European Federation of 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 information is available here.) On 30 May, the EFJ organised a workshop on ”Fair contracts for quality journalism’‘ and called for fair remuneration in EU copyright review for journalists and creators.

The contract imposed by AFP contradicts the authors’ rights principles. The standard contract requires photographers to sign a global, irrevocable, perpetual licence to use their photos and videos on any medium, in any language, in any form including in any future products. Both Federations are concerned that AFP is seeking to justify this new practice by claiming that the salary paid to photographers also covers the authors’ rights transfer, while these are currently two distinct payments.

“We denounce these unacceptable contractual practices” said Philippe Leruth, IFJ President, “because they purely and simply deprive journalists of their authors’ rights. We ask AFP to immediately review its terms of exploitation of photographic works and strongly encourage photographers not to sign any contract with AFP or any other media that does not provide additional payment for any additional use made of the photos”.

AFP has already tried to remove such rights before from photographers on local contracts. The unions’ response stopped this abuse and an agreement was signed for French photographers with the collecting societies SCAM and SAIF. The new contract condemned by the IFJ now discriminates between photographers working in France and those working abroad.

The IFJ insists in particular on the fact that authors’ rights payments are used to remunerate subsequent uses made of the works while a salary paid to an author only covers the first use of the work. A transfer of rights without additional remuneration violates the International Convention of Berne, 1886, which grants authors (including journalists) the means to control the way their works can be used, by whom and under what conditions.

“We strongly urge our affiliates to use diligent care if they are asked by their members about these contracts and to condemn firmly these contractual masquerades”, said Philippe Leruth.


Credit photo: AFP