European Federation of Journalists

Hands off our authors rights, say journalists ahead of EP vote on copyright directive

The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee will vote tomorrow on a landmark Directive that could have positive effects on journalists’ authors’ rights and on our profession’s revenues. However, a number of amendments have been tabled to jeopardise significant benefits for journalists.

While the current draft proposal to be voted on tomorrow introduces some key elements that would strengthen journalists’ bargaining power, namely a transparency obligation on their media employers to report on the exploitation that is made of journalistic works, several amendments clearly intend to seriously reduce the scope of the transparency obligation.

One of the most controversial issues in the draft directive is the introduction of a so-called “neighboring right” for press publishers, which would give them the power to authorise or prohibit the use of their publication or part of them. IFJ and EFJ have long demanded that an equal share of the benefits deriving from this right should go to the journalists who actually produce the works, and should be managed by collecting societies and the federations are deeply concerned that this demand has not been taken on board. Even more concerning is the introduction of a new  compromise amendment that would deprive journalists of any benefits at all from such a neighbouring right and open the way to further imposition of “buy-out” contracts.

“MEPS must take responsibility when they will vote tomorrow and remember those that are at the core of the creative process. A vote that fails to support authors’ future and journalists’ rights over their works would be devastating for the whole cultural industry”, said the federations.