July 08, 2016
BRUSSELS - Agence France Presse (AFP) is demanding its photographic stringers across the globe, in offices outside of France, sign “unacceptable” contracts which include the full assignment of their authors’ rights without any additional remuneration. The International Federation of Journalists (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.
Many press photographers around the world have informed the IFJ of the dubious contractual practices being proposed by the legal service department of AFP in Paris, France and Nicosia, Cyprus. The contract requires full assignment of freelance press photographic and videographer stringers’ authors’ rights /copyright without any additional remuneration.
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. The IFJ is 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.
The IFJ has been campaigning for years against rights grabbing contracts. - IFJ media release
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