Creators' Groups Blast Boston Globe

Posted on 4/17/2000 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



April 17, 2000

Five major organizations of writers, graphic artists and
photographers have united to denounce The Boston Globe's attempt to cram an unfair
contract down the throats of its loyal freelance contributors. The organizations are
the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), the Authors Guild, the
American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), the Graphic Artists Guild, and the
National Writers Union.

The contract attempts to do the following:

1. Let the Globe get away with making many uses of a contributor's work while paying
for it only once. This unfair practice is in direct conflict with the spirit and
intent of U.S. and international copyright laws.

2. Coerce the authors and artists into retroactively ceding to the Globe - with no
additional payments - rights to work previously published in the Globe. This would
enable the Globe to seize material from contributors that potentially is worth
millions of dollars. It also is a desperate backdoor attempt to bypass a recent
United States Appeals Court decision. The ruling known as the Tasini decision stated
that publishers who made additional uses of a contributor's work without contractual
permission were in violation of the copyright law. And the Globe's new contract does
nothing to remove the newspaper's liabilities.

3. The coercive message continues with a "take it or leave it" demand by the Globe
that contributors either sign the unfair contract as is, or never contribute to the
Globe again. The spirit of give and take negotiations, as envisioned by the framers
of the copyright law, has been elbowed aside by the Globe's preference for the
"spirit of take."

The ASJA, Authors Guild, ASMP, NWU and the Graphic Artists Guild, on behalf of their
18,000 members, urge the Globe to rethink its remarkably unfair and misguided
contract. Professional, reliable, self-respecting artists, writers and photographers
will not sign these contracts. The editorial quality that Globe readers have come to
expect will suffer. The liability caused by years of wholesale usages without
permission will not evaporate. It is a wrongheaded attempt to build a bridge to the
19th century. And it is short-sighted since technology now enables true, painless

PACA Position

The Picture Agency Council of America urges all photographers to reject the
contract recently offered by the Boston Globe and all similar contracts.

PACA supports the rights of freelance photographers to control distribution and to
benefit from their images. Work created by a freelance photographer is the
copyright property of the photographer and as such should only be published with
the consent and direction of the creator. We believe that the rights acquired by
any publisher to freelance work should be limited by a license issued by the

All photographic work should immediately revert to the photographer upon
publication. Payment for use of the work should be according to the media in which
the work is published with additional payment for each additional use and media. It
is the photographer's right to grant or withhold publication of his or her work at
any time.

We reject the notion that publishers should acquire any extended reuse rights to
work done on assignment without commensurate payment. We firmly reject the notion
that a publication should try to retroactively obtain rights to previously
published material. We furthermore reject the idea that a publisher should act as
distributor and licensor of freelance photographs, which removes control of
distribution and licensing from the dominion of each individual photographer. PACA
encourages all its members to support the rights of all photographers to create
freely and to gain maximum financial benefit from their photography.

Copyright © 2000 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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