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Authors' Rights




Unions demand fair pay over copyright bill

(22.3.2013) German unions DJV and dju in ver.di denounced the recently passed copyright bill by the upper house of the German parliament that allows publishers to charge Google and other search engines for reproducing the content.

The unions condemned the bill for neglecting the interest of journalists and other creators who should receive a fair share of the profits made by publishers and Google. The DJV said that individual journalists will not benefit directly from the new law unless a collective agreement is reached between journalists and publishers allowing journalists to share the profits made from their works.

The proposed bill will give “producers (i.e. publishers) of news materials” the general “exclusive right to make said materials publicly available, in whole or in part, for commercial purpose”.

A recent amendment made to the law also allows online aggregators to use "individual words or the smallest excerpts of text" for free. However, the definition of “very small text” still remains unclear. News aggregators and search engines are likely to pay for a licence fee for the use of snippets in order to avoid costly legal disputes.

“Any profit gained must not singularly benefit the publishers and leave out completely the authors,” criticised DJV’s Federal chairman Michael Konken.

dju. ver. di called on publishers to open talks over measures to ensure fair payment to journalists. Cornelia Hass, Secretary General of dju.ver.di said, "Journalists must be able to benefit from the new law. Any profit made from their works must be fairly distributed to journalists through collecting societies." (Read more in German on the DJV and dju in ver.di websites)

Union reaches agreement on photo fees

(1.3.2013) The German Journalists’ Union (DJV) finally reached an agreement with newspaper publisher BDZV on photo fees.

After a series of tough negotiations, the union agreed a set of rates for photojournalists ranging from € 19.50 to € 75.50 for the first publication of the photograph depending on the circulation of the paper and its column size. A photographer can receive €14.5 to €56 for the secondary use of his work.

The union said that this is a realistic outcome although the rate is lower than those in the existing collective agreement for journalists. Benno H. Pöppelmann, the lawyer at DJV said that the negotiation process has been difficult but the agreement provides a guarantee of fees to photojournalists. (Read more in Germany)

Google struck deal with publisher behind journalists

(21.02.2013)The French affiliates SNJ and SNJ-CGT criticised the deal struck between newspaper publishers and Google saying that the agreement was signed behind the journalists back. Under the deal, Google agreed to pay 60 million euro to set up a fund for publishers to develop their digital units. 

The SNJ-CGT criticised that the “business partnership” between Google and publishers is unacceptable because authors are still deprived of their legitimate rights to claim fair payment. According to the French Copyright Act, journalists are entitled to claim payment from revenues generated from their works by third parties (i.e. Google in this case).  However, the deal as it stands, does not guarantee a fair share of the revenue for journalists in French. The journalists unions in France are currently in talk to prepare a response. (Read more in French at SNJ and SNJ-CGT websites in French).

US court rejects Meltwater’s fair use claim

(22.3.2013) Meltwater, a news aggregator founded in Norway saw its claim for fair use by the US District court after a long legal dispute with Associated Press (AP).

The judge said that the news clipping service provided by Metlwater cannot be considered as fair use because it obtained “unfair commercial advantage” and “harmed the creator” according to the US Copyright Act. The judge supported AP’s argument saying that Meltwater “injures AP's ability to perform this essential function of democracy” by taking the fruit of AP's labour for its own profit, without compensating AP.  (Read more or download the ruling HERE)
Photographer won Twitter copyright case

Daniel Morel, the Haitian photographer finally given a landmark victory by the US court in a long-time legal dispute over the use of his work on social media.

The ruling gave a blow to Agence-France Press (AFP) and the Washington Post which were said to violate the copyright of Morel.  The court rejected the argument that by posting the images on Twitter, Morel agreed to Twitter's terms of service and granted a license to AFP and third parties to use the images. If Morel succeeds in his claims, he can receive up to $1.2m for compensation. (Read more)

EFJ joined Licences for Europe stakeholders' dialogue

(19.02.2013) The European Commission has launched an initiative called “Licences for Europe” aiming to bring together stakeholders in the creative and cultural sector to find a practical solution to remove barriers to access copyright protected materials online. Stakeholders, including the EFJ, had its first meeting to discuss the main issues at stake.

One of the main topics discussed concerns user-generated content (UGC) online which is currently growing in the sector. These contents can consist in adapting existing protected works such as photographs for creating a new content.  The definition of created content was defined by an EU official as the “reuse of pre-existing works, adaptations or adding”. The Commission intends to legalise the access to and usage of user-generated content by the public as well as companies.

The EFJ stressed that there is a need for a strict definition for UGC to prevent journalistic content from falling into the category. The EFJ said that any use of copyrighted content should be remunerated fairly. The EFJ further highlighted the ethical issue over the use of UGC and the need to enforce the moral rights of journalists.

As a member of the Licences for Europe stakeholders' dialogue, the EFJ will continue to participate in the dialogue and make sure the interests of journalists is voiced.  (Read more)
EU Copyright Reform to Guarantee Fair Pay for Authors

(7.2.2013) The EFJ welcomed the call by Antonio Vitorino, the European Commission's mediator on copyright contract law reform, for a fair share of licence revenues for journalists and other creators.

While the EFJ condemned Mr. Vitorino’s severe attack against private copy levies and the revenues they bring to authors, it welcomed the mediator’s recommendations to introduce mandatory rules in copyright contract law or labour law to ensure authors and performers receive an adequate share of income generated from their works. He further rightly points out that authors and performers suffer from a lack of bargaining power and that there is a need to improve the situation.

The European parliament will produce a report on Vitorino’s work in the months. Read Mr Vitorino's Recommendations HERE.
European Parliament makes progress in copyright reform on collective rights management

(18.3.2013) The European Parliament continued the debate on the proposed law regulating collecting societies and multi-territorial licensing of rights online with stakeholders to achieve an agreement which benefit both creators and consumers.

During a public hearing held by the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on 18 March, Marielle Gallo, the rapporteur for the proposed directive on collective right management, said that progress has been made on the negotiations among parliamentarians responsibile for the issue. Gallo emphasised that the directive will benefit creators because they will have more control of collecting societies and so they will be better remunerated.

At a recent hearing on the same issue held by the German deputy for the Green party, Helga Trüppel ,the European Commission reassured the EFJ that trade unions would not fall under the definition of collecting societies and that clarifications will be provided in the text, possibly through an amendment.

The proposed directive was adopted by the European Commission in July 2012 which will become applicable law in the EU once it has been passed by the European Parliament and the Council.

How to add bylines to content online

(12.03.2013) For online journalists or writers, keeping track of your authorship online is not so easy. Adding a byline to your content can help but it can easily be removed. Recently, Google introduced a new feature called Google Authorship that automatically adds bylines to your content (including photographs) online through your Google Plus account.

According to Google, the story will show up higher in Google search result if you link your content to your Google Plus account. However, the downside is that you may lose your anonymity and privacy, and they will not necessarily get you paid.  (Read more)
9.1.2013 Posting of a photo under a pseudonym does not prove authorship
18.12.2012 Commission calls for innovative solutions to open access to online content
21.11.2012 IFJ Statement at WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights
2.11.2012 Journalist Heikki Jokinen elected for IFRRO board
28.11.2012 Petition on authors' rights
18-20 April 2013, Geneva

23 April 2013, Global

4 June 2013, Dublin
4-5 June 2013, Washington

17-28 June 2013, Geneva
WIPO Informal Session and Special Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights
World Book and Copyright Day - the IFJ will launch an online protest against unfair contracts
IFJ World Congress
World Creators Summit
WIPO Diplomatic Conference to conclude a Treaty to facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities
For more information, please contact Pamela Moriniere or Yuk Lan Wong. You can also visit the IFJ Authors' Rights page.
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