Freelance contributors to The Herald group of newspapers are being asked to provide the National Union of Journalists information about any possible breaches of their copyright.
It follows new terms and conditions being offered to freelancers, which need to be agreed, with a signature, as a prerequisite to being commissioned. But the NUJ and many freelance contributors to The Herald and sister sisters, the Sunday Herald and Evening Times, are concerned about the use and re-use demands being made by publishers, Newsquest.
As a result, the NUJ's Scottish Organiser, Paul Holleran, has written to freelance members of the union asking them to fish out examples of work used on the papers' websites without permission or payment.
The NUJ is hoping to meet the papers' group managing editor, Tom Thomson, on Tuesday to discuss what it describes as “the unacceptable clauses in their freelance contract”.
He continues: “It would be helpful for me to have some leverage in the negotiations and to that end I am asking you and other regular freelance contributors to The Herald etc to check the company web-sites (heraldscotland.com; theherald.co.uk) to see how many articles of yours have been used without permission or payment.”
Holleran also says that rates for the job will also be on the agenda. But he adds: “Our experience last year in trying to negotiate a freelance agreement lends me to believe it will be very difficult to get enough movement but we have to try.”
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