Squeaky wheel gets the dosh

THE "Keep negotiating" message on attempted copyright rip-off was brought home again by the experience of a member working for a magazine published by Centaur. Commissioned to write a feature for £200 per thousand words, Chris Wheal was sent a contract demanding an exclusive license to publish and exploit the article in all media for six months, after which Centaur wanted non-exclusive rights for ever.

He challenged this: the editor promptly withdrew the exclusivity and offered a 25% increase on the fee.

Chris still would not give Centaur a license to use the piece forever, so he refused the job. On talking to colleagues he was alarmed to find that some had not queried the contract at all and thus missed out on readily available improvements in both pay and conditions.

Freelance Confucius say: "Talk turkey, don't be one."

BY Phil Sutcliffe

Mar/Apr 1998

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