The internet makes it much easier for unscrupulous publishers and individuals to rip off your articles or photos, in breach of your copyright. In return, it also makes it possible for you to track down such abuses yourself. Of course, you can only do anything about those abuses if you have kept copyright in your work.
In the age of print, you would never know that your work was appearing in a paper on the other side of the world, unless a friend or relative or colleague spotted it and thought to call you. In the age of the internet, you can go looking - not only for internet rip-offs, but often for rip-offs by traditional print media that have internet editions.
Publishers' associations bang on about "piracy", but of course a very large portion of the pirating of articles and images consists of publishers ripping off writers, photographers and illustrators.
So how do you chase them down?
There are three steps:
- Find the rip-off
- Find out who's responsible
- Make them pay (or at least suffer)
Advising people who may not be familiar with the technology behind the internet how to do this takes a lot of words, so we have broken this down into sections. Unfortunately, it's important that you read them all.
The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.
Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.