Rogers Publishing rolls out new freelance contract that requires rights across "all forms of media"
[This post has been updated]Rogers Publishing is rolling out a new contract for freelancers. The differences between the old and the new is that Rogers is stipulating that a given article would be published across multiple platforms,
presumably for the same freelance payment [see update* below] .
Rogers spokesperson Suneel Khanna said "the changes in the contract reflect the changing environment of how media is consumed. The revised contract clarifies and standardizes the exclusive and non-exclusive rights we are securing."
[*Update: Khanna says: "Please note there is no mention in the old or new contract about payment. Compensation for the work being produced continues to be freely negotiated between freelancer and editor on a project-by-project basis."]
- The old contract says it is buying first publication rights; the new contract says the same but "in all forms of media" and requires a 90 day exclusivity from the date of publication. Thereafter, Rogers retains non-exclusive rights.
- The old contract specifies first publication rights; the new contract says the work may be published in all media, through any type of device or service, on Rogers websites, mobile or digial platforms and applications and in e-mail or electronic newsletters, so long as they are associated with the brand of the publication issuing the contract
- The old and the new contract both specify the right of Rogers to archive the work "in any format" and make it available, for a fee or otherwise, themselves or through third parties. The new contract says the same thing, except referring to articles published in "any form of media.
Such contract language makes second and subsequent rights for freelancers all but worthless. Where, in the past, a freelancer or their agent could resell the story in other publications and markets, this becomes pointless when the full text is available for free online. Yet Rogers -- and other large publishers like Transcontinental -- are not offering any premium for effectively tieing up all rights. The gesture of saying the freelancer retains copyright is negated by Rogers retaining a "non-exclusive" right to it after the 90 day exclusive period.
A freelancer could negotiate a larger fee to reflect the fact that it is the only fee they'll get from a given story, but the general trend is that publishers are asking for more and more rights for the same fees as before.
- The contract provides for an option for the right to publish the work or an edited version across all Rogers properties in all forms of media
[Note: I did not receive the contract from Rogers, which refused to provide a copy to me. Old and new versions were obtained elsewhere. Anyone who wants the comparison table can e-mail me at impresa[at]inforamp[dot]net]