The exploitation of intellectual property rights is a topic for virtually every government, major company and economic forum worldwide. Journalists are among those who must have intellectual property rights too! These rights are called authors' rights.
The IFJ authors' rights programme calls for journalists to be recognised as the authors of the work they create, have control on any further use of their work and receive fair payment for it, whether their works are exploited off line or online. We oppose the Anglo-American copyright system which deprives all staff and most freelances of these rights.
Authors' rights are not only economic rights. Journalists, photographers and media professionals also need strong legal protection of their moral rights, including the right to be named as the author and the right to protect their content from being used in a detrimental way or context. In the Anglo-American copyright system, authors can be, and are, coerced into signing away their moral rights.
The right for individuals to exercise control over their work is crucial to maintaining ethical standards, which define and guarantee quality journalism. Too often journalists are forced to sign buy-out contracts whereby all their rights are assigned to their employers without additional payment for reuse.
The online exploitation of journalistic works, either by media employers, social media, search engines or third parties has raised some concrete challenges such as the need to authorise uses, be paid for them, to object to certain uses and sue infringers. The IFJ supports its members in providing the most appropriate solutions and ensuring journalists retain their authors’ rights.
We support legal harmonisation of authors' rights throughout the world with the aim of bringing all countries to the level of protection that exists in continental Europe. We also demand that collective bargaining rights for creators should be established where they do not exist.
The IFJ’s authors' rights work is supported by the Authors’ Rights Expert Group (AREG), which is composed of journalists and lawyers. The group meets on a regular basis to identify current threats to authors' rights and to plan appropriate actions to defend and support journalists and their unions who are fighting for higher standards of protection.