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

The 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.

"By 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