To mark International Copyright Day on April 23 the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on media organisations to put an end to rights-grabbing contracts that deprive journalists of a major part of their income and influence over the use of their work.
"The increasing abuse of buy-out contracts whereby media employers require the total ownership of journalists' authors' rights is a great threat to our profession", says Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. "Journalists are often faced with a take it or leave it situation when offered buy-out contracts. We demand the end of these contracts because they are unfair, imbalanced and contravene authors' rights legal regimes throughout the world".
Journalists' authors' rights are protected by international treaties such as the Berne convention and the WIPO Copyright Treaty. While economic rights grant journalists the sole power to authorise use of their works and receive remuneration for it, moral rights enable journalists to be identified in connection with all their works and to defend the integrity of these works.
"Depriving journalists of their economic and moral rights has significant consequences in terms of income but also in terms of ethics by allowing any media organisation to distribute, reuse, or sell journalistic content to third parties without any compensation nor respect of journalists' right of integrity," says Costa.
The IFJ joined the campaign against rights-grabbing contracts initiated by its European regional group, the European Federation of Journalists in March this year. The campaign calls in particular for more awareness raising on authors' rights amongst journalists' unions, targeted actions against media organisations offering rights-grabbing contracts, a general demand for fair remuneration for journalists and effective collective agreements securing strong authors' rights.
Visit the campaign web site: http://www.ifj.org/en/pages/efj-campaign-against-right-grabbing-contracts