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MEPs adopted proposals put forward by the Culture and Employment Committees at the European Parliament. The initiatives include measures to help artists when licensing their work to large non-EU streaming services, like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and others.
“The level of precariousness in the sector has been dire for years, but the COVID-19 crisis has shown that the situation for CCS (culture and creative sectors) professionals is simply unsustainable,” said the co-rapporteur of the Culture and Education Committee Domenec Ruiz Devesa.
One key aspect is addressing the controversial use of "buy-out" contracts by platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. These deals see artists sign over long-term copyrights for a single payment, depriving them of ongoing royalties from their work.
The legislation will ban such provisions within Europe in a bid to ensure fair compensation for creators. It comes as streaming has boomed in popularity but working models in the sector remain highly precarious for many.
The COVID-19 pandemic further exposed the financial vulnerabilities artists face. Campaigners argue existing structures leave cultural workers open to exploitation through short-term contracts and the threat of replacement by AI.
The proposed directive echoes demands made by striking Hollywood unions seeking better pay and conditions. Film and TV writers have reached a new deal, but actors remain on picket lines after 100 days.
Supporters say the EU initiative could significantly improve job security and pay for the creative industries bloc-wide. However, final approval is still needed in a November vote at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
If passed, it has the potential to reshape standards for cultural professionals across the continent in the digital era. However, challenges remain around enforcement if services operate outside of EU jurisdiction.