Early last month, Time Magazine decided to put out new agreements for their freelance photographers. It was pretty disgraceful. You can read it Here.
For starters, any time the agreement starts out with a letter, and in the first line of the letter, it reads "Since the 1920's and 30's," you already know which direction this is going to go. Secondly, it is in familiar fashion, an 8 page contract, outlining all of the ins and outs. The length of the contract, however, is not nearly as important as the content.
Photographers who sign this contract can expect to lose all abilities to earn any type of licensing revenue. Where us photographers can expect to earn residual income on some of our best images, this contract takes that ability from us, and that's why this is so important.
Not only will signing this contract take all of your potential for future licensing revenue, this rights grab may also stretch across their entire brand, to include:
Travel and Leisure
Sports Illustrated Kids
People En Espanol
And much, much, more. In fact, you can read the entire list here.
Over 90 different publications.
The sad part is that this isn't the first time this has happened in recent years. This contract is a very dangerous shot towards not only photographers but other artist. It is becoming more and more difficult for upcoming photographers to find work that pays proper rights and pay, and this may very well the biggest infringement upon those rights. It is up to us as artist not only to protect our current and future earnings, but also to make sure that rights grabs such as this don't completely destroy the future of our industry. We must stand together and unite in order to overcome such dangerous obstacles like this. The future of our industry is in the balance.