Parliament Study Reveals Unfairness in Authors’ Rights Contracts

The European Parliament Legal affairs committee has published a study assessing the impact of abusive provisions in national authors’ rights and contract law have on creators.  

The results of the study shows a series of unfair provisions and contractual arrangement  that impede journalists and other creators from receiving fairly remuneration for their work.

Results takes stock of existing contractual practices. They point at a series of unfair provisions and contractual mechanisms that impede journalists and other creators from being fairly remunerated for their work.

“The results the study clearly illustrate the unfairness of journalists’s contracts and the lack of recognition of journalists’s authors’ rights by media houses,” said Ricardo Gutierrez, EFJ General Secretary.

“It has highlighted the existence of excessive contracts, whose scope goes far beyond what is in fact necessary for the effective exploitation of the work of journalists. We hope that the recommendations drawn from this study will be fully taken on baord by the European Parliament “

The study has examined at eight EU member states: France, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, UK, Poland, Sapin. The EFJ and a number of its EFJ affiliates also took part in the study.

In its final recommendations the study reflects on unfair terms model in consumer protection as inspiration for balancing the contractual bargaining between the creator and the transferee. It also recommends certain formalities (e.g. contracts in written form), a black list of terms that cannot be employed in contracts, the introduction of a general principle of adequate remuneration in national copyright laws, the unwaivability of remuneration rights.  It also recommend the launch of a study on the remuneration of authors and the determination of the remuneration of the author in the contract for each mode of exploitation and points at  the introduction of collective actions on behalf of authors.