Bauer Media: full statement on freelance contract 'war'

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Press Gazette reported last week on how more than 200 freelances were in a stand-off with Bauer Media, accusing it of ‘declaring war’on contributors to its magazines over a new copyright agreement which appears to indemnify it against being sued.

Bauer has now responded (here’s our story on it). Here is the company’s statement in full:

BAUER MEDIA STATEMENT:
 
Bauer Media is currently seeking new contract terms with our music magazine freelancers to enable us to use commissioned material across other brands, digital platforms, international editions and any new revenue streams. The ways consumers are choosing to engage with our brand content is changing and Bauer Media needs to be firmly placed to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
 
This is a Bauer Media wide policy and such contracts have already been introduced across our Specialist brands in Peterborough, incl Max Power and MCN. The current phase covers all our Music titles, with the rest of the London-based magazine brands to follow in due course. We are keen to continue working with all our contributors and believe our new terms and conditions for commissioning contributors and photographers are still among the very best in the industry. 
 
With regards to speculation currently circulating:

  • The figure of 200 freelancers is considerably higher than the number of freelancers we currently use on our entertainment magazines
  • We have received signed contracts from many freelancers and indications of acceptance from many more
  • We are in 1-2-1 conversations with our contributors, and remain confident we will continue to work with them

With regards Indemnity, across the industry, freelancers are responsible for ensuring that the material they provide is their own original work, does not infringe the copyright, moral rights, rights of privacy or any other rights of a third party or is not defamatory. The onus is on the freelancer to secure permission and necessary licenses. If those permissions cannot be secured, the freelancer is required to notify the commissioning company.
 
Bauer Media is famous for its multi-platform influential brands which touch 19 million UK adults every week. Our goal is to inspire, entertain and connect passionate communities wherever, whenever and however they want.
 
BACKGROUND
 
We believe that this move is just another step in building long term and profitable relations for all our contributors. Our aim is to be able to offer freelancers continued work and additional opportunities across a wider range of products.
 
Bauer Media is offering a fair contract and has not sought to cut freelancer rates.
 
We have been advised that other media groups have similar contracts already in place.

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