freelancer's article - the whole thing
My apologies. The posting on freelance writers was not complete. When
I checked my mail today, the other two section of the posting had
arrived. I get this from a writer's group at AOL. Evidently AOL is
still having problems...
Below is the entire posting. I spliced all three sections back
together. At the end of the posting is the information for how to
receive this information directly from ASJA, as it's being released.
Also, there is a web site, with the full archive, on the electronic
contracts issue. Url: < http://www.asja.org/cwpage.htm >
This is a quote, taken from an article, COULD WRITERS THROW A
MONKEY-WRENCH INTO PUBLISHERS' CYBERSPACE PLANS? , August 21, 1996:
"But increasingly, freelance writers are willing to challenge publishers
who keep on using their work in new media after having paid for only the
long-time standard right to use it once, in print. And to those
publishers who try to force writers to turn over extra rights without
extra dollars, many writers are saying no.
Now that the Authors Registry is delivering royalties and fees to
freelance writers, says King, it's in publishers' best interest to pay
for reusing their work. If they don't, he suggests, contributors will
block use of their material on Web sites and in reseach article
databases, which, since they are sold on the merits of their
comprehensive collections of thousands of articles, can ill afford to
have chunks of their content lacking because of authors' objections"
Part III of 4
Sat, 1 Mar 1997 05:16:30 -0500
AOL User <RAINDEAD@aol.com>
"Information, motivation, and inspiration for every writer"
This is part three of 3. I'm sorry it's late, but the service simply
not let me send it to you at the same time as the other two parts . --
ASJA CONTRACTS WATCH 42 (vol 4, #3) CW970227 February 27, 1997
[The American Society of Journalists and Authors encourages
reproduction and distribution of this document for the benefit of
freelance writers. Reprint or post as many items as you wish, but
please credit ASJA for the information and don't change the content.]
News of PARENTING, CHILD, PARENTS, HEALTH, FAMILY CIRCLE, VILLAGE
VOICE, NEW YORK TIMES, DATAMATION, TOTALNEWS.COM, SOUNDPRINT, NATIONAL
PUBLIC RADIO, more...
PARENTING, which had earned praise from writers for a fairly decent
contract that editors were free to make even better, has moved from
San Francisco to New York, near parent Time Inc.'s headquarters. It
isn't good for a grown child to live too close to home.
A nearly all-new Parenting editorial staff has been handed a revised
contract for freelancers. In it, what was one of the fairest warranty
clauses in the industry has become unreasonably tough. Worse, the
electronic rights clause has been unacceptably broadened. The old
agreement offered a small fee for broad e-rights for a limited time;
editors were free to narrow the license considerably. The new version
wants nearly all e-rights forever for the same small fee, and editors
say they're no longer free to fix things.
If so, best bet now for Parenting freelancers would be a switch to
CHILD and PARENTS, where Gruner + Jahr's overreaching contract can be
made perfectly acceptable with some pen strokes.
Back in San Francisco, Parenting's sister magazine, HEALTH, continues
to use the old contract.
Like Child and Parents, FAMILY CIRCLE (also from Gruner + Jahr)
continues to be reasonable about cleaning up its contract on request.
Another writer reports that an editor pleasantly agreed to the
ASJA-recommended changes in FC's standard terms. A fairer initial
offer would save editors' and writers' time and avoid the appearance
that the publisher is playing Find the Fool.
The VILLAGE VOICE, in its president's eyes, is the freelancer's
friend. Writing to the New York Times (Feb. 22) in reply to a Feb. 19
letter critical of the Voice's new rights policy, David Schneiderman
misrepresents the newspaper's contract by insisting it asks "only" a
month's exclusivity. After that, he crows, freelancers "will be free
to do whatever they please with their work." Like a well-coached
witness, he conveniently omits the rest of the story.
Those freelancers will be competing with the Voice. Under the terms
demanded, after the exclusivity period the newspaper locks onto the
right to reuse and sublicense articles--on paper and
electronically--forever. For certain print reuses, some payment is
offered; others the Voice wants for free, and for perpetual electronic
reuse it offers not a sou.
That's hardly a fair deal, and freelancers know it. Word is that
precious few have given in. Says a Voice source: "Those who've signed
are not names anyone would recognize."
And if the Voice isn't telling the whole story, what of the NEW YORK
TIMES? According to the freelance writer whose note in the Times
prompted the Voice's defense attempt, his letter as submitted
contained a paragraph noting that the Times, too, "tries to squeeze
writers like lemons." The paragraph was cut.
DATAMATION has joined the ranks of magazines that have paid up when
caught using a freelancer's article on the World Wide Web without
permission. The Cahners-owned magazine for information technology
professionals originally published the piece last summer and promptly
posted it on its Web site; the writer didn't find out until last
month, when prompting from ASJA sent him in search of possible illicit
uses of his work. When he pointed out that he had changed the
magazine's standard all rights clause to first North American, the
publisher quickly agreed to pay for its seven months of unauthorized
online use. Settlement: an amount equal to half the original fee.
A Canadian freelance writer had to work a little harder to coax a
make-good payment from the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning,
which he caught reprinting an article of his in its course materials.
The piece had appeared under a first Canadian serial rights contract
in a magazine that died a short time later. The writer chose to pursue
the matter with the institute, arguing, "You may have been an
unknowing infringer, but you profited from using stolen goods." "But
they gave us permission," the institute insisted. "They sold you an
invalid license," countered the writer (who happens also to be a
lawyer). After six months, three letters and two phone calls, the
writer reports, the institute paid $2000 (Canadian).
"I made only $700 for the piece originally," the writer comments. "I
probably would have taken $200 if they had responded to me politely at
Publishers who want to reuse freelancers' property for their own
benefit are not happy when they're on the receiving end. The latest
new-tech flap pits a group of major news media players against a
Website called TOTALNEWS.COM, which has been "framing" news reports
from other Web pages on its site. In TotalNews, with a click, computer
users view outside content in a window on the screen. The simultaneous
presence of the host's logo and ads, which compete with ads from the
original site, alarms the publishers.
According to affected media companies, TotalNews "misappropriates"
copyrighted material. This week, in New York, a gang led by CNN, the
Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post
sued TotalNews for trademark and copyright infringement.
Eighty-five freelance radio producers and writers have ended a
year-long boycott of the SOUNDPRINT documentary series with an
agreement that calls for negotiated royalties for new-media and some
other reuses of their works after a royalty-free grace period. Under
the agreement, SoundPrint, which packages and distributes programs to
public radio stations, will track revenues from online and other uses
of independents' works and will start paying royalties by the last day
of 1998 or when its gross from all new-media distributions exceeds
$890,000, whichever comes first. Royalties would also be paid on
transcript and cassette sales after the first 100 copies in either
The deal, negotiated by the Producers Advocacy Group, is similar to
that reached last spring with NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO. NPR and
SoundPrint both had tried to claim broad ownership of freelancers'
works. NPR's grace period expires at the end of this year.
Many ASJA members and others send a steady stream of contracts,
information and scuttlebutt so that these ASJA Contracts Watch
dispatches can be as informative as possible. Thanks to all.
To receive each edition automatically (and at no charge) by e-mail,
send the following e-mail message:
Subject: CONTRACTS WATCH
Complete Text: JOIN ASJACW-LIST
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