To mark the International Copyright Day 2012 on 23 April, The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its regional group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), join forces with songwriters, composers, film directors, screenwriters, illustrators, photographers and visual authors across Europe to launch a public campaign aiming to bring an end to the unfair contractual practices facing creators.
"On this occasion, we recall the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist (1980) and urge national governments and social partners to commit to the aim of the Recommendation in providing the necessary socio-economic safeguards to which journalists are entitled." says Jim Boumelha, IFJ President.
In a petition letter sent to members of the European Parliament and the European Commission, the group of creators denounced the act of coercive commissioning and unfair contractual agreements being imposed upon creators by some of Europe's biggest broadcasters and publishing companies. They support the complaint brought by the European Composers and Songwriters Alliance (ECSA) on January 17th against a group of European broadcasters and their alleged anti-competitive practices through coercive commissioning and unfair contractual agreements.
"Today authors are frequently coerced to waive, or assign parts of our statutory authors' rights in the name of freedom of contract and flexibility," the group denounced. "Flexibility, which merely allows producers and financiers to impose one sided contracts on individual authors with impunity."
"The current system is far from fair for creators," said Arne König, EFJ President, "The ECSA case illustrates a wider problem in which a distortion of the market and unfair competition exist."
"Journalists and creators need fair trade too," said König, "If journalists are chosen not because of their professional qualifications, but on the basis of their willingness to assign more rights, or in worst case, waive all their rights, or work for free, this will ultimately have a negative impact on the quality of information they provide to the public."
The group warned that if the situation left unresolved, Europe's culture and democratic values will be at stake because a distorted market will stifle creativity. They demand that all contractual agreements for creators should comply with the eight unwaivable author's rights principles.
The EFJ urges Europe's policy-makers to act by creating a leveled-playing field to improve the negotiating power of creators. The EFJ says that there currently no enforceable instrument at EU level that ensures fairness in contractual agreements for creators who often find themselves as victims in a distorted market.
Please sign up to the petition now to end coercive contractual practices for creators!
The group of creators include the International/European Federation of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ), the Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), the Federation of Screenwriters Europe (FSE), the European Visual Artists (EVA), the European Composers and Songwriters Alliance (ECSA), the European Illustrators Forum's (EIF) and Pyramide Europe.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries