The Steering Committee of Boston Globe Freelancers' Association recently prepared
new strategies to price their services in the Internet Age. (See companion Stories
To obtain a glimpse into this 'e-future', we consulted with five individuals
around the United States. They are Alan Carey, co-owner of The Image Works, a
director of the American Society of Media Photographers.
what new means will freelancers profit from their work? Most of their replies -
publication. In most instances, these creators - freelance writers, photographers,
or anyone who possesses a copyright - will license these rights for a fee.
Copyright law permits them to license ancillary rights. This boosts their
incomes, which is especially important to editorial freelancers. They are usually
commercial clients. In a sense, it allows them to catch up.
handsome remuneration for a days work. He images might be seen repeatedly on
billboards and in print advertisements. A newspaper or magazine photographer is
taking a photo which will be published only once. Publishers of newspapers and
magazines will not pay commercial rates for images that will be published once.
owns the copyright.
represents an additional use.
He (or his peers) must negotiate with a publisher. In order to negotiate
his materials on the internet. Granting a publisher œinclusiveœ web rights may or
may not be in a freelancerœs best interest. It depends upon the remuneration he
receives. This question will be answered in greater detail on another page.
4. Publishers will rent the editorial materials in their web archives to
clients all over the world.
Why are editorial archives valuable? Aren't they just 'old news?'
Researchers have traditionally sought archived articles by referring to
periodical guides, browsing among library stacks, and combing through microfiche.
This process was time consuming and cumbersome.
Today and in the future, internet search engines and keywording will enable
researchers - often representing other media - to access published articles from all
over the world. As the internet matures, media entities will be purchasing the
rights to republish each otherœs articles. This development will represent
additional means of income for freelancers and publishers.
Describe a scenario by which an archive will be rented?
To paraphrase Jim Pickerell:
When a college professor develops reading material for his class, he can
inform a text book publisher of his lesson plans for the semester. The textbook
publisher can then provide the professor with a custom package of academic
materials germane to his class.
Some of these materials will come from the text book company's data base.
Other materials can be searched and found on the archives of internet web sites.
For example, a six month old report from the Academy of Sciences web site might
be included in this package. Another contribution could be a one year old science
article, including the photos that accompany it, gleaned from the archives of a
newspaper's web site.
The text book publisher will package these materials and sell them for about
the cost of a major textbook. The newspaper and the freelancer who wrote the
story will receive ancillary fees for this transaction.
Where on the internet can I view an editorial web link?
Visit the web site of Britannica.com. This encyclopedia is resplendent with
web links to editorial articles at other web sites.
Besides text books and encyclopedias, what other kinds of media will purchase
access to editorial archives?
The possibilities are varied. Magazines will rent archives from newspapers,
and newspapers will rent archives from magazines. Some end users will be
independent editorial web sites renting content from the traditional large
content providers. Or vice versa.
But on the internet, will there really be end users? What if the end users
sell their archives?
In summary, archived editorial materials, including those of any newspaper,
will be rented to media throughout the world. These transactions may occur long
after these articles and photos were first published. This will happen more often
as the internet matures.
Savvy freelancers who control and license the means by which their work is
passed around will boost their incomes.
But who in the world is going to rent an archived newspaper story about pot
holes on the streets of a suburban town?
Chances are, this story would have little residual value. But what about a
story and photos from a newspaperœs local section describing mosquito control
efforts in the marshes of a river? Months after this story is archived, other
media, perhaps an elementary school text book, might decide to publish it as a side
bar to a story about insects. The re-sale possibilities are endless thanks to the
How can a freelancer bill for the inclusion of his materials in a publisher's
web site, and later, in the publisher's digital archives?
Here are some examples:
According to Seth Resnick, if a publisher wishes to place a photo of his on
a web site for a short duration, he charges an additional 35% above the fee paid
for the assignment. If a publisher wishes to permanently include the image in its editorial
archives, Seth charges 100% above the assignment fee. He writes that some
photographers and agencies are charging ten times the amount of the original
Time Magazine offers freelance photographers an option: For an additional
payment of $100.00 per shoot, a freelancer will permit the magazine to publish
the photos on the internet with some restrictions.
Business Week Magazine has doubled their day rate in exchange for inclusive
web rights. Their new rate is $850.00 per shoot plus expenses.
Does this mean the publisher keeps the future profits whenever other media
access the archives?
Seth Resnick replies: "This is a possibility and this is the reason I like
to restrict the times on contracts. The rates must be commensurate with the use.
Unlimited time as in archiving is tough to put an actual price on but is should
be at least 100 percent."
By what other means can a freelancer profit from the internet?
Freelancers can sell materials to a new kind of publication - editorial web
sites which have no affiliation to print publications. As examples, Greg
Mironchuck cites Salon.com, Planet Out, Lifewise, Vote.com, Mosiac, Belief Net,
and Microsoft News. One reason these publications are flourishing is their low
overhead. There are not paying the costs of paper and printing plants.
He wrote: "All they have to do is buy content and hire a few editors to
spruce it up."
Here is another scenario: Freelancers with shared specialties might band
together and create editorial archives related to similar topics. Editors
worldwide will visit these archives when they need materials related to those
specialties. These freelancers will license a web link to a particular article or
photo. Or they will license to buyers the rights to publish these materials in
print or directly on web sites.
On a solo basis, freelancers will sell their archives from their own web
sites. Some photographers are already doing this.
What are some other ways by which a freelancer can profit from the
Commercial web links represent a means of substantial profits.
What is a commercial web link?
It is a hyper link between a company's web site and the archives of an
editorial publication. For example, when a newspaper publishes a laudatory
article about a company, the marketing and public relations representatives of
the company will endeavor to utilize this article for advertising and publicity.
Accordingly, the company will create a link - the click of a mouse - which sends the
visitors to their web site over to the web site of the newspaper, specifically,
to the electronic archives of the newspaper. The visitor will immediately enter a
custom page which presents the story and photos about the company. The newspaper
will charge a fee for this access to their archives. A freelancer will negotiate
another fee to this company.
But will a company pay twice - to a newspaper and a freelancer?
Absolutely. The Boston Globe recently charged a company for two ancillary
uses of an archived article written by a staff writer and illustrated by a
freelance photographer. They charged one fee for the rights to reproduce one
thousand stand alone reprints (paper copi es of the story) and a second fee for a
commercial web link to the article in the archives of Bostonglobe.com. The
freelance photographer who took the photos for this story charged the company an
additional ancillary fee - a third fee - to include his photos in the paper reprints.
It was a win-win-win situation for each party - the newspaper, the freelancer, and
Public relations firms and their clients recognize the value of positive
editorial coverage. They will pay high fees to utilize these reprints. Remember,
this is advertising usage, not editorial.
What's the downside to these visions of the future?
1. There could be fewer assignments for freelancers if publishers place a
greater proportion of archived materials - gleaned from other media - on their pages.
2. If a freelancer decides to sell his work by himself, or place his work
into an agency like the Copyright Clearance Center, the value of the work may
diminish because the same work is also being sold from the editorial archives of
the publishers that first assigned these works. To paraphrase Alan Carey: "By
having many people distributing the same materials, they become a cheap
commodity. The ability to get real value from them is diminished." He suggests
that freelancers should grant their clients limited electronic rights, not
3. Publishers may seek to impose contracts which limit or prevent
freelancers from sharing ancillary profits. The upside for publishers is a higher
profit margin on the sale of residual rights. The downside for them is a
possible drop of editorial quality. Some freelancers will not accept these
contracts and will move on to other clients,
taking their talents with them. In an era of declining newspaper circulations,
publishers must consider the
risk to the quality of their content - and related advertising revenues - in their
efforts to secure ancillary rights from freelancers.
Alan Carey states: "Publishers view the internet based future as a pot of
Here's another way of stating it: "To freelancers, the internet is not a pot
of gold, it is a vein of gold. Editorial archives are the vein, hidden from view
and waiting to be tapped. As the internet matures, those freelancers who are
compensated for the re-use of their materials in these archives are likely to
reap the financial rewards."