Managing Freelancers and Archives
Do you have to pay freelancers for past work going online?
Copyright. Warrantees. Indemnification. Publishers today are gingerly feeling their way through a new freelance process as it relates to content rights and digital media. While most publishers are securing both print and digital rights for freelance contracts, they are also coming to a new understanding of whatâ€™s fair to freelancers for both creation of new multimedia content, as well as re-use of older print content online.
Many publications, such as MacWorld, get both print and electronic rights to contributed articles but feedback from writers has led them to develop a provision that allows the writers to re-purpose the content they contribute on platforms of their choosing after three months. This helps since many freelance contributors arenâ€™t simply writing articles for a living but also books as well as creating Web tutorials and videos.
Many publishers are building up their Web sites and online archives. When CXO Mediaâ€™s CIO did this back in the 1990s, the publication offered freelancers a premium (of about 5 percent to 10 percent of the original article fee) for each print story that was now being taken online.
â€śWe started with our own ideas about what we wanted the agreement to say,â€ť says editor-in-chief Abbie Lundberg. CIO sent the contract to lawyers, who added some of the legal language including the â€śwork-for-hireâ€ť terminology.
At the same time CIO started including an â€śall-media-worldwide rightsâ€ť clauseâ€”â€ťI think thatâ€™s standard practice in the U.S these days although I just heard one of our sister publications in Australia is still not doing this, theyâ€™re only asking for rights to content in Australia.â€ť
Lundberg says there hasnâ€™t been any real pushback from freelancers when it comes to all-media rights. â€śWe offered a small payment between 5 percent and 10 percent of the original fee for old print content that we wanted to include on the Web site,â€ť adds Lundberg, who says only one writer balked at the price CIO was paying for that content.
Today, CIO uses freelancers on a limited basis and most of its content is developed for the Web site first, with a few exceptions. â€śThe number of articles weâ€™re freelancing for the magazine is small,â€ť says Lundberg. â€śWe have a standing short feature called Essential Technology that we freelance out once a month. They have to send us links for companies mentioned in the article but weâ€™re not asking them for any other multimedia elements at this point.â€ť