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Notes on negotiating rates for
Online/digital media / Writing and research

These are some things to remember when negotiating rates for writing for publication online and in digital media. And please send us your accounts of successful negotiations.

  • These are copyright works and the rates suggested are for limited licences: each extra use licensed attracts an extra fee.
  • Some clients, especially those that originated as new media start-ups, may need a gentle introduction to the concept of per-use licensing. Some unconsciously see "content" as a mere add-on to the computer programming code that delivers the look and interactivity of the product. And they are accustomed to being, by default, the outright owners of their computer programmers' code.
  • If the website wants to make further use of the work - whether on another website or on paper - it is usually down to the freelance to do the thinking for them: "OK, what do you need? The German website? The Portuguese? And the Russian magazine? How about 60% extra?" To be charitable, editors are trying to think about the content and quite reasonably want not to think about copyright at the same time, so the freelance needs to do the thinking and make the way smooth.
  • The rates are suggested as minima from which freelances will negotiate upward according to their experience and specialist knowledge and the value of the work.
  • The rates for shifts do not include paid time off.
  • Freelances who are registered for VAT will add it to every invoice.
  • For tips on negotiating digital re-use of material originally commissioned to appear on paper, see the our print media advice.
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Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. The collection (database right) © National Union of Journalists. Comments to please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.