Frequently Asked Questions

Art 19 of the Digital Single Market EU Directive (EU 2019/790) introduced a transparency obligation. It requires the contractual partners of authors of copyrighted content (together referred to as “authors”) as well as performing artists (together referred to in these FAQ as “performing artists” (together referred to in these FAQ as “creatives or talent”)) to report annually about the exploitation of their works and performances and in particular as regards modes of exploitation, all revenues generated and remuneration due. Every EU country has its own interpretation of what the obligation entails.

The transparency obligation is to be fulfilled by the contracting party of the authors and performing artists. Hence, in the area of audiovisual productions this obligation lies with the producer of the audiovisual work, be it a theatrical film, a tv show, a series or any other video production. It is of no relevance whether the production is executed at the risk and fully financed by the producer or whether it is produced as a work commissioned by a tv station, a streaming platform or any other third party. Even service productions will be subject to the transparency obligation if they contracted with the authors or performing artists. Only the extent of the report to be given by the producers of commissioned works or service producers may be less extensive than the obligations of other producers.
The yearly reporting is to be given to all authors and other creators holding a copyright interest in the work. In audio-visual works this is usually true for the authors of an underlying book or other underlying work, the authors of the script and the director. Depending on the kind of the audio-visual work, however, also other contributors to the work may have a copyright interest in the work. Thus a transparency obligation may also exist vis-à-vis the cameramen and -women, editors, sound designers, set designers etc. The decisive factor for each and every work will be whether the individual person contributed to the creative essence of the work as opposed to just executing skilled but not creative activities under the direction and control of the main authors to the work such as the director or the showrunner. In addition to these authors, also performing artists (e.g. actors) are entitled to receive yearly transparency reports. Only those authors and performing artists are excluded from the transparency obligation whose contribution to the work is of a subordinate importance to the work, particularly because it is of little distinction for the character of the work. Every EU country has its own interpretation of the EU law which is also influenced by prevailing local jurisprudence.
The contracting party has to provide yearly information to talent about the modes of exploitation, all revenues generated and remuneration due from worldwide exploitation. This information is to be given on the basis of the information which in the course of an ordinary and standard business practice will usually be available with the contracting party of the creatives. This obligation includes revenues generated by the licensees of the contracting party but only to the extent available to the contracting party. Names and addresses of licensees, however, have to be provided only upon request.
The information given must be relevant, comprehensive, up-to-date and correct so that it allows the beneficiary to evaluate the economic value of the uses made of the work.
No information needs to be given if the reporting would require disproportionate efforts particularly in view of the (limited) revenues derived from the exploitation of the work. More detailed descriptions of what information needs to be given may be contained in collective bargaining agreements or joint remuneration agreements. Note that the exact scope of the transparency obligation and its details will most likely be more specified in the years to come and Cleriti will adjust. Note also that Cleriti does not give legal advice and recommends that you seek independent counsel.
This is a term that is strongly debated and its interpretation is in flux and can vary from country to country. Cleriti makes suggestions based on its expertise and will develop the tool with the practical questions evolving as a consequence of local legislation and jurisprudence. When in doubt, we recommend you seek independent counsel. “Revenues” above all are all monetary considerations that the contracting party has received in the exercise, the licensing or other conveyancing of the rights to use the work, such as license fees, purchase prices, participations etc. In regard of other forms of remuneration such as barter deals, exchanges or trade-offs, local legislation and jurisprudence applies. The Cleriti portal implements such intelligence into its software.
You will have to report the modes of exploitation, revenues generated and remuneration due if such information in the course of an ordinary and standard business practice would usually be available with a contracting party similar to you unless the gathering of such information would require disproportionate efforts particularly in view of the (limited) revenues generated with the exploitation of the work.
The information is to be provided once a year as long as an exploitation of the work takes place. In theory this may mean that the obligation will exist for the entire period of copyright protection which is 70 years after the death of the last relevant author. However, if only very few revenues were generated the transparency obligation may become disproportionate so that no or limited information needs to be given (see FAQ No 4). Further details about the obligation to render transparency reports may be different in each EU country.
EU law does not stipulate a specific date for the information to be provided, only that it needs to be given once a year, It therefore allows for a certain period after the close of each year (not necessarily calendar year) during which the relevant information is collected and put into the report to be communicated to the authors and performing artists.
The transparency obligation applies not only to new works created after the law came into force but also to older works including library titles and catalogues. This is different in every country and depends on local legislation Cleriti will follow the European developments and guide users through the compliance challenges.
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Cleriti does not give legal advice. Cleriti provides services with a convenient online-tool to fulfil transparency obligations. The portal is designed to smoothly guide users through the compliance process based on specific legal intelligence and expertise.
Creatives have a legal claim to receive the transparency information. If you do not provide it when due talent can send a request to provide the information due. If you are in default with your transparency obligation and talent uses a lawyer to send the request, legal fees may have to be reimbursed to the claiming talent. If you still do not comply with the transparency obligation it will depend on local legislation what the legal consequences are.