DIRECTIVE ON COPYRIGHT IN THE DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET
JOURNALISTS’ STATEMENT ON THE NEIGHBOURING RIGHT FOR PRESS PUBLICATIONS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE TRIPARTITE NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL AND THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION.
In the context of the tripartite negotiations on the Copyright Proposal, the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ), respectively the world and Europe’s largest journalists’ organisations, call on EU institutions to stand up for journalism by safeguarding journalists’ fair and proportionate remuneration from the new neighboring right and strengthening the Proposal’s transparency provisions.
The IFJ and EFJ reiterate their grave concerns about the rampant reproduction and misuse of journalists’ works online by third parties without authorisation or remuneration. The practice has led to the weakening of the media industry and created serious threats to independent journalism and thus to democracy worldwide.
The federations also express concerns regarding the weakening of the authors’ bargaining position and the unfair licensing practices and buy-out contracts they too often have been forced to accept, to make a living.
If implemented fairly, a neighboring right for press publications can help counter threats to independent journalism and the massive reproduction of journalistic works.
The organisations therefore call on the European Council, Commission and Parliament, currently negotiating the proposal, to address these issues and ensure a fair and proportionate share of the new revenue will trickle down to authors (Article -14) and strong transparency measures will be put in place to ensure this is enforced (Articles 14 to 16).
These transparency measures introduce a reporting obligation on the exploitation of journalistic works and the revenues generated. This is a significant improvement in a sector where reporting mechanisms are widely disregarded. Journalists must be informed of the use of their works and revenues generated from this use, whether online, in print, or in broadcasting.
Journalists should also be able to claim extra payment when the exploitation of their work overtakes the original contract’s terms. They must be given the opportunity to address disputes through mediation mechanisms or courts and to be represented by their unions in these instances.
Journalists’ federations have in recent months joined forces with other authors’ groups to support these principles, which have ultimately been backed by over 130 authors’ organizations across Europe. Following the adoption of the Proposal on 12 September, a coalition of authors’ groups including the IFJ/EFJ have formulated a number of recommendations regarding the wording of some of these provisions, outlined in the attached document.
Journalists’ federations have also led a joint campaign with European publishers’ federations (1) to support a neighboring right for press publications, whose revenue is fairly and proportionately distributed between publishers and journalists. This campaign called for maintaining the journalists’ fair share from the new neighbouring right. A joint approach and wording of Recital 35 (cf. footnote (2)) were also agreed to ensure a fair share for journalists, irrespective of the contractual terms concluded between publishers and authors and of national industry licensing standards.
But an alternative version of Recital 35 adopted on 12 September has triggered genuine concerns in the journalists’ community that the neighboring right might only benefit the industry, leaving authors behind. If upheld, the restrictions in this provision would have very damaging consequences on authors, restricting or barring their benefit of the neighboring right.
The Federations therefore therefore call on EU institutions to adopt an amended version of Recital 35 and caution against the adoption of any Proposal that would marginalize authors or deprive them of a fair and proportionate share of the new revenue.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is the world's largest organisation of journalists, representing over 600,000 members in 140 countries. The IFJ promotes international action to defend press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent trade unions of journalists. It speaks for journalists within the United Nations system and the international trade union movement.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is the largest organisation of journalists in Europe, representing over 320,000 journalists in 70 journalists’ organisations across 44 countries. The EFJ fights for social and professional rights of journalists working in all sectors of the media across Europe and is recognised by the European Union and the Council of Europe as the representative voice of journalists in Europe.
(1) Joint statements on 4 July and 28 August 2018: https://europeanjournalists.org/blog/2018/07/04/journalists-and-press-publishers-agree-on-new-wording-on-publishers-right/ and http://www.ifj.org/nc/news-single-view/backpid/51/article/statement-on-publishers-right-from-journalists-and-publishers/
(2) Recital 35: "The protection granted to publishers of press publications under this Directive should not affect the rights of the authors and other right holders in the works and other subject-matter incorporated therein, including as regards the extent to which authors and other right holders can exploit their works or other subject-matter independently from the press publication in which they are incorporated. Therefore, publishers of press publications should not be able to invoke the protection granted to them against authors and other right holders. Authors whose work is incorporated in a press publication shall be entitled to an appropriate share of the new additional revenues press publishers receive for the secondary use of their press publications by information society service providers in respect to the rights provided for in Article 11 paragraph 1."