Are you or have you ever been a freelance contributor to the BBC?

IF YOU are a BBC contributor, you may well have been getting a raw deal on rates of pay and copyright theft. Now the NUJ wants your help to start to put things right with one of the biggest users of journalism in the world.

The freelance office is compiling a contact list of freelances who contribute to the BBC -- but unfortunately in most cases freelance members' records on the NUJ computer do not record which organisations members contribute to.

So if you work for the BBC -- even if only occasionally -- please send in details of your name, address, phone numbers and email address. If possible email the details to the freelance office.

Please don't assume you are already listed -- we would rather weed out duplicates than miss people off.

Because we had a list of Guardian and Observer contributors, the NUJ freelance sector was able to gather vital information and mount an effective public campaign. That led to the successful outcome of the inquiry into Guardian copyright practices and a return to negotiations on freelance fees (see Guardian talks get under way, this issue).

The BBC is becoming notorious for operating an unreasonable copyright grab, in some cases withdrawing commissions from journalists who cannot or will not hand over all rights. And over the past few years collective agreements on freelance rates have been downgraded to "guidelines" that are frequently ignored, and no longer cover some areas at all.

NUJ members on our BBC freelance network will receive information updates by post or email. Later this year we plan to call an open meetinng to exchange information and discuss strategy. The Guardian campaign took over two years. The BBC is a tougher nut to crack -- the campaign starts now.

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