EFJ applauds European Parliament Study on Contractual Arrangements applicable to creators

(10.02.14) The European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee released a study assessing the provisions of national authors’ rights and contract law that affect creators’ bargaining power and contracts to exploit their works in the EU.

The study released on 10th February looked at eight EU member states: France, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, UK, Poland and Spain. The EFJ and a number of its EFJ affiliates also took part.
The results take stock of existing contractual practices. They point at a series of unfair provisions and contractual mechanisms that impede journalists and other creators from being fairly remunerated for their work.

“The study’s results clearly illustrate the unfairness of journalists’ contracts and the lack of recognition of journalists’ authors’ rights by media houses”, said Ricardo Gutierrez, EFJ General Secretary. “It highlights for instance the existence of excessive contracts, whose scope goes far beyond what is in fact necessary for the effective exploitation of the work such as buy out contracts. We hope that the recommendations drawn from this study will be fully taken on board by the new European parliament legislature.“

In its final recommendations the study reflects on the unfair terms model in consumer protection as an inspiration for balancing the contractual bargaining between the creator and the transferee. It also recommends certain formalities (e.g. contracts in written form), a black list of terms that cannot be employed in contracts, the introduction of a general principle of adequate remuneration in national copyright laws and the unwaivability of remuneration rights.  It also recommends the launch of a study on the remuneration of authors and the determination of the remuneration of the author in the contract for each mode of exploitation and points at the introduction of collective actions on behalf of authors.

Read full study.