How to respond when a publication wants you to indemnify them

By Sara Tatelman Congratulations — a new editor is really excited about your pitch, and you’re really excited to get paid to investigate something you care about. All that’s left is to sign the contract. But then you read it, all nine pages, and your heart sinks. The contract requires you to indemnify the publisher […]

Posted on September 13, 2018 at 10:08 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , , ,

The rise of indemnification clauses in freelance contracts

By Sara Tatelman When Toronto journalist Jesse Brown wanted to break the Jian Ghomeshi story, he knew couldn’t do so on his independent podcast Canadaland. At the time, he didn’t have any libel insurance, and several lawyers told him that while he could take steps to ensure he could win a libel lawsuit, provided he […]

Posted on September 12, 2018 at 9:29 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , ,

Freelance journalists and responsible communication

By Brittany Duggan It’s no secret that journalism today is in great flux. For years, the industry has been negotiating fast-paced digital disruption. This has required journalism to seek new ways to pay for itself while still serving its civic duty. The decline in resources means, among other things, a decline in the ability to […]

Posted on September 15, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

What’s in your contract?

Libel notice served to Toronto Life should give freelance writers pause for thought   York University’s recent libel notice to Toronto Life should serve as a sobering reminder for Canadian freelance writers. The article at issue – a feature on sexual assault at York – was written by freelance contributor Katherine Laidlaw. Fortunately for Laidlaw, […]

Posted on October 22, 2013 at 9:05 am by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , , , ,

Professional liability insurance for freelancers in the works

Freelance contacts are sprouting some worrisome clauses these days, with many publishers attempting to shift responsibility for defamation onto writers. As a result, Writers Coalition (the plan developed by Actra Fraternal Benefits Society to offer group insurance to independent content creators) is looking into the possibility of offering professional liability insurance to freelance writers. Jason Saulay, […]

Posted on January 17, 2013 at 9:10 am by Rachel · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , ,

Defamation clause in new Canada Wide Media contract remains unchanged

Last week it was brought to our attention that Canada Wide Media, which publishes of a variety of magazines including Westworld and BC Business, has updated its contract for freelance contributors. Back in May, Story Board reported that the CWM contract contained a clause that places responsibility for libel suits resulting from a published work squarely on the writer’s shoulders. At that […]

Posted on November 7, 2012 at 8:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Signer beware: Libel clauses in some freelance contracts leave writers holding the bag

Clauses that make writers wholly responsible for defamatory language in magazine articles have been popping up in freelance contracts for a while now. Last fall, we mentioned that The Grid, owned by Torstar Corp., was distributing new freelance agreements with clauses that could leave writers exposed to counter-suits in the event a libel suit was […]

Blogger must pay $2.5 million after judge decides she’s not a journalist

Freelancers, here’s something to consider. If you’re not affiliated with a particular publication, are you still a journalist? If you self-publish investigative pieces, or really anything that could be deemed defamatory, are you protected by the law? Crystal Cox, a Portland-based writer, is the target of a lawsuit from Obsidian Finance Group, reports a Seattle […]

Posted on December 9, 2011 at 10:04 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , , , ,

BC Business editor quits after publisher kills story

Matt O’Grady resigned from his editor-in-chief position at BC Business one week ago. It wasn’t one of those resignations that’s code for “got fired.” He really truly quit. According to this Vancouver Sun article, his beef with the magazine’s publisher, Peter Legge, was over a cover story for the June issue that O’Grady felt was […]

Posted on May 20, 2011 at 7:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,