Bauer, a German based publisher owning more than 230 magazines in 15 countries, as well as TV and radio stations, is issuing a rights-grab contract to its freelance contributors in the UK.
The contract was called one of the "harshest" to-date by the NUJ. It obliges freelances to sign away their copyright, waive their moral rights - and included warranties and an indemnity clause, which would have made freelance contributors responsible for the costs of any legal dispute arising from their work. Such costs are typically much higher in the UK than other European countries: taking a case as far as the Court of Appeal can easily cost €500,000 and if you lose there you will have to pay at least that much for the other side's costs on top.
The NUJ entered into dialogue with the company, resulting in it dropping the indemnity clause. Bauer has so far said it is not prepared to amend the assignment of copyright and the waiver of moral rights.
An email network has been set up for contributors who wish to voice their concerns. To sign up, go to www.londonfreelance.org/ShadyBauer