Journalists Call for EU-wide Authors’ Rights Protection at Lisbon Conference

The European Federation of Journalists today called on the European Union institutions and national governments to recognise, protect, and enforce journalists’ authors’ rights throughout the union.

An EFJ seminar on ownership of authors’ rights and collective management in the European Union -- held in Lisbon on 5-6th November -- brought together representatives of EFJ-affiliated unions.

The aims of the seminar – organised with the support of the EU Commission -- were to bring journalists up to date with latest developments in the field of authors’ rights, to address current concerns over the lack of authors’ rights protection in Europe and to take concrete action to oppose media employers’ constant attempts to grab journalists’ and photographers’ authors rights and impose buy-out contracts.

Discussions also addressed the role of reprographic rights organisations (RROs) in collecting and distributing to journalists fees for secondary uses of their work, such as photocopying.

The EFJ deplores the situation in many European countries where journalists do not receive any share of the amount collected by RROs. The EFJ is carrying out a survey to assess journalists’ concerns over collective rights management at EU level.

“Our study on authors’ rights’ collective systems shows that journalists do not receive fair treatment in many countries,” said Wolfgang Mayer EFJ Steering Committee member. “The study will serve as a good basis for opening dialogue with editors and reprographic organisations on journalists’ share in the reprographic sector.” Mayer is also the author of the study, which will be released in January 2007.

The seminar concluded by issuing a Declaration calling on EU institutions to recognise and enforce authors’ rights protection for journalists in all media, and opposing any attempt to introduce forced assignment of authors’ rights either in legislation or in employment contracts. All re-use of journalistic works should allow for equitable remuneration, as provided in the EU rules.

The EFJ also called on collecting societies to ensure that they operate democratic and transparent structures and that journalists’ organisations are duly represented within these structures.

To read the declaration click here

The European Federation of Journalists represents over 260,000 journalists across Europe