Tuesday, October 16, 2007

PWAC fighting back against
contractual rights grab

The people lowest on the compensation ladder of this business are being asked to choose between being paid at all and being paid fairly, according to the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC).

The organization, which represents more than 600 individuals across Canada, is urging freelance writers not to sign contracts that take away their rights to their own work without compensation.

Apparently,large publishing organizations are asking freelancers to sign away their rights and, worse, indemnify the publications for any actions that result from the work.
“Writers across the country are being forced to choose between protecting their rights under the law and seeing payment and/or publication for work already completed” notes PWAC President, Carolyn Gibson. “Traditional working agreements are being changed on the fly. Never mind how bad these terms are; it’s completely unfair to expect a writer to agree to new terms after her work has already been accepted.”
The Vancouver Sun, a CanWest MediaWorks paper, is asking for extended rights, including a waiver of moral rights, with no extra compensation. Furthermore, it requires the writer to indemnify the paper against all damages and liabilities that may result from publication of the work. (A similar contract dispute last year between freelancers in London, Ontario and Sun Media's London Free Press has not been resolved.)
“These terms are simply untenable for a working writer,” added Ms. Gibson. “The Vancouver Sun is sending a sad message to its industry partners. Obviously extended rights are valuable or they wouldn’t be demanding them, so what they are saying to writers is we value the rights you have over your work, but not enough to pay for them.”



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Vancouver Sun and other of their ilk (and sadly, there are many) should just publish press releases. That way, no one risks getting sued and the public can have the pablum they seem to want.

But why on earth would a huge conglomerate want a freelancer to foot their legal bill anyway?

10:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that you can't waive "moral rights" no matter what a contract said.

12:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rogers is now requiring freelance writers to give it the right to publish their pieces on the websites of third parties, thanks to its piss-poor online deal with Canoe.ca. The web-publishing inmates are running the asylum over there -- the print side had no say in the matter.

9:50 pm  

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