News / 20.01.2010

Sanoma freelancer’s complaints dropped

The Market Court in Helsinki has today dropped the complaints made by the Union of Journalists in Finland on behalf of some 550 freelancers of Sanoma News company.

The Union filed a case against the company in the Finnish Market Court last summer, in purpose to prevent the company from implementing unreasonable conditions of freelance work which it had been trying to force on its freelancers.

Last spring, Sanoma News, part of the Sanoma Group, sent a new, unilaterally dictated agreement to its freelancers. In May, the protests gathered some 350 people to demonstrate in front of the Sanoma Building.

Unacceptable for freelancers was that Sanoma News claimed 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, the right to modify the material and publish it in another form of
expression (e.g. change a comic strip to an animation), and the freelancers to take responsibility for damage compensation and court expenses, concerning, for example, rights disputes.

“This is a surprising and disappointing decision”, says the Union Ombudsman Petri Savolainen. “We expected the verdict to go other way.”

The Union Board will on Friday decide whether it will apply for a leave to appeal to the Highest court.

A verdict like this in force would severly damage the Union work to oversee the interests of freelancers, says Savolainen.

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