Generally, employees of newspapers and magazines own certain rights in relation to material they create for publication.
Journalistsʼ rights in relation to their work largely depends on their agreement with the publisher. Journalists also have moral rights in relation to their work.
In Australia, Copyright protects a range of literary works written by journalists including:
- press articles
- scripts (such as for programs or commercials); and
Newspaper and Magazine Staff
There are special provisions for copyright ownership for staff of newspapers, magazines and other periodicals. In most cases, the first owner of copyright in works created by employees, as part of their job, is the employer. There is a special provision in the Copyright Act (section 35(4)) for employees of newspapers, magazines and other periodical publications. These include staff writers, photographers and cartoonists. There are different provisions depending on when the work was created, because of changes in the law.
|Since 1 July 1998||Owns rights for:
||Owns rights for everything else|
|Between 1 May 1969 and 1 July 1998||Owns all rights except:
||Owns rights for:
|Before 1 May 1969||Right to restrain uses other than publication in a
newspaper, magazine or similar periodical
|Owns rights for everything, subject to employee’s
right to restrain
Some things to note:
- the provision applies to all employees, including writers, photographers and cartoonists
- there can be an agreement between the employer and the employee altering the effect of the provision (e.g. vesting all rights in the employer)
- the provision applies to periodical publications other than newspapers and magazines
- the Copyright Law Review Committee, in its Report on Journalists’ Copyright, said the provision applies to scientific, trade and professional periodicals (see paragraph 4.10)
- the provision does not apply to employees of other media (e.g. broadcasters)
CONTRIBUTORS TO NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
Contributors to newspapers and magazines – including journalists and other writers, as well as photographers and cartoonists and illustrators – are likely to be entitled to claim a copyright payment in the following circumstances, however this entitlement depends on individual employment or contractual arrangements. The following is a guide only.
|Work created by you as||Licence fees allocated for||Provided|
|Freelancer||Any use of your work||You have not assigned the entitlement to claim to the publisher (check your contract)|
|Employee of newspaper or magazine||
||You have not assigned the entitlement to claim for these uses to your employer (check your employment contract)|
If the work was created by you as part of your job as an employee of another type of business (e.g. a wire service, or a broadcaster), it is unlikely you are entitled to claim unless there is a special provision in your employment contract.
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- Read our Terms & Conditions
- Apply online via our Member Portal.
- Or you can contact the Copyright Agency’s Member Services team on 1800 066 844 or by emailing email@example.com.