Free paper, not free work!

THE NUJ is strongly urging its members to reject an attempt at a grab of freelances' copyright by one of the new London papers. News International Free Newspapers Limited (NINFL) has produced a freelance agreement under which professional contributors assign all present and future copyright.

NUJ Freelance Organiser John Toner said: "It is deplorable that NIFNL is trying to grab freelances' copyright. If they expect thelondonpaper to win the imminent battle of the freesheets, it will require quality copy and images. Professional freelances will resist giving up their copyright, so NIFNL will be denied the quality it needs."

News International would of course be keen to recycle stories and photos from its afternoon paper in its nationals the following morning - not to mention Sky News and papers overseas - for no extra money.

If they get any. Interestingly, the paper's website is heavy on readers' words and photos. For these they want an extensive licence - only for NINFL use - and only those who read the small print will realise they agree to pay any legal costs.

"My guess," Toner hazards, "is this grab will allow rival Associated Newspapers to snatch the quality material from their competitor. I would urge NIFNL to think again, and consider a licence that would be acceptable to photographers. Until then, the NUJ will advise its 8000 freelance members to reject the proposed agreement."

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