Canadian Magazine Industry News
28 March 2013,     MONTREAL
TC Media freelance contract FAQ
André Dumont of the Quebec Association of Independent Journalists (AJIQ) answered questions about TC Media's new freelance contracts on the AJIQ website, and Story Board has an English translation.

The new agreement gives TC Media full worldwide copyright across all its platforms and brands, in perpetuity, and requires a waiver of the contributor's moral rights. The contract terms upset many in the freelance community, including organizations like the Canadian Media Guild, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, and the Canadian Freelance Union.

To clarify whether ceding moral rights means articles can be altered without consent or notice, Dumont answers, "Totally. You signed away your moral rights. You no longer have any say on the integrity of those articles. Your byline does not guarantee to readers that it was actually you who created the content."

The moral rights waiver also means that a writer's byline can be removed from their work, which TC Media's Susan Antonacci, in an interview with Story Board, said would rarely happen. "The only time I can think of off the top of my head when we wouldn’t have a byline is if we were doing something where we were cropping a number of photos and putting them onto a subscription card to send out to a group of subscribers to promote a product," she said.

But Dumont says the waiver clears a dark path for other scenarios. "TC Media has given itself the right to take your name off 'under reasonable circumstances.' For example, it would be totally reasonable to take your name off if one of your articles became an advertorial. Or if a line from your article became an advertiser’s slogan. It might also be reasonable to take your name off if parts of your articles were added to other writers’ work," he wrote.

Visit Story Board or the AJIQ for the full Q&A, which also clarifies payment issues and republishing/repurposing rights.
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