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Cultural Rights Essay

Cultural Rights Essay

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Published by Milicica
Status of self-employed artists in all the countries analysis made with the help of the information from Compendium, sector specific legislation
Status of self-employed artists in all the countries analysis made with the help of the information from Compendium, sector specific legislation

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Published by: Milicica on Apr 06, 2008
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11/18/2012

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UNIVERSITY OF ARTS IN BELGRADEPostgraduate Studies of Cultural Management andCultural Policy in the BalkansCOURSE:CULTURAL RIGHTSPROFESSOR:Slobodan Markovic, Ph. D.FINAL PAPER:Comparative Analysis of the Sector specific legislation/Status of Self-employed ArtistsIn all States from the CompendiumSTUDENT:Milica LazovićBelgrade, September 2007.
 
Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends
is an information and monitoring system oncultural policy measures, instruments, debates and cultural trends. It has been created as a joint venture between the Council of Europe,
 ERICarts
and a
community of practice
of independent cultural policyresearchers, NGOs and national governments. This extensive and constantly updated web site consists of 36 cultural policy profiles, presented through less or more detailed description, depending on the country inquestion and legislations on culture which it encompasses. In this paper, I will try to make a comparativeanalysis of the sector specific legal provisions in the cultural fields, described in all countries present onthis web site, which is a total of 39.While analyzing diverse legislations which exist in all this countries, we can notice that there are manydifferent approaches and ways in which culture exists as a category within the general legal system of thecountry.The main legal provisions in the cultural field of every country are classified and displayed through 3 mainsections:
general legislation, legislation on culture and sector specific legislation
.
General legislation
consists of overviews of legal competence for cultural policy making for every individual country available(constitution, division of jurisdiction, allocation of public funds, social security frameworks, tax laws, labor laws, copyright provisions, data protection laws and language laws), outlines of 
legislation on culture
which vary from country to country (some states may have hundreds of laws have while others may haveonly one
Culture Act 
), and
 sector specific legislation
, which applies on concrete, individual cultural fields(visual and applied arts, performing arts and music,cultural heritage,literature and libraries,architecture  and environment,film, video and photography,culture industries,mass media,legislation for self- employed artists,and other areas of relevant legislation). Of course, we can detect many differences  between approaches and the amount of space and attention given to culture within a certain country,depending on the specifications of every individual law. However, we will attempt to group them accordingto some common characteristics and methods.In the field of Sector specific Legislation/Legislation for Self-employed artists, every country has adifferent story. For the beginning I will try to write a little bit about every country and its’ law in thisspecial area of Cultural legislation.
Albania
has no special legislation on the status of the artists. The introduction of the coherent taxsystem to increase state finances and combat tax evasion (estimated at 50%) is still the primary objective of tax policy. The relationship of trust between the citizens and the state, which is the basis for a functioningtax system, is still suffering from the disturbances caused by the pyramid financing collapse on savings andinvestment and consequently on gross domestic product and tax revenue.In September 1997, the new government set up a tax system which introduced indirect taxes (onalcohol, tobacco and fuel) and entrusted a special office with the collection of taxes.The application of a single VAT rate, which was raised from 12,5% to 20% in September 1997, isdatable especially from the point of view of the book market. According to the Association of AlbanianPublishers, only 5 or 6 publishing houses pay their VAT regularly. This evasion is an indirect form of unfair competition affecting decisions on book prices. Duty on paper and other imported materials is also set at20%. The cost of paper (and production costs in general) appears to be comparatively higher than theEuropean average. Albania has still stipulates that imports of cultural products should be tax exempt. In
Austria,
artists have been comparatively successful in creating, improving and consolidatinglobbies for themselves. Authors and translators in particular, as well as cultural initiatives, and to someextent, independent theatre groups, cinematographers and media artists have been able to createassociations and interest groups to represent them in public, to lobby for more funds and commissions, tofight for legal and social improvements, and for maintenance of artistic freedom. Among their major achievements has been an improvement in the flow of information on market opportunities and mutualcommunication among artists.As to their social security status, several refunds and improvements (copyright, social securityscheme for artists and other social benefits) have been achieved by umbrella organizations, interest groupsand collective societies.
 
Since January 2001, when the new Law on Social Security for Artists came into force, freelanceartists are treated the same as other self-employed professionals, which means that they must pay their statutory social security insurance if they earn more than 6 453 euros per year. In many cases, the new lawcreated a situation whereby artists end up making two different types of social insurance payments:statutory insurance for freelance work and any other social security insurance payments: statutory insurancefor freelance work and any other social security insurance payments, which result from other part-time andfree-lance work, the contribution to the social security system is relatively high compared to the totalincome.A working group with representatives of all parties involved in this matter discussed the possibility of special regulations and helping artists with these payments. The new law set up a SocialSecurity Insurance Fund for Artists, which grants artists a pension supplement of up to 85,5 euros per month, if their income is between 333 euros and 1635 euros per month. Those artists entitled to receive agrant must meet certain requirements such as being specifically trained (art university graduates, for example). Others are selected by a specific board (commission). This new Social Security Insurance Fundfor Artists, paid out euro 4,6 in supplements. From 2000 until 2003, this fund was supported by the FederalChancellery/Art Department.The new Social Security Insurance System was widely criticized by artists and their professionalassociations, because of the exclusion of artists on very low incomes. Further demands are to secureobligatory contributions to the fund by the federal government and supplement not only for pensions, butalso for health and accident insurance.
Azerbaijan
, on becoming independent, has opted for a market economy. Free enterprise is acentral element in this, and a national privatisation programme was implemented in two stages. Theestablishment of a market economy in Azerbaijan, made it neccesary to rethink social security and tointroduce a whole new welfare strategy. Within a short space of time, over ten laws were passed, extendingsocial security to broad sections of the population. Altough there are no special legal provisions for culturalworkers as separate professional group in Azerbaijan, and their activities are regulated in general bylegislation for private enterpreneurship, there are a number of provisions in the constitution and the Law onCulture that directly concern and defend their interests.In
Bulgaria,
artists pay taxes under the Personal Income Tax Act, which allows them to deduct50% of their expances from taxable income received for the creation of works of art, science and culture,folk arts and crafts, and copyright royalties. Furthermore, taking into account the specificy of creativework, the legislation provides an oppurtunity for income averaging derived from creative work undertakenin the course of more than one year (e.g.the writnig of a book), but not exceeding four years. Artists thusavoid the progressive annual income tax.
Belgium
has taken measures to enable artists who receive unemployment benefits to practise their art more freely, which hitherto had been prohibited by law.In December 2002, the federal parliament ratified measures to improve the social security systemfor artists. On july 1st 2003, this regulation came into effect. The main points are:1.artists are treated either as employees or as self-employe for the purposes of social security. Tostimulate salaried work for artists, employers are given a discount on their share of social securitycontributions to compensate for these additional costs;
2.
children and holiday allowances for artists, which are covered by employees regulation, will be paid by the federal government. This will simplify the payment of the allowances caused byworking for different employers;
3.
those who infrequently hire artists (e.g.for an occasional show in a cafe or for an individualcommission) can apply to the „Social Bureau for Artists“ to take care of the employer’s share of administrative procedures. These bueraux, mostly interim offices, must be recognized by theregional authorities.The
 joint committees (JC)
include an equal amount of employer and amployee organizationrepresentatives under the direction of an independent chairperson. JCs have been set up for all branches of industry with the aim of grouping companies with similar activities and to develop

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