Rome panel eyes broader author rights

Parliament expected to look at changes soon

ROME -- Panel members at an authors' intellectual property rights conference held on the sidelines of the Rome International Film Festival called for authors' legal rights to be simplified and extended to other figures in the creative process.

The four-hour seminar was part of a series of State of the Cinema Industry discussions held in conjunction with the festival. The talks, which were dominated by figures from SIAE, the Italian authors and editors association, took place in a nearly full Theatre Studio at the festival's main Parco della Musica venue.

Despite the relative lack of diversity on the 11-member panel and a healthy dose of political rambling common on these types of panels in Italy, the discussion was wide-ranging and at times even contentious. In the end, the consensus was that SIAE should take steps to simplify and extend the Italian laws that protect authors' intellectual property rights to encompass not only the work of screenwriters but also that of film directors and producers as well as television broadcasts.

"These rights should be less limited," said attorney Michele Lo Foco, one of just four panel members not directly associated with SIAE. "There's no reason for the law to interpret the work of producers and directors differently."

The Italian parliament is expected to address changes to authors' rights laws in the coming months.