Freelances: Bauer has rejected our concessions

Those who agreed to new terms 'did so under duress.'

Freelance contributors locked in a stand-off with Bauer Media over contentious new contacts claim to have had their offers of concessions rejected by the publisher. Now Bauer says it will blacklist freelances who don't sign up to its new conditions on copyright and financial indemnity.

In a bid to end their copyright dispute a number of contributors to Bauer's music magazines proposed alterative contracts to the publisher - chief amongst the concessions was an offer to grant the publisher full copyright over album reviews. However, they continued to reject controversial clauses attempting to grab all copyright and requiring freelances to indemnify Bauer against legal claims.

Phil Sutcliffe, member of an informal network called the Kerrang/Q/Mojo freelance group, told Press Gazette that those concessions had now been rejected by the publisher.

A Bauer spokeswoman told Press Gazette the publisher had sought to clarify clauses in the contracts and reassure freelancers over lingering concerns and that as a result many had signed its proposed new contracts. Sutcliffe claimed that nearly all of the people that have signed "did so under duress".

He added: "There is a kind of silent blacklist that consists of the rest of us that have not signed...we are doing what we can to respond to that and still looking to negotiate on copyright and legal indemnity issues. We retain great hopes that the situation still may be improvable."

The issue was discussed at a meeting of Bauer's freelance contributors on Wednesday night organised by the London Freelance branch of the NUJ.

Sutcliffe said only "a small number" of regular contributors to Q magazine had signed new agreements but said more of Kerrang's contributors had conceded terms.

However, the Bauer spokeswoman said the company's position was that only freelances that had signed the new contacts were now being commissioned by Q, MOJO and Kerrang!

Earlier this month more than 200 freelance journalists accused the publisher of "declaring war" on contributors to its music magazines, including Kerrang!, Mojo and Q, with the proposed copyright-grabbing agreement.

Oliver Luft writes for Press Gazette.