Argentina's leading actors association have said they will pursue legal reforms to ensure actors can charge intellectual property fees from online platforms that share or stream productions in which they have performed.
That actors do not currently receive such rights is “inadmissible and unfair”, according to SAGAI, the Argentine Society for the Management of Interpretive Actors, which announced its plans at a press conference on Wednesday.
“We were mobilised as a result of the passing of the law in Europe. It hit us close to home. We want to secure that same right. We are pained to see how digital platforms reproduce the series we participated in, which generate huge incomes, and we have no benefits from the creators of that work”, said Osvaldo Santoro, SAGAI’s director general, announcing plans to lobby in Argentina for a law similar to the one passed in March by the European Commission.
SAGAI is mandated by law to collect and redistribute the intellectual property rights of actors and dancers. Its leaders will meet European lawmaker for the German Christian Democrats, Axel Voss, a proponent of the reform addressed by the European Commission, in 2019, they confirmed.
SAGAI took legal action against Google four years ago in Argentine courts over intellectual property abuses on Youtube, a decision which Santoro described as putting SAGAI at “the vanguard” of the fight to extend actors' intellectual property rights to digital reproduction.
“It is a unique lawsuit by actors. What is being debated is not the responsibility of a company over the content produced by third parties. We find it inadmissible and unfair that any work of fiction can be shown without restriction. This produces rights, income,” SAGAI’s lawyer and director Sebastian Bloj said.
The non profit wants digital platforms to be subject to Argentine laws surrounding the rights of authors and interpreters, who can receive up to two percent of the income generated from publicity, fees or tickets.
"It is clear that there is an appropriation of intellectual property. The way of dealing with this is probably complex but we should not be afraid to raise it," SAGAI president Jorge Marrale said.
The 71-year-old televisión, film and theatre star said the internet should be “open but not free. It has nothing to do with censorship”, and demanded the State intervene in the organisation’s favour by supporting the measure.
“States must defend culture and artists. They must be conscious of the value of art and of creators (of art). The state cannot remain indifferent to this. When rights fees are lost, culture is degraded and it weighs on the motivation of creators”, he added.