Fair trade for creators must be transparent
The International Federation of Journalists congratulates the Chair and the Secretariat team for their
excellent hard work on this session and welcomes progress toward an instrument ensuring fair access to
creators' works by people with print disabilities worldwide.
The International Federation of Journalists represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries. It
defends press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent trade unions of journalists. I
am one of those journalists.
We recall WIPO's mission to administer a body of law that "rewards creativity, stimulates innovation
and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest". That economic
development depends on ensuring that fair reward, not just for the intermediaries who distribute authors' and
performers' work - but the actual humans who do the creative work.
Further, and centrally to WIPO's mission: there is some empirical survey evidence that public perception
of the legitimacy of authors' rights legislation is dependent on members of the public feeling confident
that a fair share of what they pay to use creative works goes to the authors and performers - the individual,
And, in order to "safeguard the public interest", national and international legislation must recognise
the huge number of individual citizens who are now published creators, thanks to social media. In this
connection the countries with droit d'auteur legislation can and should take pride that theirs is the
appropriate model to be developed for the online age.
But, even in droit d'auteur jurisdictions, individual creators face pressure to sign unfair contracts. In
particular, these contracts hand over to the intermediaries that distribute their works all rights to payment for
secondary uses. In the copyright countries, they frequently allow the publishers and broadcasters to claim
"assignment" - all rights of authorship.
These unfair contracts are incompatible with the maintenance and development of the vibrant and
independent base of independent, professional creativity on which the "information economy" is founded. In
the case of journalism, there are further critical reasons for defending the independent reporting that is
essential to holding states and corporations to account - which depends on independent reporters' survival.
The International Federation of Journalists believes that in the case of limitations to authors' rights, and
of solutions such as extended collective licensing, given the imbalance of negotiating power between the
individual creators we represent and their intermediaries, the protection of an inalienable right to equitable
remuneration is merited. A similar right should be developed for primary uses, as the legislature of Germany
did in 2002 and that of the Netherlands has debated this year.
This raises challenging legal issues in some jurisdictions, though they are not insuperable anywhere. In
the near future, the IFJ believes it is worth exploring ideas such a "Fair Trade" indication, displayed where
creators' work is distributed in accordance with a code of good practice. We invite member states to work
together on proposals such as this.
Immediately, the IFJ welcomes the contributions which have sought to ensure that a future instrument
protecting the legitimate rights of broadcasters does not dilute the focus of the Berne and subsequent
Conventions on the rights of the individual creator - a focus needed now more than ever.
And, again, we welcome the progress made toward ensuring that people with print disabilities can
access creative works while respecting the needs of creators, whether sighted or blind.