Diagnosis of the current situation and needs of artists milieu in Poland.
Access to cultural goods and freedom of artistic activity are particularly important aspects of the functioning of society, determining a number of aspects of life, including the dynamics of economic growth and citizens' wealth. This fact was emphasised by the legislator, who guaranteed both rights in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland (in Art. 6 and 73 respectively). At the same time, the Constitution guarantees all citizens access to social and health insurance (Art. 67 and 68, respectively).
The diagnosis of the current state of Polish culture indicates that the above mentioned constitutional norms are not being properly fulfilled. The access to cultural goods is often of an island character, and the cultural offer in smaller towns is insufficient. The economic situation of most artists (ca. 65,000 people professionally performing artistic activity) is difficult (ca. 60% have income below the national average) or very difficult (ca. 30% have average income below the minimum wage), while at the same time the social insurance system dedicated to them requires paying higher contributions than in the case of people performing economic activity. As only ca. 9.5% of this professional group remains permanently in employment, a large proportion of artists are not insured at all. The specificity of artistic professions in this respect was pointed out by the European Parliament in its Resolution of 7 June 2007 on the social status of artists, in which it asked Member States to implement solutions enabling, among others, social security for artists and their health insurance.
II. Response of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage - Polish National Conference on Culture
The scale, intensity and fundamental character of the demands of numerous artistic circles (regardless of the preferred languages of art, worldviews) led the management of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage to organise a national debate under the name of the National Cultural Conference (OKK). The undertaking lasted 2 years from 2017 to 2019 and was coordinated by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute.
Its objectives were to invite all artistic circles and professions to the debate: music, dance, theatre, visual arts and folk arts, with the extension of literature and film arts, full representativeness of artistic professions, accessibility for residents of various regions (from Rzeszow to Szczecin, from Wroclaw to Olsztyn), diversity of participants (representatives of artists themselves, creative organisations, cultural institutions, local governments, offices, business), universality (more than 300 people representing more than 230 entities performed in the conference sessions).
The main aim of the discussion was the exchange of views and postulates, selection of contingents, development of assumptions for legislative work.
There were two main results achieved through the implementation of the policy:
I. Artists Size Survey prepared by SWPS University
Parallel to the debate, OKK commissioned a study on the number, employment and income of artists, conducted by an independent SWPS research team led by Professor Dorota Ilczuk. In addition to analysing the available data, the study used the method of anonymous, extensive surveys. A record number of over 5 thousand questionnaires were obtained (the sample amounted to almost 8% of the whole population), which allows to consciously model solutions and determine the effects of regulation. The surveys confirmed the large diversification of artists' income: very high individual earnings and remaining below the poverty line for almost 1/3 of the population (income below the minimum wage), thus excluding the latter from the available social and health insurance system.
II. Preparing the solution - Act on the Rights of Professional Artist (project)
The result of the project of the National Conference of Culture is the creation of a bill on the rights of professional artists. The draft act makes it possible to separate artists as a separate professional group and to adjust solutions, also non-statutory, to their needs. It defines the rules of artists' access to the social and health insurance system "transparent" for the insurance system (each artist pays contributions at the level of those corresponding to the minimum wage). It creates a dedicated fund to support social and health insurance contributions for those with the status of an artist who earn the least (subsidies from 20% to 80% of contributions).
The act is "transparent" for the social security system (detailed solutions have been analyzed with the Social Insurance Institution management). As a result, it is expected to increase receipts to the accounts of this professional group, as at present a significant part of it does not pay any contributions at all.
The expected cost of regulation is 40 million USD per year.
The basic source of financing of the system is the so-called reprographic fee, i.e. a fee on devices enabling permitted use of protected works, currently regulated in Poland in an inadequate manner (Art. 20 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act). In most European countries, the fee covers modern devices (computers, tablets, smartphones) and memory carriers (disks, pendrives), and from 25 to 50% of the revenue is allocated to dedicated funds supporting artists, as a result, in France or Germany, the revenue from the fee amounts to over 250 million EUR per year and is growing. In Poland, the fee covers photocopiers, tape recorders and video recorders, revenues do not exceed EUR 2 million per year and are decreasing, and there are no support funds (data according to "International Survey on Private Copying. Law & Practice 2015" prepared by World Intellectual Priority Organization).
As a result of the regulation, the level of income from the reprographic fee for the support fund will reach the government of 40 million USD. Due to the market character of the proposed mechanism and the lack of guarantee of income stability, the draft law assumes a guarantee of the fund from the state budget.
5 00 000 USD
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