The European Federation of Journalists
(EFJ) today welcomed the decision by the US court to reject Agence
France-Presse's (AFP) license claim over iconic photographs of the Haiti
earthquake in 2009 taken by the Haitian photographer Daniel Morel.
The EFJ says the Morel case is a
victory for authors’ rights. “This is an encouraging sign in the battle to
defend authors’ rights,” said Arne König, EFJ President. “Hopefully, the Morel case will set the legal precedence to prevent the unauthorised use of creators’
works in future.”
The legal dispute between Morel and
AFP began on 13 January 2009 when Morel uploaded his photographs of the
Haiti earthquake on the social networking website, Twitpic. The AFP published
Morel’s photographs without obtaining his permission and wrongly credited Mr.
Lisandro Suero, who had re-posted Morel’s pictures, as the author.
When confronted later by Morel, the
AFP argued that Morel granted third parties (including AFP) a broad license to
use his photographs posted on Twitpic. However, the US district court in New
York rejected the AFP’s arguments in its recent rulingon 23
“The unfair terms and conditions for
the use of content existing in social media websites pose a growing threat to
protect authors’ rights online,” said König. “Journalists should remain
cautious and wary of unfair terms and conditions when posting their works on
social networking sites.”
“The violation of Morel’s authors’
rights is also due to the failure of the media, which failed to follow standard
journalistic practices to verify the authorship and authenticity of the
photographs before the publication,” said EFJ, “Users of the social media
content should not further abuse these unfair terms but to respect the authors’
rights of creators.”
Leaders of journalists’ unions in Europe
denounced AFP in the Morel case on 11 December in a seminar on Authors’ Rights in the Digital
Age: A Fair Deal for Journalists held by the EFJ in Thessaloniki
and called for more authors’ rights protection in the digital age.
The EFJ is
currently developing an authors’ rights handbook for journalists and new
strategies to address the latest problems and violations of journalists’ authors’
rights in the digital age.
For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235 2200
The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in over 30 European countries