Getting paid on the Web

THE US National Writers Union has struck a deal with an online publishing operation called Brill's Contentville, making sure that journalists are paid when readers buy their articles. Founder Steven Brill commented:

It's not only what we should be doing under the law, but it's also the right thing to do. As a former freelancer I know that I'd be angry if others were selling my work and not giving me the chance to participate in that sale or perhaps even decide that it should not be sold.

Contentville will log sales and supply details - and a cheque - to the Publication Rights Clearinghouse. Set up by the National Writers Union, this is partly like UniversalByLine. It aggregates payments and distributes them to journalists - relieving publishers of the argument that it's "too hard" to pay for online re-sale.

Within two minutes of visiting www.contentville.com your editor discovered two of his articles on sale at $2.95 a throw. As a PRC member he should get 30% of sales. [But, post-print-edition of the Freelance, he's going to have to work out the difference between www.contentville.com and www.brillscontent.com] He'll definitely have to struggle over those on sale at www.northernlight.com, which include one about journalists' struggle with... NorthernLight.

The NWU is appealing to other publishers to make similar arrangements, as an alternative to the costs of fighting in the Supreme Court and to the potentially huge back payment to journalists.

Last modified: 4 December 2000 - © 2000 contributors
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