Tuesday, April 08, 2008

When does "promotion" stop and
exploitation start?

An interesting wrinkle in the large and sprawling quilt of issues about freelance rights is a situation outlined in a posting on the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers list. Writer Kim Pittaway (former editor of Chatelaine) did an article for More magazine about a program called the Judy Project for CEO-track women at the Rotman School at the University of Toronto. Rotman asked Transcontinental, the publishers of More, if they could reprint the article on their website and were told that there would be no charge and no issue about rights since it was a reprint of a pdf showing the article as published.

As Pittaway put it, the important question pivots as follows:
The Transcon contract does allow for "promotional publication" and the contract clause reads "I recognize that the right of first publication includes the assignment to Transcontinental of the right to use my texts in any promotional or advertising material relating to publications in which my texts might be published." Transcon appears to be taking a very broad definition of what "use in promotional material" constitutes, as this is a 3rd-party website designed to promote the Judy Project, not More Magazine.


Blogger oh my said...

I'd actually love some clarification on this: if an article is printed about my project, am I allowed to post it on the project website under a 'press about us" type banner? I have seen it countless times on sites - I had no idea it was a problem. I have not done this on my site, but was planning to, any guidence here would be great.

4:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Serah-Marie: You'd need permission from the copyright holder, which is likely either the writer or the magazine.

Pittaway's case sounds like a violation of moral copyright. I hope she pursues it.

2:02 am  

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