IFJ Denounces Attempts by Freedom of Expression Group to Weaken Copyright Protection for Journalists


International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today denounced a set of

principles issued by Article 19 to unduly restrict creators' copyright protection.

In a letter

addressed to Article 19 Executive Director, Agnès Callamard, the IFJ has raised

its concerns over "The right to share: principles of freedom of Expression and

Copyright in the Digital Age", a document that opposes two fundamental rights that

safeguard the independence and the integrity of the journalistic profession.

To view the letter, please click here.


opposing freedom of expression and copyright protection, "The right to share

" assumes a conflict between two fundamental rights that should, on the

contrary, be seen as complementary", say the IFJ. "Both promote the rights of

creators - whether professional or not - 

to be creative, to receive an appropriate reward when their work is used

commercially, to ensure that the work is accessed by the widest audience, to be

identified as authors if they wish - and, crucially, to ensure that there is

respect for its integrity".

While the

IFJ is a strong defender of freedom of information in the digital world it

insists that those who write, broadcast and in important cases take enormous

risks to convey that information should be adequately rewarded for their work.

"A document

such as the "Right to share-principles" can add additional damage to a

profession which is already in a very weak position and thus contribute to

further weakening of the freedom of information that is essential to any

democracy of informed citizens" says the IFJ.

The letter

points to Article 27.2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which grants

authors the protection of their moral and material interests in their work.

"It is true

that copies of our work can be made available across borders on an

unprecedented scale and at minimal costs but it is unfair to say that copyright

laws need to adapt "to keep pace with digital technology", says the IFJ. "Press

photographers in particular face a situation in which the high quality of

scanning systems now allows for any magazine to use their work for free without

any authorisation. We fail to understand how an adaptation of copyright laws

could respond to this lack of control over uses of their works".

Lastly, the

IFJ has denounced the proposals to broaden the list of exceptions to copyright

pointing in particular at the risks that this would pave on authors' ability to

control the use made over their work, to protect the integrity of their work,

to defend their right to be identified and prevent them gaining revenue for

exploitation of their work.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries

To view Article 19's response to the IFJ click here