Brussels, 16th December 2011
To Members of the Greens/ EFA group of the European
Federation of Journalists (EFJ) represents journalists' unions and associations
defend press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent
trade unions of journalists. We also call for journalists to be recognised as
authors of the works they create to be able to control further use of their
works and negotiate equitable remuneration for these uses.
We would like
to raise our comments and concerns over the statement on Creation and Copyright in the Digital Era adopted by the Greens on
28th September 2011.
rightly points at the effects new technologies have on the production,
dissemination, access and use of cultural productions and at the role policy
makers should play in providing "a proper regulation framework for artists and
creators" to ensure them "a better recognition and remuneration for their
accurately acknowledges that consumers and artists should not be in conflict
with one another. Clearly, both can
benefit from each other. In fact every consumer needs intellectual property
protection, since new technologies allow anyone to become a "published" or
"broadcast" creator online, whether of words, images or sound. Consequently all
creators/authors - whether occasional or full-time - need the right to be
credited as creators/authors, to oppose any modification of their work and to
receive equitable remuneration for the use made of the creation.
welcome the Greens' call to improve the situation of artists and creators and
to change contract law at European level in order to stop buy-out contracts.
that this step is essential to put creators in a better negotiating position
when facing their employers and clients. Too many journalists find themselves
in a very weak position when it comes to negotiating contracts and authors'
rights remuneration - when there is any negotiation - not to mention the
abusive use of "oral contracts". We believe in particular that collective
agreements negotiated by unions and media owners need to be reinforced in all
media sectors and allow for journalists working as freelancers to be covered.
also raises a number of concerns that could have damaging effect on journalists
and creators as a whole.
Authors' rights and copyright are two different regimes
The current text mixes the authors' right system - which
recognizes rights to an individual that remain with this individual- with the
copyright system based on a property right that is fully tradable. Journalists
should benefit from an authors' right system which consists of moral rights and
a number of exclusive rights that give him/her sole power to authorize use of
his/her works and enter into agreements on payment, royalty and precautionary
conditions for various uses of the work.
Moral rights should be reinforced
are personal rights vested in the author and cannot be waived. Journalists have
the right to be identified and to oppose any distortion, mutilation or other
alteration of their work which could affect their honor or reputation.
that the definition of authors' rights provided in the statement is misleading
when describing moral rights. In fact giving the author the opportunity to
"comment" on the use that has been made of his/her work is different from them
either authorising modifications prior to this use, or having the right to
object to - to take legal action over unauthorised modifications that are
contrary to the author's "honour or reputation".
The right to
use extracts and quotations - accurately and with proper credit - is at least
as essential to journalists as any other citizen; but the moral rights must be
respected for all uses, quotation or in full.
No distinction should be made between commercial and non-commercial uses
of copyright material
believe that copyright should only regulate "copying for commercial purposes".
For a journalist, the simple act of reproducing his/her work on a third party's
web site without his/her authorisation can lead to a lack of revenue for
him/her. Indeed, many freelance journalists work on the basis of syndication.
This means that they can re-sell their work to several publishers and get paid
for it. Reproducing an article for free on any web site reduces opportunities
for journalists to re-sell their work.
of the major peer-to-peer sharing sites are commercial, selling ads and making
profit without remuneration for artists.
Copyright is necessary to journalists' income
not "only represent a small part of income" for a majority of artists and
creators. Copyright (authors' rights) is in one sense the "foundation" of all their income.
journalistic field, we face situations where some of journalists' income is
covered by authors' rights revenues and some by their salary. Additionally, journalists
may receive yearly remuneration for reprography (photocopying), private copy,
cable distribution and so on of over €900.
No formality required to enjoy authors' rights protection
Convention clearly states that "the enjoyment and the exercise of these rights
shall not be subject to any formality".
whether they are freelance or employed, can produce up to four stories a day;
photographers, hundreds of images. Requiring them to register their work in
order to benefit from intellectual property protection would be practically
impossible and would impose impossible administrative burdens.
The need for
identification systems to allow authors to be recognised as creators of their
work should be seen as a priority. The "orphan work" debate has so far failed
to address the necessity to all creators of enforceable moral rights to avoid
orphan works in the future. Subjecting the commercial use of a work to a
compulsory registration within 5 years after the production would contradict
the fundamentals of authors' rights protection, in which authors' rights
protection is vested in the author from the first day of the creation of the
Collective management systems in Europe support creators
We do not
agree that collecting and redistribution systems are "problematic and unfair in
most countries to a majority of creators". While their functioning might be
improved by more transparency, more open governance and extended mandates in
some countries, the collecting and distribution systems function well in others
where journalists are represented in these bodies' boards. They allow them to
receive remuneration for secondary uses (such as reprography, cable
distribution and private copying) - and sometimes for primary uses, when a
collecting society has been specifically mandated for that purpose. Their role
in the management of online uses of journalistic work is key if journalistic works are to be made
available to the widest public as it is practically impossible for an
individual journalist to manage secondary uses of his/her work online.
believe that extended collective licensing managed by duly representatives CMOs
offers a good solution to the digitisation of orphan works.
Remuneration for private copying must be strengthened
2001/29/EC acknowledges authors' and performers' exclusive right to authorise
or prohibit the reproduction of their works. The Directive however authorises
member states to provide exception to this rule with regards to reproduction
made for private use for ends that are not commercial and on condition that the
author receives fair compensation for these uses.
We do not
believe that the introduction of a "content flat rate" would solve the problem
of unauthorised peer-to-peer copying. The introduction of an "online
subscription fee" would go against the right for authors to authorise or
prohibit the reproduction of their work and decide on the use that can be
made of their works. For example, it is fundamental to codes of journalistic
ethics that neither advertisers nor political parties should be able to use
journalists' work without permission. Additionally, a content flat rate would
not differentiate between heavy and light downloaders of content.
Lastly, it is worth noting that many of the major
peer-to-peer sharing sites are commercial, selling ads and making huge profits
while not paying anything for the content being used.
The term of copyright protection
should not be reduced
93/98/EEC sets the term of protection of authors' rights to last 70 years after
the death of the author, and 70 years after the first publication for anonymous
works and those published under pseudonyms. Journalists are authors of their
work and are allowed, as well as their heirs, to decide on future uses of their
works. A seventy-year term of protection stimulates creation, respects the
author's moral right and allows for remuneration when the work is used again.
We do not believe that a patent-like term of protection would meet the same
objectives as authors' rights does, that is maintaining a personal link between
the author and his/her creation.
We thank you
for your attention and look forward to discussing our concerns further with
members of the Greens in the future