Dutch treat!

FREELANCES in the Netherlands have won a court case against the newspaper de Volkskrant over re-publication of their articles, without permission, on CD-ROM and the World-Wide Web. The newspaper argued that these uses were "for documentary purposes" - analogous to a microfilm copy in a library and not a separate publication. This was the argument which lost the National Writers Union the first round of its case in New York - but the Amsterdam court disagreed.

The court particularly noted that the Volkskrant CD-ROM does not contain articles syndicated from foreign newspapers, because those papers have not given permission. The Freelance understands that de Volkskrant often translates articles from the Guardian, for example -- but none are credited on the Web site.

Huibert Stam had given de Volkskrant permission to leave his articles on the Web site while the paper produced a proposal for paying him. The court found that this temporary permission did not prevent him suing when no proposal had been made. On 1 November the court awarded damages for breach of copyright and of moral rights to Stam and to Hans Heg and Jan Mulder, but deferred setting the amount.

More info from the Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten

Jan/Feb 1998

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