ASJA, Authors Guild Rebuke AOL Time Warner for All Rights Contract
April 23, 2003
Never before have media companies relied so heavily on freelance contributors to create valuable content. Freelance writers, photographers, illustrators and graphic artists create works that are sold many times over in today's digital universe. Such major media companies as Meredith Publishing and IDG, understanding that the best relationship with freelance contributors is a reasonable one, are improving their contracts. The New York Times has also begun changing some of its freelance contracts to share additional revenues from content. Time, Inc., however, stubbornly clings to an archaic contract demanding that independent contributors forfeit all rights to their work.
Such one-sided agreements are neither justified nor reasonable. By refusing to deal in an equitable manner, Time, Inc., antagonizes freelance creators who are important and vital business partners, and harms its long-term business prospects and those of its investors.
Time, Inc., and its parent, AOL Time Warner, enjoy continuing revenue streams from the work it obtains from freelance creators. We hope that the current management team will see the error of prior strategies, and realize that quality content the market values can come only from people who are treated as the partners they are, and who share in the ongoing value of their work.
American Society of Journalists and Authors
Jim Morrison, President
Nick Taylor, President