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
"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