[Freelance]
Letter

A right to be paid

FREELANCES who hang on to their copyright are making agreements where they license clients to use material in different ways, in different markets, at different times, perhaps extending over a number of years.

At the moment, copyright law confers a rather passive right to take clients to court if we think they are breaking these agreements. But this passive right is useless if you have no organised way of finding out what a client is doing.

Should be be pressing for something stronger? Something incorporated into copyright law that helps creators ensure that they are being properly paid?

We could campaign with a slogan "copyright - the right to be paid". We could suggest a right of audit, or a right of specific performance which would place the onus on client organisations to demonstrate that they are making the appropriate payments and have the accounting structures and staff training in place.

We could suggest that payment to creators should rank up there with "preferred creditors" such as the Inland Revenue, and that in situations where payment is not properly made copyright always reverts to the creator.

Copyright, after all, exists to link creators to cash.

Aug/Sep 2000
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Last modified: 25 July 2000
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