December 18th, 2014

Time Inc. UK Issues Rights-Grabbing Contract

Time Inc.’s UK division has riled editorial photographers by issuing a new contract requiring freelancers to hand over “all rights” to any assignment images for about 60 specialty publications. The contract takes effect January 1, 2015, but there may be wiggle room for negotiation, at least for some photographers who take the initiative to push back.

“It’s an outrageous rights grab,” says photographer David Hoffman, spokesperson for Editorial Photographers UK (EPUK). “It’s just bullying.”

The contract applies to a wide array of Time Inc UK titles, including fashion, lifestyle, entertainment, and shelter magazines, as well as  niche magazines for marine, wine, gardening, fishing, sport, and technology enthusiasts. The contract does not apply to assignments for TIME, the weekly news magazine.

“The new agreements better reflect our needs as a multi-platform business,” Time Inc. UK’s director of corporate communications Karen Myers told PDN via e-mail. “Contributors need to bear in mind that commercial realities dictate that we will be using the content that we purchase in many different ways to reflect the changing media landscape, both now and in the future.”

Myers acknowledges that some photographers “will not want to assign and/or waive their rights and there is no obligation for them to do so – if they do not wish to do so, they may object and negotiate different terms with us in the usual way.”

Hoffman explains, “If an editor really wants your particular work, or is sympathetic to you, they may be able to do individual deals.”

But photographers who aren’t able to negotiate to keep their copyrights will be deprived of the right to re-license assignment images,  which could ultimately hurt Time Inc., Hoffman says. “The best photographers won’t work for them under those terms,” and those photographers who do accept the terms won’t have much incentive to do their best work, he explains.

June 25th, 2013

Chicago Sun-Times’ Suburban Papers to Pay $10 Per Photo, Give or Take

The photo editor for a chain of suburban newspapers owned by Sun-Times Media of Chicago told freelance photographers yesterday that news and feature photo assignments will pay $65 each, and that photographers are expected to deliver 5 to 7 photos per assignment.

“Of course more photos is always nice for choices and file art if the story is revisited,” Pioneer Press Newspapers photo editor Geoff Scheerer wrote in a memo to freelancers. The memo was obtained and published today on the Jim Romenesko media blog.

The rate for sports photo assignments is $90, according to the memo.

In May, Sun-Times Media fired its staff photographers at the Chicago Sun-Times and its suburban papers. STM executives explained that they were diverting resources from photo to video because readers wanted more video. They said the papers would rely on reporters and freelancers for photo coverage.

Scheerer told freelancers for the suburban papers in his memo that he was clarifying rates “now that I’ve been given a hardcore budget.” For more details about the rates and Scheerer’s expectations of photographers, see the original memo.

Related: Chicago Sun-Times Eliminates Photo Staff