January 1996

Good news! Catch? Of course...

VNU pays up!

DUTCH-BASED computer publisher VNU is paying freelance contributors whose work appears in a CD-ROM an extra 40% of the original commission fee.

And VNU has agreed to talk to the union before it launches any further electronic publication, on CD-ROM, the internet or whatever.

The catch is that this applies only to a CD-ROM in Dutch, and to talks with the Netherlands journalists' union. But if VNU -- which led the charge of UK publishers demanding all rights from freelances -- can do it there, why can't it do it here?

When the Dutch union heard about the CD-ROM edition of Dutch- language computer magazines, it approached VNU and said (we translate freely): "You want to explain this to the judge? Or you want to talk with us? Now?" VNU talked, pronto.

One condition of the deal they struck was that the union not reveal the amount to be paid to freelances. (Wouldn't want those English to find out!) It hasn't. It must be coincidence that the freelances the Freelance has spoken with received 40%.

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