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How the Guardian told its freelances of its new contract

20 December 2007 - EPUK

One week before Christmas, and six working days before the contract was to take effect, Guardian News Media, publishers of the Guardian and the Observer told its freelance photographers that if they wanted to continue working, they had to agree to new terms, or get any variations approved by a managing editor. GNM’s full email appears below.

From: gnm.rights.department@guardian.co.uk
Date: 18 December 2007 15:22:09 GMT
Cc: roger.tooth@guardian.co.uk, greg.whitmore@observer.co.uk

Subject: Arrangements for freelance contributions to Guardian News & Media

Dear Contributor,

Guardian News & Media Ltd (GNM) is writing to advise you of a number of important changes to its arrangements for freelance photographic and artistic contributions, effective from 01 January 2008.

Following the success of our original Freelance Charter to administer written contributions, GNM, in conjunction with the National Union of Journalists and other bodies, has developed a similar framework for managing imagery acquired for use in its print and web products. These changes have been brought about by the huge editorial and commercial challenges we confront as GNM embraces the digital future.

Importantly, when GNM accepts photographic and artistic contributions, we will seek a licence granting us certain rights, including web and syndication, within set boundaries. In keeping with the “best practice” ethos of the original Freelance Charter, rights holders will retain copyright in their contributions. Syndication will be sought in respect of commissioned images, the right being exclusive for 60 days from publication and thereafter non-exclusive.

Hand-in-hand with the new Freelance Charter, GNM is significantly strengthening its syndication activities with the addition of extra internal resource to further develop GNM’s direct business and the engagement of external agencies to enhance our business in key specialist markets.

Eyevine, an independent photo agency founded in 2002 by Graham Cross and David Leverton, will be used to showcase high profile photoshoots and exclusive content, particularly news stories, where Eyevine’s wealth of experience and superb network of contacts will offer multiple channels of distribution throughout the world.

We will be using Alamy to promote and sell our large catalogue of stock photography. Alamy holds the largest and most comprehensive on-line collection of commercial photography in the world. Established in 1999, it has pioneered the concept of an unedited collection and today offers millions of images from thousands of photographers and photo agencies worldwide.

In addition, we will be continuing to use IDS which has very quickly established itself amongst media professionals as the place for one-stop image searching.

As a result of these enhancements, freelances will be offered the prospect of much greater exposure of their work around the globe, higher value deals, enhanced technology, and the benefit of dedicated marketing and promotion of their GNM work. This in turn will enable GNM to invest further in our award-winning journalism.

The new Charter is available to view at the following URL:

The Rights Department will be glad to answer any queries you may have (rights@guardian.co.uk; tel. 020 7713 4575).

Best regards

Robert Hahn
Rights Manager
Guardian News & Media Ltd

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