Online organising gets results

BUSINESSS WEEK will pay photographers an additional one hundred per cent for extra rights. This deal marks a defining moment in the battle against rights grabs and sets the standard against which all rights deals should be judged for a decade to come. And it is a triumph for the US EP (Editorial Photo) e-mail campaigning group which is a bit over one year old.

EPUKThe company will acquire the following rights beyond single publication in the US domestic print edition: simultaneous publication in foreign editions, on-line and in joint ventures, and rights to all reprints (business reprints of editorial for advertising purposes) except the cover. The photographer retains copyright, syndication rights, cover reprint rights and gets paid for re-use in Business Week.

The new contract will apply to stock pictures as well as commissioned work, and the company will pay for the extra rights in every case, whether or not it chooses to exercise them. The contract will not be optional. It will run for four years. Every photographer supplying Business Week will have to sign it.

In return all rates will double. The minimum space rate, one quarter page, rises from $225 to $450. The day rate rises from $425 to $850, and will then increase to $1000 over the four year period, exclusive of expenses. The day rate is against space. That means if the space rates for commissioned work published exceeds the time rates, the photographer gets paid the full space rates, and expenses.

All this didn't just happen. It began with the San Francisco Nine, brave photographers who put their livelihoods at risk refusing to sign the old Business Week contracts in a land where organised freelance industrial action is against the law. The e-mail group they founded rapidly spread resistance right across the United States and then around the world.

The resulting stalemate was broken when the company decided to recognise that photographers owned their rights, and that extra rights had to be paid for with real money, not the derisory percentage usually offered.

A bitter confrontation was transformed into a win/win solution. The company is guaranteed the extra rights it needs to develop its business. The photographer is guaranteed payment for them without having to fight over every job.

In the words of EP president, Seth Resnick: "I truly believe that we have made a fundamental change in the history of editorial photography, and think that this will set a ground-breaking structure for the future".

This is a photographers' contract, but the principle applies to all freelances.

The future starts here; and at www.epuk.org

May/Jun 2000
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Last modified: 08 May 2000
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