Polish Filmmakers Association Takes Legal Action Against Government Over Missed EU Directive on Internet Royalties

    Polish Filmmakers Association Takes Legal Action Against Government Over Missed EU Directive on Internet Royalties credit: Michał Żebrowski/East News/SFP

    WARSAW: In a significant move, the Polish Filmmakers Association (SFP) has reported a suspected crime related to Mateusz Morawiecki's government's failure to adopt the EU directive on internet royalties. This makes Poland the last EU country yet to implement the copyright directive, impacting filmmakers and their rightful remuneration.

    The notification, submitted on 1 February 2024, includes concerns about Morawiecki's meeting with Netflix's head, raising questions about the subsequent abandonment of provisions crucial for creators. The SFP urges the Prosecutor's Office to investigate this matter.

    “A great injustice has been done to us, we have been ignored in our attempts to get the previous government to comply with the EU directive. Currently, creators associated with ZAPA receive fees for the exploitation of their films on the Netflix platform from France and other countries in Europe, but we do not receive them from Poland. Our expected royalty revenues from Netflix are approximately 4.64 m EUR / 20 m PLN per year, and by failing to comply with this directive, Poland and its citizens will pay a fine of 13.9 m EUR / 60 m PLN. Therefore, following the example of creators and institutions from other European countries such as Denmark, we decided to sue the previous government in this matter”, Jacek Bromski, prominent Polish director and President of SFP said during the press conference.

    Poland's delay in implementing the Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market, due by 7 June 2021, has not only left creators without regulated Internet royalties but also exposed the country to a growing fine exceeding 13 m EUR. This fine, resulting from a European Commission complaint to the Court of Justice of the European Union, increases daily with each delay.

    Karolina Bielawska, a prominent Polish director, said: “These royalties are part of our remuneration that is statutory, it is not additional remuneration. This is our remuneration paid at the moment of success and I see no reason why multinational corporations should earn more than the creators who made this film. Royalties allow us to make more films. I also want it to be clear that we are not fighting only for creators, but also for the development of Polish culture and education”.