Settlement reached between writer Patricia Pearson and Rogers Publishing

When freelancer Patricia Pearson wrote an article called “It’s Just Nuts” for Chatelaine in 2009, she probably didn’t think a dispute that followed from that piece would end more than two year later.

But late last year Pearson — with the help of legal representation from the Canadian Media Guild and support from the Canadian Writers Group — reached a settlement with Rogers, Chatelaine‘s publisher.

Her beef with Rogers had nothing to do with the controversial nature of “It’s Just Nuts,” an article suggesting that it appeared peanut allergies were being over-diagnosed, which was unnecessarily frightening parents; it provoked criticism from the public and some in the media, particularly (and unsurprisingly) from the editor of Allergic Living. Some commenters on DB Scott’s Canadian Magazines blog even suggested that the story was at the root of Maryam Sanati’s dismissal from her position as Chatelaine‘s editor-in-chief (others disagreed, we should note).

Instead, Pearson’s conflict with Rogers arose because she believed the publisher owed her additional compensation after the story appeared on third-party sites, which, in turn, Rogers claimed was covered by a clause in her contract that dealt with “promotional” uses of freelancers’ stories. Rogers had the story removed from these sites upon Pearson’s request. The second issue was that Rogers kept Pearson’s story on Chatelaine‘s site for about twice as long as her contract allowed.

The process didn’t move quickly, but with the help of the CMG’s lawyer, Sean FitzPatrick of Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre and Cornish, Pearson reached a settlement with Rogers and she’s pleased with the outcome, as was Canadian Writers Group and Rogers. It marks an end to a long and frustrating story, but it’s one that proves writers can, and should, fight for what’s rightfully theirs.

UPDATE: This post was updated on March 23. It originally mischaracterized the slant of Pearson’s article, “It’s Just Nuts,” as well as the amount of media criticism that piece received. Those sections of the post have been corrected.

Posted on March 22, 2012 at 10:00 am by editor · · Tagged with: , , , , ,

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