The BBC respects rights. The BBC has always respected rights

All rights, but only if you like!

THOSE OF US who believed that BBC Worldwide insisted on all rights when commissioning freelances have been suffering a mass delusion.

According to Worldwide's deputy managing director Nicholas Brett, the standard terms and conditions issued to freelance contributors are subject to negotiation. To back this up, Mr Brett produced statistics to show that across Worldwide's range of magazines for the month of August 2003, only 29 per cent of images were commissioned on an all rights basis.

This was the surprising information delivered at a meeting attended by freelance organiser John Toner, copyright lawyer Carla Wilson and Linda Royles, chief executive of the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA).

Surprising, because Mr Brett explained that at a meeting in August 2001 he has said exactly the same thing.

None of the NUJ attendees at that meeting (including Toner, Andrew Wiard and Kevin Cooper) remember it that way.

It is more important to accentuate the positive than the negative, and so we must now take Worldwide at their word.

All photographers and writers who receive the standard terms should take this up and get agreement on what rights they are licencing with their commissioning editors, and tell them that approval for this comes from the top.

Oh, and let the Freelance Office know how it goes.

  • Freelances who do work for the BBC are reminded that it is essential you tell us for which bits of it you do what. See the survey in the last issue or at
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