Maureen Duffy: Postcards from the International Authors Forum
KING'S COLLEGE LONDON, 2017
Federazione Unitaria Italiana Scrittori, the Writers' Union of Italy
by Ida Baucia
My name is Ida Baucia. I am here to represent FUIS Federazione Unitaria Italiana Scrittori which is the most important Association of writers and authors in Italy today.
We are honoured to have been invited by this prestigious College.
FUIS is a Federation of trade associations representing authors. It was founded by the three main Italian trade Associations in 2009. But each trade union is much older.
It is now managed by two of them.
The theme of this event is World Service in the context of authors all over the world.
Well, the main goal of FUIS is to give good services to authors of all categories, in order to help them to safeguard their rights in human, moral and economic fields.
Article 27 of the Declaration of Human Rights says that “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author”. Protecting intellectual property is a duty for any nation which wishes to safeguard the freedom of expression and cultural diversity.
As you know authors are the weakest ring in the chain of culture, even if there is no culture without authors. They have to face attacks from publishers, who take advantage from their dominant position, from users who aim to use the works without paying them any rights, expecially in our global society where people want to access the works for free, thanks to the new technologies.
When an author creates a work, he acts not only for himeself but for the entire community. He must feel free to create and to be indepent. This is his job.
And as for every job, he has to be remunerated when his work is used by others.
This is the core of copyright.
A recent survey on the economic situation of writers, carried out by FUIS last year, highlighted that 3.6% of Italian writers only, get remunaration for their profession that allows them to live of their work. Many still believe that writing is only leisure.
FUIS’ main goals are to help authors to have their rights recognized and to promote them in every field of expression.
With this purpose FUIS:
- communicates with public and private bodies to improve laws and rules in favour of authors;
- it watches for the authors to get their rights, hoping they can live of their intellectual work. If they are free on the economic point of view, they are free to create without any external obligation;
- it does any effort to raise public awareness on the fact that there is no art without remuneration to the author;
- it tries to educate authors about their rights and how to protect themselves;
- it helps authors to promote themselves and their works. It assists them with the presentation of their works, projections, meetings, festivals, surveys, readings, exhibitions concerning the various expressions of art;
- it helps authors concretely when they are in a difficult situation;
- it organizes conferences, study groups and further researches;
- it arranges training courses for professional writers and the creations of artistic productions;
- it gives free consultancy to authors, makes suggestions for the first legal guidelines, offering mediation in case of legal disputes, gives advice on contracts etc;
Fuis aims to bring Italian authors’ voice abroad and also to collect any information from abroad. The exchange of opinions and information is fundamental for the spread of culture in the world, also for creating solidarity among authors worldwide.
With this purpose FUIS has joined International Authors Forum (IAF), where the authors’ istances are represented internationally, sharing their initiatives.
FUIS has shared with IAF the campaign for fair contracts, with the publication of “Ten Principles for Fair Contracts for Authors” to educate authors about their rights, as well as to educate users.
FUIS has recently been accepted inside WIPO (World International Property Organization) too, in order to follow the discussions on copyright worldwide, directly. As you may know, WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation. It is a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 191 member states.
Its mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system, that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.
Finally, it might be of interest to you to know about one of the last initiatives that FUIS has launched for the first time in Italy.
FUIS has assigned two writing residencies that allow young emerging writers to create or complete a literary work. One residency is for Italian authors, one is for foreign writers.
The residency consists of staying at Casteldilago (a nice medieval village in Umbria, Central Italy) for one month. There is also an economic allowance.
Two writers (an Italian one and one from abroad) where already selected and are already doing the residency. We are planning to double the residencies for next year in order to have two scholarship fo categories.
If you need more details and information, please visit our web site, which includes an international section managed by Katie Webb: www.fuis.it.
Thanks for your attention.
Ida Baucia presenting at King's College London, World Service Event, 2019.