OPEN LETTER: Revocation – How authors and performers can reclaim their copyrights

From the Kluwer Copyright Blog:

The letter addressed to the European Commission and the relevant national authorities of EU Member States, identifies the revocation right as “an historic opportunity to achieve better copyright outcomes for creators”, and calls upon governments to explicitly address the right in their consultations about implementing the Copyright Directive.

The letter builds on a collaborative research project between CREATe and the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (IPRIA), University of Melbourne, with the reCreating Europe consortium. The project maps all provisions allowing authors and performers to reclaim their rights. Such laws are already a part of national laws of many EU Member States in some form.

. . . .

The majority of the EU Member States offer some revocation rights to their creators, but they are often limited to certain types of works or agreements. Termination is only one of possible effects of reversion provisions. Most of the rights are not brought to effect automatically, but require creator’s action to make changes to the contractual relationship, which means that the right can be a starting point for renegotiating contracts. Current provisions typically are modelled on analogue practices, and do not reflect digital uses.

The open letter argues that the right of revocation introduced by art. 22 of the Copyright Directive offers a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to secure new income for creators, new exploitation opportunities for investors and new access for the public. It could help to reclaim culture that would otherwise be lost and provide creators with meaningful new rights to better their position.

Link to the rest at the Kluwer Copyright Blog and thanks to C. for the tip.

(Kluwer is evidently using a cloud provider to host its blog, but has somehow misconfigured the settings for the blog. PG had to do some messing about with the link to get the OP to appear, but it is there and it isn’t a nasty site, just one operated by people who are less than technically apt.)

The option for the creator of a copyright-protected work, like an author or a photographer, to terminate an unfavorable publishing agreement or other license of the creative work is an important one.

On way more than one occasion, a naïve author has signed a disadvantageous publishing agreement that, in effect, lasts forever, and the author receives nothing more than an advance or the very occasional royalty check even though the book is selling lots of copies and making the publisher very rich.

On occasion, a publisher will represent that the contract says something that it does not say in order to induce the author to sign. On occasion, inexpert literary agents will not understand what a contract means and urge an author to sign an agreement that vastly underpays the author for her/his work.

The right for a creator (or the creator’s heirs under some circumstances) to terminate such an agreement and cause the rights to the book to revert to the author so he/she can earn more money from the book is called the right to revert or a reversion right that brings the rights the author signed away back to the author so the author has another chance to receive a far more equitable reward for the author’s creative work.

Here’s a link to a resource referenced in the OP that provides an overview of the rights an author has to regain control of his/her copyrights regardless of prior publishing agreements.