During November 9th and 10th, the annual meeting of the Latin American Audiovisual Authors Societies Federation -fesaal.org- was carried out in the beautiful coastal city of Punta del Este. In this important reunion, the authorities of Audiovisual Authors’ societies from the entire region were able to meet again in person after the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. The last general assembly held in person was in 2019 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
The General Association of Authors from Uruguay -AGADU, agadu.org/- was the entity in charge of receiving its sisters societies representing the rights of authors from Audiovisual Authors of nine countries in Latin America, represented by its President, Alexis Buenseñor, and by its Vice-president, Dr. Eduardo de Freitas. The authorities from DGU - dgucine.org.uy/- (Uruguay) Javier Palleiro and Diego Fernández; DAC (Argentina) -www.dac.org.ar- Horacio Maldonado, Carlos Galettini, Marcelo Piñeyro, Víctor Dínenzon, Carmen Guarini, Dr. Luis Mangiavillano and Lic. Daniel Di Napoli; Argentores (Argentina) -argentores.org.ar- Miguel Ángel Diani and Dr. Germán Gutiérrez; DASC (Colombia) -directorescolombia.com.co/- Mario Mitrotti, Teresa Saldarriaga, Camila Loboguerrero and Dr. Adriana Saldarriaga; DBCA (Brazil) -https://diretoresbrasil.org/- Dr. Henrique de Freitas Lima, Malu de Martino and Hamsa Wood; GEDAR (Brazil) -gedarbrasil.org/- Marcílio Moraes, Sylvia Palma and Thiago Dottori; ATN (Chile) -atn.cl/- César Cuadra and Daniella Castagno, Creators PY (Paraguay) -creadores.com.py- Dr. Silvia Cabañas and Judith Blanco; EDAP (Panama) -edap-panama.org/- Ricardo Aguilar and Dr. Eduardo Benítez; REDES (Colombia) -redescritores.com/- Alexandra Cardona Restrepo and Carlos Gaviria; as well as SOGEM (México) -sogem.org/- Gerardo Luna Islas and Lic. Gloria López, were present.
The assembly was also attended by the special guests Hernán Findling, President of the Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences of Argentina -https://academiadecine.org.ar/-; Antonio Onetti, President of SGAE, General Society of Authors and Editors -sgae.es- (Spain); Pablo Da Silveira, Minister of Education and Culture from Uruguay; Dr. Alberto Juan Bautista Iribarne, Ambassador of Argentina in Uruguay; Ignacio Martínez, President of the Authors’ Rights Council from Uruguay -www.gub.uy-; Lic. Víctor Barceló Rodríguez, Ambassador of Mexico in Uruguay; and Lic. Carlos Aguilar Navarro, Ambassador of Panama in Uruguay. Also, from Madagascar, Laza Razanajatovo, President of the Pan-African Alliance of Screenwriters and Directors -APASER- www.apaser.org- was present virtually. The modality to invite governmental authorities to Audiovisual Authors’ Rights meetings was adopted during the last Congress of AVACI held in Korea, and it promotes the possibility for them to communicate what they have listened to their chancelleries in order to obtain stronger support for the cause. “The protection of authors’ rights is something that goes far beyond the borders of each of our countries and, for such reason, I am glad to see representatives from the different brother countries of Latin America together”, the Ambassador Iribarne stated.
The event was opened by Alexis Buenseñor, who thanked guests for being present and highlighted the importance of the compulsory collective management concerning the handling of authors’ rights. “We will work to achieve it in the relevant area, we consider it valid”, he expressed before highlighting the importance of encouraging the establishment of the International Film Festival of Punta del Este, which was fully supported by the members of FESAAL. “We feel very happy and proud of being hosting a meeting like the one you are performing today”, the Ministry Pablo Da Silveira added. “We say present in order to support audiovisual creators from Uruguay in the hard but so important task they have ahead”, Marcelo Piñeyro, recognized Audiovisual Creator and Honorary President of FESAAL, added.
Miguel Ángel Diani, Adriana Saldarriaga and Germán Guitérrez talked about their meeting in Switzerland with the authorities of the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the steps to be followed for this organization to recognize an international right to remuneration. The first day of the assembly also had an emotional tribute to the film director and producer Mario Mitrotti, President of DASC Colombia, in which he thanked his partners for the support granted. “I am sure that when I am gone, they will follow a path of prosperity for Audiovisual Directors and Writers”, he expressed.
The day continued with a report of each member country about the situation of the audiovisual right. On behalf of REDES, Alexandra Cardona Restrepo provided a detailed report on the figures obtained as from the last agreements executed with users of audiovisual works and the next negotiations to start with, under the protection of the law Pepe Sánchez and with the operating system AVSYS as an essential tool. Among the several figures mentioned, we have 237 members and 4157 works declared, an increase in 2022 of 1165% and 224,795,723 pesos distributed.
The representatives of SOGEM (Mexico), DBCA and GEDAR (Brazil) talked about the difficulty of having a law in their countries which prevents the collection for the use of their works in audiovisual content platforms. “Writers do not have a constant work or pensions: only the proceeds from our works. We must protect them”, Gerardo Islas Luna, President of SOGEM, stated. “I thank all of you for the daily battles that you give in favor of Authors”, he concluded. The representatives of Brazil expressed optimism for the return of Lula Da Silva to the presidency of their country and for the benefits this may bring to Brazilian Audiovisual Authors. The Assembly of FESAAL unanimously approved the drafting of a resolution that urges the government of Brazil to enact a remuneration law with compulsory collective management.
From the Gender Commission of FESAAL, the Authors Carmen Guarini, Sylvia Palma, Daniella Castagno, Alexandra Cardona Restrepo and Camila Loboguerrero expressed the impossibility to raise social and political gender issues, both in the audiovisual world in general and within collective management organizations. Through specific figures, they evidenced the inequality that still occurs concerning the amount and quality of jobs in the industry. Sylvia Palma explained that “machismo is a standard of power present in daily life, unconsciously reproduced in a practice that follows standards of conduct, which are mechanisms of oppression that determine relations of power and hierarchy”. “The low visibility of women affects their job chances. This makes society less diverse and prosperous”, she added. In turn, the commission suggested FESAAL to include in its statutes a quota of female representation and sexual dissidences, and to publish on the web site of FESAAL the results of researches on gender inequality.
During the second day, Daniel Di Napoli made a detailed presentation and answered questions about the operating system AVSYS, specially developed for the management of audiovisual authors’ rights. AVSYS is an open code system, which can be combined with other systems and with the possibility to customize it as per the rules of each society and country. The system was donated to the FESAAL and it can be used by all its members free of charge. It is already being used by several collective management societies. “The key thing AVSYS has done for us is that our main goal can be fulfilled: that money may go to the hands of Authors. That could not have been achieved without AVSYS”, Alexandra Cardona Restrepo expressed on behalf of REDES Colombia. “Every day, I become more aware about the importance of having this system to handle everything we have to do within EDAP in Panama”, Ricardo Aguilar said. Each speaker who talked about the experience with AVSYS thanked Daniel Di Napoli and DAC for the willingness to train their members concerning this system.
Silvia Cabañas, on behalf of Creators PY, expressed that: “We are happy to belong to this Federation. We have a huge challenge in Paraguay. We thank for the support of each of you in telling your experiences, and we ask for that support to continue in order to achieve the goal we have as creators”.
By the end of the second and last day, the establishment of the address of AGADU’s central building in Montevideo as official headquarter of FESAAL was approved, as well as the amendment of the federation’s statutes according to the legislation of Uruguay, in order to be able to have an own banking account and for other bureaucratic issues.
The encounter was a success and a good omen for the future of Audiovisual Authors’ rights from the entire region.