What will the Guardian deal mean?
IF YOU are a freelance contributor to the
Guardian or Observer, the effects of the
copyright inquiry will kick in when the NUJ has agreed
minimum fees with the Guardian.
- Will I keep my copyright?
- Whatever happens, you keep it.
- What if I have already signed away my
- You will have the right to sign new standard licence terms
- Does that mean I can sell my stuff where I
- Yes, except where there is a conflict of interest. For
instance, if the Guardian syndicates it to a newspaper
in Sydney, Australia, you can't simultaneously sell it to a rival
in the same circulation area. The fee (still to be negotiated)
will reflect this restriction.
- How do I know if there is a conflict of
- You check with the Guardian Syndication Department. If there
is a dispute, contact the NUJ.
- I have a special interest in an overseas country
where the Guardian syndicates stuff. That
restriction isn't acceptable to me. What do I do?
- The new deal specifically allows for special arrangements in
such cases. If you get into a dispute, there is a procedure to
sort it out amicably -- but make sure issues are raised early
- Will my fees go up?
- For a one-off "spot sales" syndication you will receive 50
per cent of the proceeds. But in most cases you will receive a
fee that is split between the original newspaper publication and
the standard range of other uses. The NUJ and the Guardian will begin negotiations soon to settle the level and
proportions of this fee. And every year GNL will provide information
on revenues so that fees can stay in line with the growth of
electronic media and syndication.
- What if I can do better than the minimum
- Those who have better arrangements can and should hang on to
them. Plus all standard licence fees negotiated above the
minimum will be subject to future improvements negotiated in line
with increased revenues.
- What about my moral rights?
- Unlike many publishers, GNL won't ask you to waive these
rights -- to a byline and to reasonable treatment of your material.
More than that, the publisher will assert your moral rights on
your behalf -- the first time this has been agreed with a
- What about pictures, cartoons and
- They are not covered. In most cases creators have
satisfactory arrangements already. But if you have a problem, tell the NUJ
and we will try to sort it out.
- It sounds fine, but how can I be sure it won't
backfire on me?
- Other than in "emergency situations", GNL promises that
commissioning editors, etc, will discuss and agree the licence terms
before the copy is produced. Variations on standard terms
should be agreed in writing, in advance.
- And what happens next?
- The NUJ will show this example of good practice to other
publishers such as the other national newspapers, IPC, Time
Out, recalcitrant divisions of Emap and -- biggest of all -- the BBC. And we will put pressure on them to follow this lead
and start being fair to freelances.
© 1999 NUJ & contributors