Freelance contributors pressured to give away all their rights by Australia's largest newspaper publishing group

Fairfax - Australia’s largest newspaper publishing group - intends to force its freelance contributors, both journalists and photographers, to sign a standard copyright agreement that takes away all their copyright and moral rights over their work. The contract grants Fairfax a “worldwide, irrevocable, exclusive licence” to use Fairfax work “by all means whatsoever”. It also contains a moral right waiver allowing Fairfax to do “anything that might otherwise infringe (freelancers’) moral rights”. It also deprives freelancers from contributing to most other Australian media outlets.

Thanks to this standard contract Fairfax, which recently merged with Rural Press, Australia's largest publishers of regional and agricultural news and information, will be able to use all freelance contributions in all its outlets, including online, for no extra payment.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (the Alliance), the Australian union for journalists and IFJ member, fears that this licence would dangerously reduce its members’ income by depriving them from all the benefits of working as a freelance. While similar standard contracts are being developed in other media groups, the Alliance calls on its freelance members to refrain from signing any copyright licence allowing for the re-use of their work online and in other publications without their authorisation and extra remuneration.