World Copyright Day: Give Journalists Rights to Control Their Work, Says IFJ

Apr. 24, 2007

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today marked World Copyright Day with a new call for lawmakers and governments to protect journalists rights to own and control their work.

Authors rights are essential to the quality of journalism and to the future of our profession. They provide vital income for a journalist and they help the defence of professional ethics, said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. They play a crucial role in developing and maintaining a free press and democracy.

The struggle for protection of authors rights has been a key campaign for the IFJ in recent years as publishers have sought to grab control of all rights of journalists in order to exploit new technologies that allow them to recycle and reuse the work of journalists across different platforms.

On April 23, which has been nominated by the United Nations World Copyright Day, the IFJ reiterates its demand for protection of these rights to ensure that journalists do not lose out in the rush to develop new media markets and also to highlight the link between rights protection and the sustainable creation of diverse high-quality media content that meets ethical standards.

The IFJ has issued a checklist of guiding principles for authors rights protection:

? All journalistic works – whether text, photo, audiovisual or other must be protected and all creators of journalistic works must be recognised as authors whether freelances, employed, or work for hire or on contract.

? All journalists must have full economic rights based on an exclusive rights to authorise the making available, publication or broadcast of their work.

? All journalists must have moral rights the right to be named as the author and the right of integrity and these rights must be unwaivable.

? All forced legal transfer of authors rights of use (work-for-hire clauses and similar rules) must be abolished for staff and freelance authors alike.

? All authors must be given protection against undue pressure to enter into unfair contacts following individual negotiations, and be guaranteed equitable remuneration.

? All staff and freelances must also have the right of collective bargaining regarding authors rights of use (collective negotiations need not be subject to special protection)

? Legislation that supports rights clearance through collective rights management societies and collective licensing should be upheld where it exists and introduced where it does not and is appropriate.

At a time when media is experiencing a crisis of confidence, it is high time for all stakeholders to take positive steps to encourage the sustainable production of quality content, said White. World Copyright Day is the moment to reaffirm that an effective protection of authors rights is one of these steps.

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