The leading voice in European Copyright Policy,
Commissioner Michel Barnier, has given strong backing to the European
Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its members in their fight to protect
journalists' authors' rights.
On 24 January, Mr Barnier, the Commissioner
responsible for the Internal Market and Services in the European Union took the
opportunity of a meeting with EFJ representatives to underscore the important
role journalists play in Europe's democracy and cultural diversity.
"Journalists have a key role to play in upholding
Europe's democracy, and make an invaluable contribution to Europe's economy and
cultural industry," said Commissioner Barnier: "We are in the process of updating copyright rules in
Europe to adapt them to a digital age. One important element will be to ensure
the appropriate protection of journalists' authors' rights."
The EFJ warned that there is a growing threat to
journalists' authors' rights in the digital age. "Journalistic works are often
used or misused without prior consent from the author," said Phillippe Leruth,
the EFJ Vice President, "They are also under increasing pressure to sign away
all their rights for the works they produced."
The delegation also warned that discussion at the
international level on copyright exception poses a threat to Europe's authors'
rights tradition, which enshrines the principles of economic rights of authors
and their moral rights - the rights to be identified and to protect the
integrity of their work. The EFJ asked the Commissioner to uphold
the European authors' rights tradition and avoid any copyright exception that
would weaken the rights of authors.
The Commission is currently preparing a strategy on intellectual property rights adapted to the
digital era, which will include a legislative proposal on orphan works (works whose authors are unknow) and collective rights management. Commissioner Barnier assured the delegation that
"the European legislative framework will allow creators, including journalists,
to be appropriately remunerated for their works, and to enforce their rights when they are
The EFJ said, "We welcome the commitment from
Commissioner Barnier to defending journalism as a public good and upholding the
European authors' rights system."
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The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in more than 30 countries