Authors’ Rights

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. Authors' rights are currently best protected in continental Europe.

The IFJ/EFJ authors' rights programmes call for journalists to be recognised as authors of the work they create, have control on further use of their work and receive an equitable remuneration for it. In this sense, 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. The rights for individuals to exercise control over their work is crucial to maintain ethical standards, which define and guarantee quality journalism. This is another reason to oppose the Anglo-American copyright system, through which authors can be, and are, coerced into signing away their moral

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 authors' rights work is supported by the IFJ/EFJ Expert Group for Authors' Rights (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.

The growing trend among media organisations to use right-grabbing contracts has become a matter of great concern for the International and the European Federation of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ). As a result, the IFJ and the EFJ have launched a European wide campaign against right-grabbing contracts and demand fair payments to journalists.



AFP: End contracts’ masquerade!

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the campaign launched by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to denounce Agence France Presse’s (AFP) “unacceptable” contracts. AFP is demanding its photographic stringers across the globe, in offices outside of France, to sign contracts which include the full assignment of their authors’ rights without any additional remuneration. The IFJ has condemned such “unfair” practices and is calling for an immediate revision of the standard contracts imposed on photographers working for AFP. The IFJ is also calling on photographers not to sign the contracts as they stand. The EFJ and the IFJ has been campaigning for years against rights grabbing contracts (Further…


World Copyright Day: Outlaw unfair contractual practices!

Legislators must take concrete steps against unfair contractual clauses in their laws. This is the message put across by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to mark World Copyright and Book Day tomorrow 23 April. The organisations warn against the continuing trend developed by media companies to use rights- grabbing contracts. Journalists who sign those contracts not only lose the right to use their works autonomously, but also the (moral) right to protect the integrity of their works. These practices allow for the same work to be used many times for one single payment…


Webinar on authors’ rights for freelance journalists in Europe

Join us for a webinar (web conference) on Feb 10, 2016 at 12:00 PM GMT. Register now! If freelance journalists provide input to newsrooms , the question is always: Can I re-use the post also elsewhere with other clients with a different target audience? The question of which rights are established with reference to a journalistic work/contribution is regulated by intellectual property right /copyright law. Therefore, knowledge of the correct use of authors’ rights/copyright not only at national level but worldwide is crucial for freelance writers. Freelance journalist Mike Holderness works in London and is a long time activist in…

picture Pres. Schulz and authors del

EFJ and creators meet EP President Martin Schulz

The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz has met with a delegation of creators’ organisations including the EFJ President, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård and presidents of the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ESCA), Euroepan Writers Council and the Federation of Europeam Film Directors (FERA) and the European Federation of Screenwriters (FSE) to discuss the upcoming Digital Single Market Strategy being prepared by the European Commission. The delegation highlighted the importance of strong authors’ rights protection in the current intellectual property rights debate, the role of creators in European economy and the need to foster cultural diversity. During the meeting, Blicher…

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European Parliament fails to improve the contractual position of authors

The European Parliament’s initiative report  to make proposal to reform EU copyright/authors’ rights law fails to improve the contractual position of authors and performers. The report adopted in the plenary session yesterday in Strasbourg was drafted by German Eurodeputy Julia Reda and is the result of months of lobbying and heated debates in the hemicycle. The adopted text makes a number of proposals to amend authors’ rights legislation in the EU as a contribution to the European Commission’s upcoming revision package on authors’ rights to be issued by the end of 2015. While the adopted text makes a specific call…

Tourist taking pictures of the European Parliament (c) Eric Cabanis/AFP

Freedom of panoramas under threat

Plenary session of the European Parliament on 9 July 2015 We will not limit #FreedomofPanorama. People can take pictures of whatever they see in public places #EPlenary #copyright @Senficon — Günther H. Oettinger (@GOettingerEU) July 9, 2015     The European Parliament is likely to adopt an initiative report that could potentially hamper the right of press photographers to take photographs in public spaces, the International and the European Federation of journalists have warned. The report, drafted by the German Eurodeputy Julia Reda, makes a number of proposals to amend authors’ rights legislation in the EU as a contribution to…


EFJ/IFJ delegation hold talks with Julia Reda over trade secrets and authors’ rights

An IFJ/EFJ delegation met with Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda this morning to discuss her report on the implementation of the “infosoc” directive on copyright and related rights in the information society and the directive on trade secrets for which she was appointed as shadow rapporteur for the Greens EP group. The delegation was composed of EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez and IFJ/EFJ authors’ rights officer Pamela Morinière. The IFJ and the EFJ expressed its strong rejection of the trade secret directive. “You were right to vote against the current version of the text,” Ricardo…

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European Parliament adopts draft report on copyright

The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee has today adopted in a majority vote an own initiative report on authors’ rights that including provisions to strengthen authors’ contractual position while opening up some exceptions. The controversial report initiated by the European Greens MEP Reda  is a response to current work led by the European Commission to reform copyright/authors’ rights legislation (on the implementation of the “Infosoc directive” 2001/29) in the EU . It has led to heated debates inside the European Parliament and political groups over the possibility to relax current legislation to enable users to access protected works more extensively in the…

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Unfair contracts are destroying journalists’ authors rights

In a meeting with Petra Kammerevert (MEP and SPD coordinator for media and cultural issues), Renate Schroeder (EFJ Director) and Michael Klehm (DJV senior advisor) discussed issues around media policy and media freedom, authors’ rights, spectrum policy, support for “entrepreneurial journalism”, TTIP, net neutrality and the revision of the audiovisual media framework. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) warned that unfair contracts, sometimes called “buy-out contracts”, destroy journalists’ authors’ rights. The EFJ delegation argued that the European Parliament’s “Reda report” on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society is harming the continental authors’ rights framework, in particular when…


EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society working on reform of copyright/authors’ rights

Günter Oettinger, EU Commissioner in charge of Digital Economy and Society, met delegates from the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on Thursday (30/04/2015) about the plan for a reform of the EU copyright/authors’ rights legislation taking into account new technological developments.  Mogens Blicher Bjerregård (Danemark, EFJ President) took the floor to stress that “staff journalists, freelancers, press photographers, cartoonists, graphical editors and other media workers should clearly be considered as authors contributing contents for the online, audiovisual or print media industry. The EU creative industry is a big market with an annual turnover of 500 billion euros. In Denmark alone, between 4 and 5 million euros are collected…

Authors’ Rights Expert Group (AREG)

Mike Holderness (UK & Ireland)
Dominique Diserens (Switzerland)
Jean Claude Ernest (Luxembourg)
Emilio Fernandez (Spain)
Michael Klehm (Germany)
Rüdiger Lühr (Germany)
Sanna Nikula (Finland)
Carlo Parisi (Italy)
August Ringvold (Norway)
Joao Miguel Rodrigues (Portugal)
Olle Wilöf (Sweden)


Pamela Morinière
Authors' Right Officer