Unholy Trinity

The Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life have joined other big-city newspapers published by Trinity International Holdings in seeking to grab all rights from freelance contributors. The advice from the NUJ is: Don't give them something for nothing!

Freelance organiser Bernie Corbett has written to every freelance NUJ member in Northern Ireland to advise them against signing copyright-grab letters sent out by the Belfast newspapers.

These letters are word for word the same as those sent to freelances in Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Merseyside, North Wales and other places -- obviously the work of Trinity corporate lawyers.

If you have received such a letter from any Trinity title, don't simply ignore it or imagine that if you don't sign it, it won't apply. Lawyers keep warning the NUJ that silence can be interpreted as assent. You should write back to the paper stating clearly that you only supply material on a single-use basis -- although of course you are always ready to negotiate a suitable fee for additional uses.

Many freelance journalists have successfully resisted this kind of rights grab. If you need more information please telephone Freelance Organiser Bernie Corbett.

Nov/Dec 1998
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