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Legal News from France, Poland and Italy
Legal News from France, Poland and Italy
6 Feb, 2023

France: new obligation for the publisher to inform the translator in the event of the loss of foreign rights

On 20 December 2022, all organizations representing French authors in the book sector (including ATLF) signed, in the presence of the Minister of Culture, an agreement with the Syndicat National de l’Édition (SNE) aimed at improving the information provided to authors on the conditions of exploitation of their works by publishers: text of the agreement. (https://atlf NULL.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Accord-CPE-LAP-SNE-relatif-au-contrat-dedition-du-20-decembre-2022-signe NULL.pdf)

It provides for:

1) two annual statements of account accompanied by a payment of rights,

2) a new reporting system for “not significant” contributions,

3) an obligation on the part of the publisher to inform the translator when they sublicense the work or a part of it;

4) an obligation for the publisher to inform the translator in the event of the loss of foreign rights, allowing the translator to recover their rights to an unexploited work more easily;

5) the clarification of the publisher’s obligations to the author when the contractual term ends,

6) the limitation to two years (instead of three) of the period during which the publisher can make provisions for returns.

While welcoming the progress made in this agreement, the writers expressed their disappointment at the refusal of the Syndicat National de l’Édition to discuss the issue of author remuneration, even though this subject was explicitly included in the initial roadmap and in the Ministry’s mission statement of April 2022.

In the meantime, the Conseil d’Etat (French administrative Supreme Court) handed down an important ruling on 15 November 2022 which annuls the order transposing articles 17 to 23 of the DSM directive, to the extent that the order does not provide that authors who assign their exclusive rights are entitled to receive ‘appropriate’ remuneration (the word had been left out). See discussion of this ruling (http://copyrightblog NULL.kluweriplaw NULL.com/2022/11/28/cdsm-french-transposition-order-annulled-to-the-extent-that-it-does-not-provide-for-appropriate-remuneration-for-authors/).

However, it is an important breakthrough for French translators that they will now be informed by the publisher in the event of the of loss of foreign rights (hence of the ability to exploit the translation). They will now be able to recover their rights more easily – which is all the more important given that, in French contracts, rights are usually licensed for the duration of the intellectual property.

Cécile Déniard ATLF

Poland: Agreement between the Polish Literary Translators’ Association, the Literary Union and independent publishers

On 28 October 2022, during the Conrad Festival in Krakow, the Polish Literary Translators’ Association (STL), together with a fellow writers’ association, the Literary Union, and a group of sixteen independent publishers signed the Krakow Convention, an agreement on best practices between authors, translators and publishers. The goal of the Convention is to establish common standards of collaboration, further the professionalization of relations between the parties and serve as a point of reference for the entire publishing industry. The agreement was facilitated by the Krakow Festival Office, the operator of the UNESCO City of Literature programme.

The preamble of the Convention introduces the principles of respect and loyalty, honesty and transparency, and reciprocity and symmetry. In relation to translators’ contracts, the Convention stipulates: licenses of five to seven years, correlated with the duration of the original rights; appropriate and proportionate remuneration, accounting for factors such as the median of translators’ fees according to STL surveys and the median of wages in the publishing industry; an advance payment of 25% at the start of translation, with the remainder to be paid within 90 days of delivery of the text; individually negotiated royalties from a certain number of copies sold as well as royalties from secondary uses such as e-books and audiobooks; providing translators with adequate time for oversight of revisions until the final proofs; the guarantee of their moral rights by including translators’ names on book covers or title pages as well as in all promotional materials. In return, STL has vowed to educate its members on good practices and to receive publishers’ feedback on its members and members’ feedback on publishers. In negotiating the terms of the Convention, STL relied heavily on the CEATL Guidelines for Fair Translation Contracts.

In relation to authors, the signatory publishers have agreed to: time-limited license agreements rather than buy-outs; appropriate and proportionate remuneration for derivative rights; adequate time for revisions; the inclusion in contracts of agreed-upon promotional activities and the number of gratis author events; the separate calculation of royalties for each book, based on either the retail price or the discount price (understood as an agreed-upon percentage of the retail price). In return, writers guarantee their publishers priority of being notified about each new book and have agreed on realistic promotional demands and reliable mutual information during promotional efforts.

Rafal Lisowski, STL.


Italy: an author manifesto by translators, illustrators and writers

On the occasion of Rome’s December bookfair “Più libri più liberi”, Strade, together with AI (Autori di immagini, the illustrators’ association: https://www.autoridimmagini.it (https://www NULL.autoridimmagini NULL.it/) ) and Icwa (Italian Children’s Writers Association: https://www.icwa.it (https://www NULL.icwa NULL.it/) ) presented an authors’ manifesto, titled “DIRITTO D’AUTORE E DIRITTI DEGLI AUTORI – UN MANIFESTO”.

You can find a summary of the Manifesto here: http://www.traduttoristrade.it/2022/manifesto-strade-ai-icwa/#more-6447 (http://www NULL.traduttoristrade NULL.it/2022/manifesto-strade-ai-icwa/#more-6447), and the full version here: http://www.traduttoristrade.it/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/manifesto_dda_strade_ai_icwa_2022.pdf (http://www NULL.traduttoristrade NULL.it/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/manifesto_dda_strade_ai_icwa_2022 NULL.pdf)

The document takes the lead from the modifications brought to the Italian authors’ rights law by the UE directive 2019/790 to assert what we think should be rights granted to all authors, starting from the right to a negotiated contract (as opposed to one imposed by publishers) that is legal and fair.

It is only a starting point for the three categories of authors behind it, as our three associations are planning a continuing coordination (and probably a common acronym under which to present common initiatives) in order to act in concert and as a lobby; we also wish to stimulate other authors’ associations to join us.

The event has had resonance on various printed and online newspapers (for example: https://www.ilmessaggero.it/libri/piu_libri_piu_liberi_la_nuvola_ultime_notizie-7089735.html (https://www NULL.ilmessaggero NULL.it/libri/piu_libri_piu_liberi_la_nuvola_ultime_notizie-7089735 NULL.html) ), thanks also to the fact that we hired a professional press office to cover the events at the bookfair. Strade organized two “political” events, one dedicated to the governmental policy regarding books in translation and the other to the Manifesto and the implementation of the EU directive, themes about which we’ll campaign on through 2023.

Elisa Comito, Strade.


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