Polish Filmmakers Criticise Netflix's Compensation Programme


    WARSAW: Netflix's recent offer of additional compensation to Polish creators is facing criticism from the Association of Polish Filmmakers (SFP). The Association is concerned about the terms outlined and it sees potential disadvantages for creators.

    According to the SFP, the conditions for selected film crew members are disadvantageous, with Netflix discouraging consultation with agents or lawyers. A key issue is the conditional nature of the proposed "additional compensation", tied to productions viewed by 90% of 10 million worldwide. Critics argue this will hinder smaller productions.

    Key points of contention:

    • Rights Waiver: Creators are concerned about waiving all claims against Netflix by signing the agreement.
    • Informational Obligations: The agreement reduces Netflix's obligations to share information on series use, limiting creators' insights.
    • Statutory Royalties: Concerns arise about a potential waiver of statutory royalties under the Polish law.
    • Opposition to Statutory Royalties: Creators are obligated to oppose introducing statutory royalties.

    “Netflix's offer can be considered an abuse of its dominant position. It was extended only to selected filmmakers, exempt from any negotiations, and the deadline for acceptance was set for an extremely short period, preventing a detailed analysis", said Jacek Bromski, President of the Association of Polish Filmmakers.

    “It is scandalous that a platform, which operates and thrives thanks to filmmakers, is now dividing the Polish film community on an unprecedented scale. It creates blacklists of creators, pits one against the other, and threatens the closure of productions in Poland. Netflix's actions today have led to a situation where a handful of filmmakers, indulged by this platform, must decide whether to deprive the entire community of their rightful streaming compensation for Netflix's silver coins”, Bromski added.

    The SFP-ZAPA's director, Dominik Skoczek, suggests Netflix's intention might influence the new government before statutory royalties are introduced. “We express concerns that Netflix will leverage the argument that the proposed mechanism of so-called 'additional compensations' is sufficient, and there is no need for further strengthening of creators' rights through statutory royalties. Similar actions in other countries, like Germany, have raised concerns”, Skoczek said.

    The Polish film industry awaits further developments, anticipating an impact on the Netflix-creator relationship and broader discussions on fair compensation in the digital era.