[Freelance]

E-mapping a way forward...

NO MORE "all rights" contracts at Emap Health Care -- the Healthcare Freelance Group (HFG) has negotiated an agreement. It will result in across-the-board annual payments to freelance writers in respect of internet publication, whether or not their work is used.

Happy freelances in a bar

Some of the Healthcare Freelance Group members celebrating the sealing of their agreement on Monday 14 December with Freelance Organiser Bernie Corbett (centre) and some sophisticated group- cohesion- facilitation- management technology (rear)

Emap Health Care was forced to get round the table with the HFG when it was unable to force contributors to sign "all rights" copyright contracts, despite more than six months of pressure from editors and commissioning editors.

The company, which de-recognised the NUJ staff chapel at the end of 1997, has also failed to introduce taxation at source and the delayed payment of invoices for freelances.

The copyright agreement was concluded in December 1998 by HFG chair Frank Chalmers and secretary Mike Cross, Emap Health Care managing director Tim Brooks and two leading Emap editors. It grants the company first British use of material, plus a license for use on specific magazine sites. All other uses -- syndicating the work in the UK or abroad, licensing it to third-party Internet sites, publishing it in hypothetical sister magazines abroad, and other electronic uses including CD-Rom -- must be arranged and paid for separately.

All freelances writing for Emap Healthcare magazines will receive an annual payment of 5% on top of their year's contributors' income from the company, regardless of whether their work is then re-used on a magazine's Internet site. Freelances also retain their copyright and the moral rights to their work.

The deal, which is time limited until 2002, will end the practice by any Emap Health Care editors of trying to impose "all rights" copyright agreements. It also envisages the HFG negotiating wordage rates annually with the company.

"We see this as a benchmark deal," said HFG chair Frank Chalmers. "It consolidates the rights of freelances and establishes a minimum payment for Internet use only -- individual freelances will be entitled to argue for a higher payment for their work being posted on the Internet, or, if they wish, not to sign up to the agreement at all.

"Considering that Emap Health Care tried to wipe out the NUJ a year ago, we see it as a major step forward."

Copies of the text of the agreement reached by Emap Health Case and the HFG can be obtained from Frank Chalmers on 0171-354 5962. Photographers should already be operating on better terms than the minima the writers have agreed.

  • The Freelance understands that non-negotiations (no sirree, pure human vocalisation) not a million miles from EMAP Metro are going well. More soon.

Jan/Feb 1999
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