IFJ Congress Condemns New Moves to Deprive French and Belgian Journalists of Their Authors’ Rights

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the new threats on journalists’ authors’ rights protection in France and in Belgium, at its XXV Congress meeting in Athens from 25 to 30 May 2004.

The IFJ denounces in particular a recent campaign of printed press publishers in Belgium aimed at grabbing journalists’ authors’ rights by introducing a presumption of transfer on their behalf in the authors’ rights law.

In France, the bill implementing the European directive on copyright and related rights in the information society unfavourably amends current provisions of the intellectual property code. The code currently stipulates that the existence of an employment contract does not deprive by any means the employed journalist of his/her authors’ rights.

“The implementation of the European directive on copyright and related rights in the information society is used as an excuse to introduce legal provisions contrary to authors’ rights tradition in France” said the Congress. “Two of the most protective European legislation regarding journalists’ authors’ rights are being challenged following the initiative of employers who already deliberately deny their intellectual property legal obligations”.

In a resolution, the congress delegates unanimously called upon concerned governments and parliaments “not to give in to pressures from media employers, motivated by commercial considerations, but to uphold and reaffirm the current balance and ownership of authors’ rights by journalists”.

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The IFJ represents over 500 000 journalists in more than 100 countries