Danish journalists keep their rights
AUTHORS in Denmark have fought off - for now - an attempt by
publishers to change the law to hand over rights in journalits' work.
Anne Louise Schelin of the Danish Journalists' union reports:
"On 5 October the the Danish Cultural Ministry sent a proposal to
change the Danish Copyright Act for consultation to a long list of
interested parties. The proposal has been drafted with the backing
of the government with a very broad backing from all the political parties.
"In the proposal it is made clear that the government and a
huge majority in parliament will not propose a work-for-hire like
rule to be adopted in the Danish Copyright Act. There are other good things in the proposal as well."
In the USA, the "Work-for-hire" rule specifies that if
a writer, photographer or other author is hired by the day, all rights
in their work are by default handed over to their client.
In the US, as in the UK and Ireland, employed journalists lose all
rights in their work. In Denmark, as in almost all the non-English-speaking
world, they keep rights, including the important rights to say where
work can be re-used and to get paid for that re-use.
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear comments: "At a time when authors'
rights are under attack all over the world, we applaud the Danish unions
and copyright campigners for their success in ensuring the Danish Government and Parliament will not adopt a work-for-hire system. This is hugely
encouraging for freelances everywhere, and we hope the Government of
the UK will take notice."
Arne König, Chair of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) said:
"We salute the Danish Government’s decision not to introduce a 'work-for-hire rule'.
It preserves the journalists’ essential rights to determine where their works are re-used and to receive a fair remuneration for these uses."
The review process of the Danish Copyright Act started in 2006 with the
publication of a report from a committee under the Ministry of Culture.
In consultation publishers and producers claimed that the work-for-hire
rule should be introduced in the Danish legislation to "support the
growth of the media sector".
During the consultation period, the Danish Joint Council of Authors' and
Performers' Rights presented the political parties and the Prime Minister
with evidence that there was no need for a work-for-hire rule, and of the
negative impact that such a rule would undoubtedly have on quality, creativity
and social dialogue. The Danish Union of Journalists has played a very active rôle in this coalition of authors and performers.
"Danish media are doing extremely well. Via active dialogue with employers,
authors have contributed to ensuring material of good quality and a high
ethical standard without blocking commercial competitiveness," added
König. "The employers' claim, throughout Europe, that a work-for-hire
rule is essential to the growth of the sector is a fallacious one. The signal sent by the Danish Government in this respect is clear"
After the ‘freelance strike’, an agreement
Meanwhile: on 17 September Danish freelances voted in favour of a collective
agreement with the Aller publishing group - the first collective agreement for
freelances in Denmark.
More than two-thirds of the Danish freelances who deliver content to Aller Press magazines and are members of Dansk Journalistforbund accepted the
agreement; 138 freelances voted yes, while 61 were against the negotiation result.
The main concerns of those voting no people was that rights to use their work
have been sold too cheaply, and that protection of the material is not strong enough.
Some were concerned over the rôle of individual negotiation in the agreement.
Dansk Journalistforbund has offered all freelances a course in
negotiating. The "blockade" or "freelance strike" that was
ruled legal by the Danish Labour Court in is therefore called off.