Belgian Publishers Demand a Presumption of Transfer of Authors' Rights

(12.02.2014) A study jointly published by the Belgian associations of newspapers and magazines shows a loss of publishers’ revenues due to online re-use of articles without permission nor license.

The study highlights that 11% of articles in Flemish newspapers are not reused correctly online. One of the main concerns is the trend towards “churnalism” whereby articles are being ‘rewritten’ without any additional creative input.

Belgian publishers plead for a presumption of transfer of authors’ rights over all components of written press articles, in order to freely reuse them online.
The Belgian association of journalists (AGJPB) strongly opposes the introduction of such presumption. “By principle we understand and support the concerns expressed by the publishers, concerning piracy and churnalism. However, a presumption of transfer of rights, might be the solution for publishers, but it is certainly not for authors,” said Pol Deltour, National Secretary of the Flemish Belgian Association (AVBB, VVJ). « We, as Belgian unions, strongly oppose this and the law should remain the way it is concerning this topic. That is, determining that journalists should transfer explicitly their authors’ rights to the publisher.” The AJP, French speaking Belgian Association, calls for a global alignment on the matter of non-presumption of transfer of rights. (More information).