The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have urged members of the Spanish parliament to give full recognition and protection to the authors' rights of journalists.
The call comes as the Spanish Parliament prepares to debate a controversial Authors' Rights Bill. The Bill was presented by the Spanish government on 14 February and will be the subject of intense political debate in the Parliament before its adoption.
In a letter addressed to Spanish MPs, the IFJ and EFJ ask them to support the call by their Spanish affiliates, the Federación de Asociaciones de la Prensa Española (FAPE), Federation of Unions of Journalists (FeSP), Federación de Servicios a la Ciudadania de CC.OO (FSC-CC.OO) and ELA-Gizalan, that journalists receive full recognition of their authors' rights in the Bill.
The IFJ and the EFJ denounce the authors' rights' confiscation phenomenon at stake in Spain and call on the parliament to send a strong message that authors remain the holders of their rights over the content and that those rights can only be licensed against payment reflecting the uses that will be made of these works.
"In full solidarity with our affiliates gathered in the Spanish Platform for Journalists' Authors' Rights we urge Spanish MPs to recognise journalists as authors, define journalistic works so that they are not considered as collective works, and guarantee journalists the right to decide on the use and re-use of their work," said EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård.
The IFJ and the EFJ point to the European Commission's communication on "A single market for intellectual property rights," from 24 May 2011, which states that "Journalists are authors and their work is important not only because they report, comment on and interpret the world we live in but also because freedom of the press is living testimony to Europe's pluralistic and democratic society".
The federations also highlight a recent European Parliament's study on contractual arrangements applicable to creators that provides strong evidence of the rights' confiscation trend in the media.
The IFJ and the EFJ highlight the importance of protecting professional photographs as creative works that demand authors' rights protection. They also support the need for Spanish journalists to participate in the Spanish commission for intellectual property rights which will set the guidelines for the new authors' rights law.
"Taking part in this Commission would allow journalists to have their say along other professional creators when issues of infringement of authors rights and other known misuses such as "piracy", "computer hacking" or "intellectual theft" are being addressed" said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "This is an important step for the full recognition of our colleagues among the list of authors in Spain, as it is the case in other European countries".
Read the full letter HEREFor more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries