Italian collecting society SIAE has struck an agreement with domestic audiovisual publishers' trade body Univideo covering copyright payments to screenplay and script writers whose works are distribut

MILAN -- Italian collecting society SIAE has struck an agreement with domestic audiovisual publishers' trade body Univideo covering copyright payments to screenplay and script writers whose works are distributed on home video.

Under the deal, which becomes effective Nov. 1, the authors will receive "fair compensation" for work that is produced in video, DVD or CD-ROM format and sold via traditional retail or Italy's large newsstand network, or are distributed for free, usually as magazine or newspaper supplements. Writers will receive an undisclosed percentage of the cover price.

SIAE president Franco Migliacci says in a statement, "This announcement represents an important step forward in affirming the rights of writers. The law on 'fair compensation' was approved in 1998, and since then SIAE has collected more than 60 million euros [$73 million] for Italian and European authors whose work has been shown on Italian television."

The 1998 law is one of 30 modifications that have been made to Italy's 1944 copyright law.

SIAE director general Gianni Profita adds: "This agreement strengthens the ties between authors and home video producers. It is a growing market. Over 19 million DVDs were sold in Italy in 2003, and the figure for 2004 is expected to be higher."

Univideo president Davide Rossi says: "We intend to continue developing a stable relationship with the authors, their association and the creative world."

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