Time to grant Spanish journalists full authors’ rights protection, says IFJ/EFJ


The lack of protection of journalists’ authors rights in Spain undermines their living standards and journalism ethics.

A delegation of the IFJ/EFJ authors’ rights expert group (AREG) members met in Madrid on 2-3 October in solidarity with Spanish affiliates (FES-CC.OO, FESP, FAPE, ELA) to develop a strategy to change Spanish intellectual property law for a better protection of journalists’ rights. The print sector was specifically targeted.

To date, Spanish publications are considered as collective works and journalists cannot claim any recognition for their authors’ rights, either from a moral rights’ (right to integrity and paternity) or an economic rights’ (remuneration for further uses) perspective.

“We are concerned that Spain is not effectively complying with the International Berne Convention and that journalists do not have access to justice”, said Mike Holderness, chair of the AREG group and a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK.

“We are facing a moral destruction of our profession”, said Marta Barcenilla, representative of the Spanish affiliate FES-CC.OO . “We need to rebuild the credibility of the press in Spain and this includes the protection of journalists’ moral rights to protect the integrity of their works”.

Constructive discussions took place with representatives of political parties Podemos, Ciudadanos, the Partido Popular (PP) and the Socialist party (PSOE). The delegation highlighted the spread of buy-out contracts and the lack of recognition of the benefits of moral rights for journalists. All political groups acknowledged the importance of journalists’ authors’ rights protection and the need to overcome the legislation loopholes.

The political groups agreed to work together with the IFJ/EFJ and their affiliates to amend Spanish intellectual property law and advocate for authors’ rights protection at EU level.

“It was encouraging to hear how interested the political representatives were in the issues facing journalists and the effect of the lack of authors’ rights for journalists”, said Holderness.

The IFJ/EFJ delegation included: Marta Barcenilla, FES-CC.OO (Spain), Manuel Mediavilla, FESP, (Spain), Mogens Blicher Bjerregård (EFJ President), Pamela Morinière (IFJ), Mike Holderness, NUJ (UK and Ireland), Olle Wilof, Jornalistforbundet (Sweden), Martin O’Hanlon, CWA (Canada), Sana Nikula (Finnish union of Journalists), Rüdiger Luhr, Ver.di, (Germany).

Credit photo: Pamela Morinière/EFJ