Freelance journalists and writers have started to get TC Media’s new contract. So far, the only copies we have seen have been in French; it’s not yet clear whether an English version is being used.
The new contract doesn’t make the massive grabs that the previous version did: the freelancer maintains the copyright on his/her item, and also retains moral rights, i.e. the right to associate his/her name with the work, and the right to have the editorial integrity of the piece maintained.
The contract is far from being perfect; TC Media still wants exclusive rights to first publication for a year, and non-exclusive rights thereafter in pretty much all formats and all media. Still, content creators will be able to generate revenue from their work and not have to surrender it completely, as they would have under the previous contract.
The fact that TC Media has made any positive movement at all is worth noting. The company wouldn’t have changed anything had it not been for the loud protests that came from freelance content creators. The company isn’t talking about the pressure exerted by organizations like the Canadian Media Guild, the Professional Writers Association of Canada, the Association des journalistes indépendants du Québec, the Canadian Freelance Union and the Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels, among others, but it’s clear to us that seeing all these organizations come together in common cause made TC Media rethink its strategy.
Together we succeeded in pushing back on a one-sided contract that represented a threat to the livelihood of freelancers at TC Media and, in fact, everywhere.
Let’s keep it up.