Produced by Mark Belanger of Canada’s Radio Labour, radiolabour.net:
[Mark Belanger]: The International Federation of Journalists has launched an online campaign to help freelance photographers working with Agence France Press. The Agence is asking photographers who are not based in France to agree to contracts which the IFJ describes as “rights-grabbing”. These contracts are in sharp contrast to the contracts negotiated by the Agence with French unions. They demand control over continued use of the photos in other media forever. I talked to Jeremy Dear about the Agence France contract demands. Mr. Dear is the Deputy General Secretary of the IFJ. I asked him to describe the contracts Agence France Press is demanding:
[Jeremy Dear]: “Essentially what the contracts do is they take away all the rights that should belong to the freelance photographer in this case, or the journalist in the case of other companies. The way we view the situation is that a journalist does a job and they get paid for that job and the company has the right to use that material for the purpose for which the journalist or the photographer was paid, and that’s the end of the agreement between them. What these contracts seek to do is take all the rights to be able to use that image or that piece of work, not just to re-sell it, but to sell it to third parties, to make posters out of it, to sell it as greetings cards, to be able to syndicate it around the world without any single cent going to the photographer who has created that work in the first place.”
[Mark Belanger]: The continued use of the photos or other works, has that been a significant source of income for the photographers?
[Jeremy Dear]: “Certainly for some. Normally what they would do is license an organization to use that photo for the purpose for which they were commissioned to take it. So, for a news report, for example, and then for a defined period of time. It may be a day. It may be a week. It may be a year. But after that time, the rights in that photo belong to the photographer, not the company. For lots of people, yes, it’s a very substantial amount of income, and particularly in the media world today where photos are syndicated around the world and thousands if not tens-of-thousands of websites all over the world will use these photos. And, so, yes, a lot of people would lose a substantial amount of money.”