Pacific Media Watch

23 April 2016

GLOBAL: World Copyright Day - Outlaw unfair contractual practices, urges IFJ

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BRUSSELS (International Federation of Journalists/European Federation of Journalists): Legislators must take concrete steps against unfair contractual clauses in their laws. This is the message put across by the International Federation of Journalists and the European Federation of Journalists to mark World Copyright and Book Day today.

The organisations warn against the continuing trend developed by media companies to use rights-grabbing contracts.

Journalists who sign those contracts not only lose the right to use their works autonomously, but also the (moral) right to protect the integrity of their works. These practices allow for the same work to be used many times for one single payment and deprive news outlets from the quality and diversity they need.

The IFJ and the EFJ call on international legislators to provide solid safeguards preventing journalists from forced assignment of their authors’ rights in contractual negotiations, a jpint statement says.

“Many media companies claim full assignment of journalists’ authors’ rights to trade easily, “ said IFJ president Jim Boumelha.

“Journalists, especially freelancers, are in a weak position when it comes to negotiation time. Unless a collective agreement is in place, freelancers are faced with a take it or leave it situation and forced to sign away all their authors’ rights. It is time to take concrete steps to outlaw these practices”.

'Unfair' samples
The federations have compiled samples of unfair contractual clauses in place across the world.

The federations point at the impoverishment of qualitative news content when the same stories are being reused without proper remuneration for journalists. They have developed a check list of minimum conditions journalists’ contracts should meet to protect authors’ rights.

“The right to be named as the author, to be able to oppose substantive modifications of one’s work, to receive additional payment when works are being made available in online archives are among the provisions we would like to see enforced in all contracts,” said EFJ president Mogens Blicher Bjerregård.

To mark World Copyright Day, the IFJ and EFJ call on their affiliates to share samples of abusive clauses and unfair contractual practices under #isitfair and use the  fair contract logo in sign of solidarity.

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Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators. (cc) Creative Commons