NWU press release

‘Pay As You Go’ Will Work Only If Writers and Creators Get Their Fair Share

National Writers Union (UAW 1981) Urges Content Providers To Engage In Revenue Sharing With Creators and Freelance Writers

Immediate release, 19 February 2004

The recent introduction of "pay-as-you-go" software allows computer users to make micro-payments when they access specific articles on the Web. The NWU is advocating that when a payment is made to access a specific article, the writer/creator of the article should receive a percentage of the gross revenue generated by that transaction.

The National Writers Union (UAW 1981) supports the "Pay As You Go" concept provided that:

  • Creators and freelance writers are given their fair percentage of the gross revenue generated by the "pay-as-you-go" Web sites.
  • Creators and freelance writers are notified in advance if their work is being sold on these sites.
  • Creators and freelance writers are given the option to opt-out of this program.

The NWU does not support the "Pay As You Go" concept if Internet content providers sell articles but do not share the revenue generated by those articles with the creators. Indeed, many creators and freelance writers are being coerced into signing "all rights" contracts. These contracts allow publishers to sell the articles several times over for a profit without sharing the revenue generated by these additional sales of articles with the writers. These contracts violate the spirit of the Supreme Court's landmark Tasini decision, which established that when independent creators sell content to publishers this includes first print rights only; all other uses, including electronic sales and sales the third parties must be negotiated separately.

First North American Serial Rights (FSNAR) is the standard journalism contract that freelancers traditionally sign in the United States. Any system or contract that undermines this standard is unacceptable. The NWU does not endorse any "Pay As You Go" system where writers do not receive their fair share of the gross revenue generated by their work. This new software has the capability to easily allow for content providers to ensure that creators and freelance writers receive their fair share of revenue generated by their work. There is no excuse for creators not being included in the "Pay As You Go" model.


The National Writers Union (NWU) is the trade union for freelance writers of all genres who work for American publishers or employers. The NWU is committed to improving the economic and working conditions of freelance writers through the collective strength of its 5,500 members in 17 local chapters throughout the country.

Last modified: 25 February 2004 - © 2004 contributors
The Freelance editor is elected by London Freelance Branch and responsibility for content lies solely with the editor of the time
Send comments to the editor: editor@londonfreelance.org