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ASJA Contracts Watch 52 [electronic & subsidiary

From: BOB SHELL <76750.2717@compuserve.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 07:31:07 -0400
Fwd Date: Sun, 26 Oct 1997 09:58:19 -0500
Subject: ASJA Contracts Watch 52 [electronic & subsidiary

Hi all.  I'm forwarding the latest on electronic and subsidiary
rights from the ASJA.  If you are already on their e-mail list,
let me know and I will not forward future posts from them.  Or if
you just aren't interested in this issue, let me know and I won't
forward future posts.


ASJA CONTRACTS WATCH 52 (vol 4, #13) CW971014  October 14, 1997

[The American Society of Journalists and Authors encourages
reproduction and distribution of this document for the benefit of
freelance writers. Reprint or post as many items as you wish, but
please credit ASJA for the information and don't change the


        *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

FAMILY CIRCLE or WOMAN'S DAY? Once upon a time, if a freelancer
had a story that might fit either magazine, WD was the place to
go. After all, its owner, HACHETTE FILIPACCHI MAGAZINES, was one
of the first big publishing groups to agree to pay for electronic
use of articles (although not unless the writer asks). And on
request, WD could turn the usual company claim of broad e-rights
forever into a limited license: America Online for a year.

Things have changed. WD's editors still offer pay for some e-
rights (if the writer asks), but now insist on the right to
electronic use forever, as often and in as many ways and places
as the publisher chooses. Another sore spot: Hachette's refusal
to OK warranty language that reasonably reduces the author's
risk, language ("to the best of your knowledge...") that's fine
with most magazine publishers today. In fact, writers report that
WD editors increasingly seem to resent discussing contract issues
at all. As a result, WD appears to be losing the good will it had

Meanwhile, according to repeated reports from writers, Family
Circle editors understand that a contract is a negotiable
instrument, and they have the authority to turn the standard,
overreaching GRUNER + JAHR contract into a fair deal. For the
asking, they amend G+J's usual free e-rights clause to include a
fee to be negotiated if the rights are exercised. And fixing the
warranty presents no problem at FC. If these and a couple of
other improvements that FC routinely makes for individuals were
incorporated into the boilerplate, the magazine would have a home
run...and a lot of writer-editor negotiation time would be saved.


EMMY, the magazine of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences,
is asking contributors for permission to post their articles on a
hoped-for section of the Academy's site on the World Wide Web.
Did someone say something about money? Sorry, editor/publisher
Hank Rieger tells ASJA Contracts Watch: "We're nonprofit. We
don't have any money, so we can't pay."

"Can't?" Is the Webmaster being paid? Is the Internet service
provider being paid? Well, yes. How odd that the Academy, an
organization of creators, should be in the rear guard on an issue
as important as creators' rights in new media.

But Emmy isn't insisting on handouts--the magazine's letter to
contributors ends with a choice of two lines to check, saying yes
or no to the request. No money? No time limit? The choice is
easy. Adds Rieger: "We may or may not get on the Web. It depends
on whether enough writers give us the rights. We can't have a
Website without copy."


fair on some points (an extra fee equal to half the original
article fee for print anthologizing; third-party reprint requests
referred to the author) but not on others (free reuse in a
"reprinting" of the magazine "in any medium" and "all Internet
rights"). But a writer reports negotiating a 50-percent payment
for "any medium" reuses and a small fee for one month's Internet


The weekly NEW YORK OBSERVER is reportedly set to launch an
online venture. In preparation, the newspaper's management has
jumped in with a sledgehammer. They've just sent frequent
Observer freelancers a hurry-up-and-sign-it-or-else letter
decreeing their contributions works made for hire, taking unto
the paper every right for the rest of time. The letter adds that
writers will see a half-share of print income "directly
attributable" to their articles--a slippery setup that can yield
writers nothing when their work is relicensed as part
of a package. "Online/interactive/electronic media/electronic
database" income would stay with the publisher.

A cover note from Observer president Brian Kempner says the paper
is "requiring all of our freelancers to sign" by October 15, but
ASJA Contracts Watch has already heard that several of the
paper's well known columnists are rejecting the demand. Says one
long-time contributor: "Over the past several years I've logged
$66,000 from secondary rights--much of it from pieces I published
first in the Observer. I wouldn't give that up, and I wouldn't
let anyone else make deals with my columns unless I share. I'll
be happy to license the Observer the right to use my work on AOL
for a week, if that's what they want, or forever for a decent
yearly fee. But I don't sell my rights outright, and I certainly
don't give them away--I license them. That's what being freelance
is all about."

Kempner wouldn't comment.


PARENTING, which for a time paid writers a super-modest $25 per
article for a license of about a year on its Website, has been
offering another $25 to renew, this time for two years. At least
one writer reports talking the fee up to $50, which keeps the
yearly rate the same. Now, parent TIME INC. insists that writers
hand over all online rights forever, so those still willing to
write for Parenting today won't have the pleasure of negotiating
renewal fees of any sort.

Is that the same TIME INC. that issued a written policy statement
on e-rights payments for photographers and promised the same for
writers and illustrators? Yep.


A report from Canada tells of a recent Ontario court case in
which a professor who usurped credit for a graduate student's
research paper was found guilty of copyright infringement.
According to a story by Chris Bodnar in the Fulcrum, a University
of Ottawa newspaper, a business professor published the student's
paper and delivered it at a conference under his own name. The
judge blasted the university for its "cavalier attitude" in
dealing with the student's complaint and added, "The university
cannot stand idly by while its professors blatantly breach
copyright laws." The award to the student: $7,500 in damages plus
legal costs.

        *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Many ASJA members and others send a stream of contracts,
information and scuttlebutt so that these dispatches can be as
informative as possible.  Thanks to all.

To receive each edition by e-mail automatically (and at no
charge), send the following message:
                      To: ASJA-MANAGER@SILVERQUICK.COM
                 Subject: CONTRACTS WATCH
           Complete Text: JOIN ASJACW-LIST Only official
dispatches: no feedback, no flooded mailbox.


                     Check Before You Sign

A complete, searchable archive of ASJA Contracts Watch is
available on the World Wide Web. Find it--with other valuable
information and tips on freelance contracts, electronic rights
and copyright--at the Web address below.


Inquiries and information from all are welcome.
     Contracts Committee, ASJA
     1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
     tel 212-997-0947
     fax 212-768-7414
     e-mail ASJA@compuserve.com
     Web page http://www.asja.org/cwpage.htm

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