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Thursday 24 June 2010

Patricia Covarrubia

The Colombian Law called ‘Fanny Mikey’ is not funny business


Last week (17/06) the Colombian Congress approved the ‘Fanny Mikey’ Law which seeks to protect economic rights (royalties) to soap opera actors and actresses when productions are later sold and broadcast in Colombia and abroad. The Law now waits for presidential approval.

The law called “Fanny Mikey ", named after a Colombian-Argentina actress who died over a year ago, was approved in the Senate by 57 votes in favour and 5 against.

The Minister of Interior and Justice, Fabio Valencia Cossio, said that this initiative recognizes that artists “have the right to receive royalties for their performance and work, as their contributions to the cultural heritage of Colombia must be translated into economic and social aspects”. I could not agree more. It is my understanding that Colombia is one of the major Latin American exporting countries of television productions, including soap operas, dramas and other series. Therefore, while the law appears to grant economic rights to just the artist, it is I believe of importance to the Colombia country as well. The reason is that the development of a country is to distribute the resources generated in all regions and in all sectors.

Maria Eugenia Penagos, actress and now director of the Actores Sociedad Colombiana de Gestión (Society Actors Management) achieved to unite 183 artists for the support in moving forward the Fanny Mikey Law. She mentioned that with this law, "We will raise the right to remuneration for public communication”. Penagos explained that for each broadcast of a drama in which an actor participates, he receives a percentage. If at home, the money raised will go to the Actores Sociedad Colombiana de Gestión; if overseas, to their societies. She adds that the amount to be paid will be set up by the parties involved (producers and actors) and it will be done in accordance with international agreements. If no agreement is reached, a judge will set it up. She gives an example from Argentina where last year it started collecting royalty for actors at 0.8 percent.

There is clearly a difference between paying fees for services that have been agreed in the contract concerned and another matter is royalty – don’t you think?

Yet, many questions arise from this law, for instance: will the royalty be for the actors’ lifetime or for a defined time period like cinematographic works that are protected for 80 years calculated as from the completion of the production (Art 26)? Who will be controlling later broadcasting and international sales? To this effect, how will it be controlled?

Colombia Copyright Law here.

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia


Write comments
Afro Ng'ombe
25 June 2010 at 04:21 delete

Very interesting. I have to wonder how successful collecting these royalties will be as I have most often seen Latin American soap operas on prime-time television in African countries, regions where collecting copyright royalties is often difficult.

Excited to see how this progresses.

28 June 2010 at 14:49 delete

Good point. I am also wondering the same and looking forward to seeing how it will work in practice in different jurisdiction - even in those that the system work. At the end we are looking at Colombia legal system.