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Glasgow freelances oppose Newsquest copyright grab

31 July 2009

Freelance NUJ members in Glasgow have unanimously voted to reject proposals by the Herald group of newspapers and websites to cut minimum payment rates and change copyright and licensing terms.

A meeting of around 40 journalists, writers and photographers, vowed to stand up to the unilateral attempt by Newsquest to weaken their terms and conditions.

The attempted copyright grab, through which the company is effectively seeking a perpetual licence for the re-use of journalists' content across all platforms, has caused particular concern for freelance contributors.

The meeting, which was held on Wednesday night, agreed to organise a campaign to reject the proposed changes and to offer to work for the existing terms until agreement can be reached with the NUJ.

Paul Holleran, the NUJ's Scottish Organiser, said:

"The Herald and its sister titles depend on the hard work and goodwill of its experienced freelance contributors. With Newsquest's cutbacks the papers are dependent on quality material so it can't just push ahead with plans that have been so firmly rejected.
"By being clear with the company that they will not work to these imposed conditions, freelances will help us to ensure that we get a fair deal for our members."

James Doherty, NUJ President, who chaired Wednesday's meeting, added:

"Management are seeking to impose slave-labour terms on freelances at a time when staff at the titles are seriously over-worked as a result of years of cutbacks.
"Newsquest are looking to bolster profits by cutting rates, grabbing rights and threatening long-serving freelances. These journalists should be applauded for refusing to sign-up to these sham contracts despite the obvious concern for their livelihood."

Tags: , newsquest, copyright, newspapers, freelance, cuts, terms and conditions, herald scotland