We’re winning on rights

When is an "all rights" contract not an "all rights" contract? When it is "a standard form" that provides a "framework" to assist negotiation between the commissioning editor and the freelance.

As Winston Smith reported in the October Freelance, this might sound like doublespeak, but it is the stated position of BBC Worldwide. They are not alone.

In the summer of 2002, the NUJ, working in conjunction with EPUK and the Association of Photographers, persuaded IPC to state publicly that they would not seek all rights and that other options were available to freelance contributors.

The major magazine publishers now appear to be taking a step back from seeking copyright on every commission. Why this is happening is due probably to a number of factors including NUJ campaigning, freelances who are prepared to argue about rights and, in some cases, staffers who believe in treating freelances fairly.

The struggle, of course, is far from over. As long as companies seek legal advice on copyright and are presented with boiler-plate contracts our campaigns will continue.

We should be encouraged, though, to learn that one size does not necessarily fit all and that there is scope for negotiation.

If you receive an agreement, or a purchase order, seeking all rights ask your commissioning editor what uses he/she really needs. And if you need advice on how to do this contact the Freelance Office.

Last modified: 2 February 2004 - © 2004 contributors
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