Advocacy Tools for Freelancers

“The organization stands in solidarity with our members and with all freelancers facing threats to their livelihoods as a result of laws and legislation aimed at either prohibiting or restricting their work as independent entrepreneurs.” ASJA president, Milton C. Toby JD.

American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc., Opposes Efforts to
Restrict Work by Independent Writers

With the passage of AB5 in California and the introduction of similar restrictive legislation in other states and in Congress, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc., issued a policy statement opposing measures like these.

Statement on Legislative Threats to Freelance Writers
From the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc.

            For more than 70 years, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc., has recognized and endorsed the guarantees of free speech and an unfettered press established in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and the promise of equal protection under the laws set out in the Fourteenth Amendment. Our dedication to these basic principles of writing with a free hand is part of the organization’s Constitution, which includes the improvement of “professional conditions for the independent writer” as one of ASJA’s principal purposes. Our mission statement reflects our on-going intention to “represent freelancers’ interests, serving as spokesperson for their right to control and profit from the uses of their work wherever it appears.”

            In this context, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc., opposes legislative efforts to restrict the ability of independent writers to work as they choose without governmental interference. The organization stands in solidarity with our members and with all freelancers facing threats to their livelihoods as a result of laws and legislation aimed at either prohibiting or restricting their work as independent entrepreneurs.

            The American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc., recognizes that misclassification of workers as independent contractors when they deserve treatment as employees is a serious problem in many—but certainly not all—sectors of the labor market. We in no way condone the exploitation of workers by their employers. Trying to solve the problem by painting all independent workers with the same overly broad brush, however, ignores a robust community of freelance writers who choose independent career paths. Such legislation is both short-sighted and ultimately counterproductive. We urge the country’s lawmakers to respect the constitutional rights and personal preferences of freelancers when considering legislation that redefines the status of independent contractors. Legislation that includes freelance writers in the general class of allegedly exploited workers is an attempt to solve a problem that does not exist and will cause immeasurable harm.

Milton C. Toby JD
President (2018-2020)
American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc.

Important Disclaimer

Information on the following pages was collected and curated by ASJA members lobbying in opposition to laws and legislation that aim to restrict the ability of freelance writers to work as they choose without putting their independence at risk. ASJA supports these efforts and recognizes the contributions of everyone—our members and non-members alike—who have been freelancers’ “boots on the ground” in this fight. We all owe them our thanks!

This resource site will be updated as needed and includes links for identifying and contacting lawmakers, general information about AB5-type legislation and the threats they present, and strategies that have been successful in challenging that legislation. Visitors to the site should keep the following caveats in mind:

● Although this site reflects the collective work of many ASJA members, nothing here, unless specifically identified as such, constitutes a policy statement on behalf of ASJA, Inc.

● Nothing on this site is intended to be, nor should be construed as, legal advice. The information is offered only as potentially relevant educational material and should not be interpreted in any context as legal advice. The Internet and social media are seldom reliable sources of legal advice and questions should be directed to an attorney familiar with your individual situation and the laws of your state.

● ASJA, Inc., has not verified the accuracy of the material posted here. Users assume all responsibility for any inaccuracies or misinformation.

● Success in one jurisdiction does not guarantee success in another and ASJA, Inc., assumes no responsibility for unsatisfactory results or any other harm resulting from the use, or misuse, of information or recommendations found on this site.

FAQs, Myths & Facts About the Anti-Independent Contractor Laws and the ABCs

Federal Legislation: The PRO Act

State-level Legislation

General Resources

  • A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God.
    – Sidney Sheldon
  • A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
    – Kenneth Tynan
  • A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self–addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.
    – Ring Lardner
  • A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.
    – Marguerite Yourcenar
  • All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary – it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
    – Somerset Maugham
  • Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs.
    – Christopher Hampton
  • Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
    – Lawrence Kasdan
  • Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research.
    –Wilson Mizner
  • Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.
    – Flannery O'Connor
  • I just wrote a book, but don't go out and buy it yet, because I don't think it's finished yet.
    – Lawrence Welk
  • I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
    – Douglas Adams
  • I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done.
    – Stephen Wright
  • It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
    – Robert Benchley
  • It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.
    – Andrew Jackson
  • Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks.
    – Richard Curtis
  • No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self–deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
    – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
    –Somerset Maugham
  • Writing a novel is like paddling from Boston to London in a bathtub. Sometimes the damn tub sinks. It's a wonder that most of them don't.
    – Stephen King
  • Writing a novel is like spelunking. You kind of create the right path for yourself. But, boy, are there so many points at which you think, absolutely, I'm going down the wrong hole here.
    – Chang–rae Lee
  • Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.
    –Samuel Johnson