May 1996

Future is brighter

Another sign that fair trading in the digital world doesn't have to be such a kerfuffle comes from Future Publishing UK.

Future owns several computer titles, and has put out a less-aggro-than-some copyright contract. This demanded free use in all media except books for 90 days after magazine publication.

A freelance who knew that this was not draconian, but still a rip-off, remarked to an editor along the lines "So you get more money and I don't, eh?"

Quoth the editor, "Oh yeah, you're right. Sorry. Let's sort out a fee."

They settled on a 25 per cent boost to the basic fee in exchange for the 90 days of usage mentioned above. After that, all rights revert to the author. Iit may not be the bees' knees, but it's in like with a part of the ground-braking Time Inc agreement in America. And it was a civilised and non-conflictual process.

The strategic observation is a Tyke-ish "If you don't ask, you don't get".

BY Jon Nicolson

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