EFJ Welcomes Danish Government’s Proposal on Authors’ Rights

The International Federation of Journalists and its regional group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today welcomed the decision of the Danish Government to exclude from its proposal to change the Danish Copyright Act any automatic legal transfer of rights from staff authors to employers.

‘We salute the Danish Government’s decision not to introduce a “work-for-hire rule” in the copyright legislation. It preserves the journalists’ essential rights to determine where their works are re-used and to receive a fair remuneration for these uses,’ said Arne König, EFJ Chair.

The review process of the Danish Copyright Act started in 2006 with the publication of a report from a specialised Committee under the Ministry of Culture. The report was then sent for consultation to a wide range of organisations and public authorities. It did not contain any conclusions, only a description of existing Danish and foreign rules and practices and the views of stakeholders, but publishers and producers claimed that the work-for-hire rule should be introduced in the Danish legislation to support the growth of the media sector.

During the consultation period, the Danish Joint Council of Authors' and Performers' Rights presented the political parties and the Prime Minister with the lack of need for a work-for-hire rule, as well as with the negative impact that such a rule would undoubtedly have on quality, creativity and social dialogue. The Danish Union of Journalists has played a very active role in this coalition of authors and performers.

‘Danish media are doing extremely well. Via active dialogue with employers, authors have contributed to ensuring material of good quality and a high ethical standard without blocking commercial competitiveness,’ added König. ‘The employers’ claim, throughout Europe, that a work-for-hire rule is essential to the growth of the sector is a fallacious one. The signal sent by the Danish Government in this respect is clear.’

The Government draft proposal to change the Copyright Act was unveiled on 5 October 2007, with very broad backing from all political parties. It contains no provision such as the work-for-hire rule. The proposal has now been sent for consultation to a long list of interested parties. It is expected to be adopted by the Parliament during the 2007/2008 session.

Following this campaign, the Swedish collecting society ALIS awarded the Danish Joint Council of Authors' and Performers' Rights its annual prize which is given to individuals or organisations which have done outstanding work to defend and further authors rights.

For more information contact the EFJ at 32 2 235 22 00
The EFJ represents over 220,000 journalists in 47 organisations in 32 countries