currently writing for the Irish industry or who have done so in the past, but who would have primarily written for one sector to date, and would like to broaden their scope.

Course Profile

This seminar will consist of a panel of three writers who have extensive experience writing for more than one sector in the Irish industry. Between them they have written many successful stage plays, television drama series, radio plays, feature films and web series.

The panel will address the overall question as to whether Irish scriptwriters can make a living writing scripts for the Irish industry. Within this topic, they will give advice on how best to work across multiple sectors; whether multi-sector writing beats specialisation in one sector; whether different sectors demand different skill sets and how to actually pay the bills while you’re doing all of this!

The panel will share their experience and advice on these issues and will answer participants’ questions throughout.

Writers’ Panel

Gary Duggan is a playwright and screenwriter. He co-wrote RTE’s very successful series Amber, along with numerous stage plays including Monged, Shibari, Trans-Euro Express and Neuropolis. He writes regularly on Fair City and has also written radio drama and web series including Storyland.

Lauren Mackenzie has written extensively for television and film and is known for her writing on many successful Irish TV drama series such as Pure Mule, Fair City, Bachelors Walk, Deception, Na Cloigne and The Clinic. Her horror feature film The Daisy Chain starred Samantha Morton and she is currently writing for TV3’s Red Rock.

Christian O’Reilly is a playwright, screenwriter and radio writer. His plays include Is This About Sex? , Chapatti and It Just Came Out.  As well as having penned the acclaimed feature film Inside I’m Dancing, he has also written extensively for Irish and British television, including On Home Ground, Deception, Red Rock, Doctors, Holby City and Eastenders.

Chair/Moderator: David Kavanagh, CEO of the Writers’ Guild of Ireland

Application

Please apply online at the www.screentrainingireland.ie web site.

Space is limited so booking is essential.

For further details contact the Writers’ Guild of Ireland at info@script.ie; ph: (01) 670 9970.