IFJ/EFJ Calls for Actions to End Unfair Contractual Practices



To mark the International Copyright Day 2012 on 23 April, The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its regional group, the European Federation

of Journalists (EFJ), join forces with songwriters, composers, film directors,

screenwriters, illustrators, photographers and visual authors across Europe to

launch a public campaign aiming to bring an end to the unfair contractual

practices facing creators. 

"On this occasion, we recall the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist

(1980) and urge national governments and social partners to

commit to the aim of the Recommendation in providing the necessary

socio-economic safeguards to which journalists are entitled." says Jim

Boumelha, IFJ President.


In a petition letter sent to members of

the European Parliament and the European Commission, the group of creators

denounced the act of coercive commissioning and unfair contractual agreements

being imposed upon creators by some of Europe's biggest broadcasters and

publishing companies. They support the complaint brought by the European Composers and Songwriters

Alliance (ECSA) on January 17th against a group of European broadcasters and

their alleged anti-competitive practices through coercive commissioning and

unfair contractual agreements.

"Today authors are frequently coerced to waive, or

assign parts of our statutory authors' rights in the name of freedom of

contract and flexibility," the group denounced. "Flexibility, which merely allows

producers and financiers to impose one sided contracts on individual authors

with impunity."

"The current system is far from fair for

creators," said Arne König, EFJ President, "The ECSA case illustrates a wider

problem in which a distortion of the market and unfair competition exist."

"Journalists and creators need fair trade

too," said König, "If journalists are chosen not because of their professional

qualifications, but on the basis of their willingness to assign more rights, or

in worst case, waive all their rights, or work for free, this will ultimately

have a negative impact on the quality of information they provide to the



group warned that if the situation left unresolved, Europe's culture and

democratic values will be at stake because a distorted market will stifle

creativity. They demand that all contractual agreements for creators should

comply with the eight unwaivable author's rights principles.

The EFJ urges Europe's policy-makers to act by

creating a leveled-playing field to improve the negotiating power of

creators.  The EFJ says that there currently no enforceable instrument at

EU level that ensures fairness in contractual agreements for creators who often

find themselves as victims in a distorted market. 

Please sign up to the petition now to

end coercive contractual practices for creators! 


The group of creators include the International/European

Federation of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ), the Federation

of European Film Directors (FERA), the Federation of

Screenwriters Europe (FSE), the European Visual Artists (EVA), the European

Composers and Songwriters Alliance (ECSA), the European Illustrators

Forum's (EIF) and Pyramide Europe.

For more information, please

contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries