Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Advice For Freelancers

Dear ERDC Member,

At a workshop on “freelancers and contracts,” our legal counsel, Me. Mireille Goulet made suggestions on how freelancers can write for any publisher with least damage to the class action.

Mireille suggests it would be best if freelancers could hold out until the spring when our case comes up for authorization. NOT SIGNING THE SOUTHAM FREELANCE AGREEMENT is still our strongest course of action in support of the case.

FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SIGNED (NON-SIGNERS:)

In some cases, not signing the contract has resulted in loss of work. This is a direct consequence of the intransigence of publishers like Southam. Even when small amounts of money are involved, publishing with Southam means visibility for writers; loss of that visibility damages our careers. The ERDC invites testimonials from writers who have suffered as a result of their refusal to sign an e-rights grabbing contract. Such documentation is important and can be used as evidence to support our case. If you have a testimonial, please write us at the above address(es).

FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SIGNED (SIGNERS)

Signers have a few options, short of terminating their agreement:

Mireille suggests writing “signed under duress” next to your signature, AND:

(1) sign only on a story-by-story basis;

(2) write an out-date (time limit) on your contract.

SIGNERS AND NON-SIGNERS can assist the class action and the ERDC greatly by keeping copies of all correspondence with Southam. If you have signed the Freelance Agreement, consider sending your editor a registered letter requesting it be modified (e.g., by adding an out-date). Keep a copy, forward a copy to the ERDC, and do the same with any responses you might receive. If you don’t hear back from your editor, send a follow-up letter stating that you are awaiting a response. Keep a copy, forward us a copy, and so on.

If you signed the Freelance Agreement, and subsequently stopped writing for Southam publications, we suggest you send your editor a letter stating that you are herewith terminating the contract, and forward us a copy. Evidence of lapsed and/or terminated contracts can also be used to support our case.

If you have unanswered questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If you are willing and able to help further the goals of the ERDC, let us know. We are currently looking for people in the Montreal area to serve on the executive. Anyone who supports the objectives of the ERDC may join. If you know of interested writers, please encourage them to get in touch with us.

The fight is not over, but so far we have won several important court decisions. Writers must stay united — this year is crucial in the struggle for electronic rights.

Yours sincerely,
The ERDC

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