European Federation of Journalists

IFJ/EFJ hail adoption of Copyright Directive and urge Member States to ensure fair and proportionate remuneration for journalists

The European Parliament today adopted the Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market by 348 votes in favor and 274 against. A call to open the text to amendments was lost by just 5 votes.

The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) welcome the adoption of this long-awaited piece of legislation, which they have worked tirelessly to promote and improve.

The newdirective includes key provisions for the publishing industry and authors, including journalists receiving a share of the revenue press publications generate online using their work, the principle of appropriate and proportionate remuneration for authors, key transparency obligations and the possibility for authors to be represented by their unions. Securing these provisions is the result of a strong campaign led by authors.

Throughout the negotiations our affiliates warned against provisions in the proposals that water down authors’ rights, including lump sums, buy-out contracts and other abusive measures which the text fails to tackle. They warned, in particular, against the grave risks to journalists’ receiving a fair share of the revenues deriving from the new neighboring right for press publications (Article 11) as a result of the wording of Recital 35 (# 59, in the final agreement).

The federations have called on the European Commission and European publishers to clarify that journalists’ share under Article 11 is distinct from salary and that Recital 35 (new Recital 59) will not be used to deprive or restrict their access to a fair share of the revenue deriving from the neighboring right.

An amendment tabled by GUE/NGL members to redress the shortfalls of this provision was not considered. But it continues to send a strong signal that whilst journalists support and were pivotal in the adoption of the copyright directive, they object to those clauses which undermine their rights and enable publishers to force them to sign away their rights.

The IFJ hails this adoption. During almost three years of negotiation, the IFJ fought for a Directive that ensures all authors in all European Union Member states benefit from the revenue their work generates. It fought for a text that promotes a fairer distribution of the immense wealth generated online by tech giants using our work, not one that only benefits media corporations. Now the Directive has been passed, the IFJ is committed to continuing to fight to ensure no journalists are left behind”, said Anthony Bellanger, IFJ General Secretary.

“All journalists in the EU deserve fair pay. We therefore urge EU Member States to adopt strong laws that provide for fair and proportionate remuneration for journalists and ensure the directive will not only benefit media businesses”, added Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ General Secretary.

Photo credit: Frederick Florin / AFP.