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European Federation of Journalists supports German media boycott of Robbie Williams concerts

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an 11 July 2006 media release of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), an IFJ regional group:

EFJ Supports German Media Boycott of Robbie Williams Concerts

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today expressed its full support for a German media boycott of Robbie Williams's concerts after the singer banned some photographers from his shows and issued restrictions denying other photographers rights over their work.

"It is a shame that creative artists themselves violate photographers' rights in such a disgraceful way," said Renate Schroeder, Director of the European Federation of Journalists. "Such restrictions imposed on photographers clearly challenge the public's right to know about current events. Politicians and other artists should support journalists and media organisations in their fight for fair contracts for photojournalism."

Williams is requiring all photographers who take photos at his concerts to sign a contract giving up all rights over their work. The regional association in Saxony of the German Association of Journalists called the restrictions on photographers a "flagrant example of an immoral contract" and has called for a photo boycott.

German news agency Deutsche Presse Agentur has also called for a boycott of Williams's concerts after the singer banned agency photographers from his shows.

Today, the newspaper Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten ran its article on the July 10 Robbie Williams concert in Dresden without a photograph and instead left an empty space next to the story.

At its annual meeting earlier this year, the EFJ called upon its member unions to boycott events when artists force journalists to abide by unfair restrictions on their work. To date, journalists' unions and associations in Norway and Germany have been successful in boycotting such events.

Like the contract imposed by Robbie Williams's management, many contracts used by musicians throughout Europe make all photographs the property of the artist and give almost all copyright and authors' rights to the performer. These artists, including Williams, demand that photographs are taken only during the first three songs. The contracts also hold the photographers responsible for any use that contravenes those spelled out in the contract.

Earlier this year, the Norwegian Union of Journalists called a successful boycott by photographers and journalists of two Guns N' Roses concerts held in Oslo. The union called the boycott after the band's management tried to force photographers to sign contracts relinquishing their rights over their work. In June, the Norwegian union also boycotted two other bands performing at the Norwegian Wood festival in Oslo due to restrictive photo contracts.

In May, German newspapers boycotted a Bon Jovi concert in Stuttgart for similar reasons.

The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in more than 30 countries.

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