Photographers who take pictures for USA Today, these days one of America's largest newspapers, are getting a hefty pay increase – but they are not that happy about it.
From this week freelancers will be paid an additional $100 but in return they must agree to a new condition – that Gannett, publisher of USA Today, can use the pictures anywhere it chooses. Including websites. And for an indeterminate period the pictures can be used in any of USA Today's 90 sister newspapers, 23 TV stations and hundreds of other publications owned by Gannett.
Some photographers are unhappy over the new deal and have said they won't sign it. "It's a step backwards", said Mark Loundy who claims USA Today is trying to secure the same sort of control over freelancers that they have with staff photographers – without the same job security or benefits.
The new contract, which went into effect on April 1, pays a day rate of $375 (just under £200). The old contract paid a $100 "transmission" fee for up to six digital images, plus $10 for each additional image. But that fee has been reduced to $25 in the new contract. Photographers retain the copyright to their photos and can sell them to anyone else – but only after a 30 day period of exclusivity. .