You want to use my article somewhere else? Well, er...
December 7, 2012 5:12 AM   Subscribe

Wrote an article for publication on the web. Billed the client for the article, but did not specify any charges for re-use of the article elsewhere. Now the client just got back to me, saying that they liked it so much they want to use the article on another website which was not specified in the original contract. What should I do next?

Should I charge them extra for this, even if this never came up in the contract? Should I consider the article their property, and let them do whatever with it as they please?
posted by micketymoc to Work & Money (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, what does the contract say? Clearly your client doesn't think it's their property, otherwise they wouldn't have mentioned this to you.

Tell them you'd love to negotiate terms for expanded use of your work. If you have a standard fee, give it to them.
posted by inturnaround at 5:25 AM on December 7, 2012

Well, in future, modify your contract to include this contingency.

You can shoot back an email saying, "Awesome! My charge for re-use is $X."

You never know, they just might pay it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:25 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd be cool about it, let them put it on the other site and hope that they'll want you to write something new sometime in the future, and make sure you have a new contract that says "one use, one website" or whatever.
posted by Blake at 5:31 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is no right answer to your question, and certainly no answer without seeing the contract.

Assuming the contract gives the client cause to believe they may not own syndication rights for the piece, because they have come back to you, the call revolves around:

- Whether you want to make nice to this client with the aim of getting repeat business
- Whether you want the exposure, unpaid, in the second publication
- Whether you want the cash, or want to enforce a pricing precedent for republishing from the get-go.

As someone who has paid for a lot of freelance work, my contracts have always made clear that we, the people paying, own all the rights to the content. As such, *I* would expect that and if I told you I wanted to reuse the content, I'd be doing it out of politeness. That said, syndication can be a great cost saver: if you pay once, you can reuse many times. So, if your contract does not assign syndication rights to the first publisher, you are potentially saving them money.

But equally, were I an author, I'd try and make sure that any work I did was done on the basis of being licensed to the publisher. This is particularly important if you can resell the work to an entirely different audience (i.e. a magazine in a different country).

The key here really is both the contract and what relationship you want with the publisher(s).
posted by MuffinMan at 5:34 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

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