FUJ Seeking Appeal against Unfair Contracts on Freelancers

Suomen Journalistiliitto, the Union of Journalists in Finland (FUJ) is seeking an appeal  in the High Court against the Finnish Market Court’s decision to dismiss the case of unfair contracts imposed on 550 freelancers by the Sanoma News Group (SNG). 

The dispute started in May 2009 when SNG demanded its freelancers to give 'exclusive' and 'full' rights of the materials they produce to the company without additional remunerations for future publications. These also include the right to modify the copyrighted materials of freelancers, to publish them in another form of expression (e.g. digital format) and to sell them to other publishers for publishing without additional remunerations. 

The company also demanded freelancers to bear the legal responsibility and expenses in case of future disputes. 

On 20 January, the Market Court dealing with competition and employment disputes in Helsinki ruled that the terms laid down by the SNG comply with the Finnish law regulating the conditions of agreement between different business parties. 

However, Petri Savolainen of the Union Ombudsman described the court's decision as 'shocking' and 'disappointing'. 

‘The new agreement is unacceptable as it exploits freelancers’ work without additional remuneration,’ he said. 

The FUJ and the EFJ warned that this decision could set a precedent for media companies to further exploit freelancers. The board of the FUJ decided on 22 January to make an appeal in the Finnish High Court against the Market Court's decision. 

For more information and sending your support to FUJ, please visit: http://www.journalistliitto.fi or contact: 

Petri Savolainen: [email protected] 

Juha Rekola:[email protected]