Alma Talent revamped its contracts for freelance contributors in May this year. The contracts contain new terms obliging freelancers to surrender all financial copyrights to the company without compensation, thereby barring them from reusing the rights to their work.
The Union has been unable to reach an understanding with the company on modifying the new agreements, which the Union views as blatantly unreasonable.
The contracts also place the rights of transferring material produced by freelance contributors solely in the hands of Alma Talent. The company has an unrestricted right to submit the work of contributors to any third party without compensation.
The new contractual terms replace those used by Talentum Media, which was sold to Alma Talent earlier this year. Talentum Media’s contract for freelance contributors was considered to be fair by the UJF, as it gave them comparable rights over the subsequent use of their visual or written work.
“The previous contract was balanced,” said UJF lawyer Jussi Salokangas. “It took account of both the needs of Talentum Media and the rights of freelancers.”
The terms of this earlier agreement had been negotiated with the Union.
The UJF has sought to negotiate with Alma Talent about the copyright issues of the new contracts, but has been told by Alma Talent that there will be no change in its stance on copyright. Alma Talent says that its main freelance contributors have already signed the new contract.
“The point about a contract is that the two parties accept the terms of the agreement. Freelancers could now try to negotiate these terms directly with Alma Talent,” said Salokangas. “The UJF would provide support for these negotiations, if necessary.”
The Union has received a written assurance from Alma Talent that the terms of its new contract would not apply retrospectively to material sold to Talentum prior to its coming into effect.