Section Agence France-Presse du Syndicat national des journalistes
Agence France-Presse Branch of the French National Journalists' Union (SNJ)
News & Views
Photographers’ Royalty Rights: Strike on March 21st
AFP is negotiating new sales contracts with companies sponsoring major sporting events (.../...), aimed among things at providing such firms with superb CDs containing the pictures, graphics and wire stories that the agency produces on the sports in question, to be used either as promotional gifts for their clients, or as products for sale. Unfortunately management has once again "forgotten" to provide for the legally-required royalty payments entailed by such products, which fall clearly outside the framework of the agency’s core activity.
AFP must be one of the last press organizations in France to fail to respect the large body of jurisprudence relating to authorial rights and royalties. The agency’s photo reporters therefore demand that management make a written commitment to the strict observance of such rights within the framework of the new contracts. In the absence of any response from management on this issue they will go on strike for 24 hours from midnight on Sunday French time (2300 GMT Saturday).
CFDT-CGT-SNJ-FO-SUD, March 18, 2004
Second statement (March 19th)
AFP’s photo reporters asked for a discussion with the CEO [on the above-mentioned issue of authorial rights] on Friday.
The photographers consider that management’s response to date, which would leave the issue of the rights attached to the new contracts being drawn up by management to be settled as part of a global deal on royalty payments, to be unsatisfactory and a simple delaying tactic. The issue of authorial rights and royalties has been under discussion for two years now.
The photographers were able to have a brief meeting with the agency’s information director, who informed them that the CEO was not available until next Wednesday [March 24]. When confronted with our demand for a solution by Sunday [March 21], he simply replied "Do what you think is right" ("Prenez vos responsabilités").
Meanwhile the entire management structure of the photo service was basically indisposed, saying only that it was not "part of the discussion."
Being unable to obtain any kind of dialogue, the photographers therefore decided to maintain their strike call for Sunday March 21st, for 24 hours from midnight, French time (2300 GMT Saturday). They nevertheless remain available, at any time, for serious negotiations on providing genuine written guarantees on authorial rights.
For their part freelance photographers based in France, but outside Paris, expressed majority support for the full-status photographers on strict respect for authorial rights.
They nevertheless consider it important to stress, once again, that they still do not get the annual bonus provided as an "advance on royalty rights", and neither do they get the seniority bonus laid down in the collective bargaining agreement for French journalists. This last point was acknowledged by management during the last monthly meeting with journalists’ unions [on March 11].
The freelancers also note the total lack of transparency which is the norm on policies of hiring full-status journalists in the photo service, and which adversely affects them in particular.
Joint Journalists’ Unions (CFDT-CGT-SNJ-FO-SUD)
19 March 2004