Bauer denies 'declaring war' on its freelances

Bauer Media has hit back at accusations that it had “declared war” on freelance contributors to its entertainment magazines.

More than 200 freelance writers and photographers are, according to the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists, in a stand-off with the German-owned magazine publisher after having accused it of an attempted copyright-grab.

Bauer, publisher of Kerrang!, Mojo and Q magazines, responded last night saying despite a series of proposed revisions to the terms and conditions it was offering a fair contract and has not sought to cut rates of its music magazine freelancers.

The major area of contention for Bauer’s contributors was a claim that the new contracts removed copyright and all financial, legal and moral rights from freelance writers and photographers while simultaneously requiring them to provide Bauer with an unlimited lifetime financial indemnity in the event of legal action arising from their work.

A statement from Bauer said: “With regards indemnity, across the industry, freelancers are responsible for ensuring that the material they provide is their own original work, does not infringe the copyright, moral rights, rights of privacy or any other rights of a third party or is not defamatory.

“The onus is on the freelancer to secure permission and necessary licenses.

“If those permissions cannot be secured, the freelancer is required to notify the commissioning company.”

The company said the new contracts, which would eventually be adopted across all of its magazines, had already been signed by many contributors with indications of acceptance from many more of its freelances.

Bauer said the controversial contracts had already been introduced to its specialist brands, including Max Power and MCN, based in Peterborough.

It said: “We are keen to continue working with all our contributors and believe our new terms and conditions for commissioning contributors and photographers are still among the very best in the industry.”

Bauer that the figure of 200 contributors being in a stand off with the company was considerably higher than the number of freelances it currently uses on its entertainment magazines.

Read the full Bauer statement here.

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