A Guardian non-exclusive!

AFTER eight months of negotiation, the National Union of Journalists has won a significant improvement in rights deals for freelance photographers and illustrators who licence the Guardian or the Observer to use their work.

As a result of the agreement, when Guardian Newspapers Ltd (GNL) commissions photographers it will seek a non-exclusive licence. The details of each licence will be negotiable on the part of the photographers, who will retain copyright in their contributions. The union has endorsed the Guardian Newspapers charter.

Freelance Organiser John Toner, who conducted the negotiations, said that while GNL has recognised the value in syndicating images, from the union's point of view it was important that photographers would not feel coerced into a licence. "Guardian Newspapers initially wanted an exclusive right to syndicate. After listening to the NUJ's representations, they now seek only a non-exclusive right."

The licence was accepted by the union's photographers' sub- committee and endorsed by the Freelance Industrial Council, who thanked Toner for his patience and hard work.

Said Toner: "Talks with GNL have been civilised and constructive, as always. Other publishers please take note."

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