Bauer has been accused of “declaring war” on freelance contributors to magazines including Kerrang, Mojo and Q with a new copyright agreement which appears to indemnify it against behing sued.
According to London Freelance Branch of the NUJ: “These contracts remove copyright and all financial, legal and moral rights from freelance writers and photographers while simultaneously requiring that the freelances provide Bauer with an unlimited lifetime financial indemnity in the event of legal action arising from their work.”
It reports that the company is in a stand-off with more than 200 freelance writers and photographers over the new contract which they have been given until 16 April to sign up to.
Dan Sabbagh, writing about this on Beehive City, says: “Hmm, on that basis, presumably no freelance writer would be able to get a mortgage. You write a piece, forget about it, then get sued a few months later, and then, you have to pay a lawyer thousands to defend you, before going broke a few months after that. One of the fundamental purposes of a publisher is somebody who stands behind the writer commercially, helping them get paid, and if necessary defending their work too.”
Press Gazette will be delving deeper into this story… watch this space.