The French HADAS-LEBEL mission on authors' rights calls for a return to statu quo ante

The French State Consellor Hadas Lebel- which was mandated for a mission on Authors' rights for staff employees- has published a report calling for a return to statu quo ante.

The purpose of the mission consisted in reconsidering a provision contained in French legislation which prohibits the complete assignment of journalists' authors' rights on future works to their employer. The IFJ/ EFJ 's French affiliates, as well as its EU affiliates and US National Writers Union, strongly opposed Hadas Lebel's mission, warning that the adoption of such a provision would contradict the French tradition on authors' rights, challenge freedom of expression and pave the way for the introduction in France of the Anglo-Saxon copyright law, which is detrimental to authors.

In his report presented before the Higher Council for Intellectual Property (CSPLA), Hadas Lebel recognised that the lack of consensus amongst parties at stake (journalists and publishers) led to no concrete decision in relation to the situation of journalists' authors' rights. He acknowledged the importance to protect employees ' authors ' rights and respect the French tradition in the field of authors' rights as opposed to copyright. Hadas Lebel also encouraged the development of collective agreements in the media sector.

At the CSPLA's meeting, Olivier Da Lage, member of both French SNJ and AREG , argued that journalists felt deceived by the objectives of the mission and hoped that the French draft law transposing the EU Directive on authors' rights will not contain any critical amendment on journalists' authors' rights.

Hadas Lebel referred to a possible consensus between journalists and editors on the complete assignment of authors 'rights to employees under substantial safeguards for staff authors. Journalists could indeed agree on a compromise which would include collective bargaining and a strict respect of the French authors' rights law.