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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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TRADE UNION NEWS
FROM FINLAND 1997-2013

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Sanoma News still claims all rights
without any additional compensation


Helsinki (22.05.2009 - Juhani Artto) Sanoma News, part of the Sanoma Group sent a new agreement to its freelancers on May 19. Following heavy criticism towards the agreement it sent to freelancers in April, the company has changed its position on three matters and demands that freelancers sign the new agreement by 15 June.

The first change is a reaction to the criticism that persons who are interviewed or photographed have the right to know where the material is being published. In the new agreement freelancers are obliged to inform, in advance, the persons they are going to interview or photograph that the material may be used in any newspaper, magazine etc. belonging to the Sanoma Group and also that it may be sold on further.

The second change concerns parallel use of the material provided by freelancers to Sanoma News publications. In the agreement sent to freelancers in April all parallel use was denied. In the new agreement Sanoma News allows the parallel use to photographers but not to illustrators or journalists.

The third change concerns the timeframe when a freelancer is to be paid for the material he or she has furnished to Sanoma News. In the April agreement Sanoma News elected to pay for the purchase 21 days after the first publication. In the new agreement the company adopts the common practise in Finland and is ready to pay within 14 days of purchase of the material.

These changes are positive steps in the right direction but do not touch the most serious problems of the April agreement, says Petri Savolainen, the ombudsman of the Union of Journalists in Finland. Unacceptable for freelancers is that Sanoma News claims again in the new agreement and without any additional compensation

  • exclusive rights for the material provided by freelancers to the
    company's publications (except for use in a freelancer's own exhibitions and compilation books, when these do not compete with Sanoma)

  • all rights known and unknown, in all means of distribution

  • full rights to use the material in all units of the Sanoma group

  • all rights to sell the material on further

  • right to modify the material and publish it in another form of
    expression (e.g. change a comic strip to an animation)

  • freelancers to take responsibility for damage compensation and court expenses, concerning, for example, rights disputes

On May 19 Savolainen held negotiations with representatives of the Sanoma News on the agreement. After having heard the changes the company had unilaterally made to the April agreement it had unilaterally written, Savolainen concluded that the changes do not go far enough.

Representatives of the Union of Journalists and the other associations organising freelancers will discuss the latest developments of the dispute and make new conclusions next week.

The freelancers' struggle for a fair agreement with Sanoma News has received widespread support from permanently employed journalists and their union chapters. On May 19 the union chapter of Yhtyneet Kuvalehdet, one the largest magazine publishers in Finland, encouraged freelancers by summoning: "Your cause is also our cause".

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