Yankee has become the first regional magazine to sign with the Authors Registry to funnel royalties to freelance writers for reuse of their work in electronic databases.

Under the terms of its recently revised standard freelance contract, Yankee and its outside contributors will share evenly all royalties from article databases on online services subscribed to by computer users and on CD-ROMs sold to libraries. The Authors Registry, the not-for-profit licensing and payment clearinghouse, will distribute writers' shares.

Since it began operations last year, the Registry's deals on behalf of freelance writers have been with national publications, including Harper's, Cooking Light and Travel & Leisure. Yankee Publishing, Inc. produces Yankee, which has a monthly circulation of 700,000, and other publications, including two well known annuals, the Old Farmer's Almanac and Yankee Magazine's Travel Guide to New England.

Yankee's new article contract provides for additional payments to writers for rights beyond first use in the magazine. Besides the database royalty split, Yankee writers receive an extra fee for up to a year's use on the magazine's World Wide Web site and another fee if a Yankee article is reused in the Travel Guide.

"We're getting some nice feedback about our contract and our arrangement with the Registry," says Ann Duffy, Yankee's editorial business manager. "Some writers have clipped notes to the contract when they send it back, saying they appreciate our fairness." The Authors Registry boasts unprecedented support from more than 100 literary agencies and nearly every important writers' organization in the United States--more than 30 groups--whose clients and members are automatically eligible for enrollment without charge. Unaffiliated freelancers may join as individuals for $10.