German publishing company Jahreszeitenverlag, whose publications include “Merian”, “Für Sie”, “Petra”, “Feinschmecker,” trying to pull a fast one with a new contract forced on photographers in Germany. Previously, like any other decent contract, work done for Jahreszeitenverlag was fairly compensated and embargoed for a set period after which the photographer (the copyright owner) could resell the images or use them any way he or she wanted; if Jahreszeitenverlag’s magazines wanted to reuse the photos, a new sales fee would be determined and paid according to usage.
Recently the company has foisted a new contract on contributors, and it’s horrible. According to the new contract (which retains the photographer’s usual daily royalty fee of around 350 euros), ownership of all images taken for the assignment will pass to the publisher who commissioned this assignment; the photographer will no longer receive any royalties at all from subsequent use of the image material; second sales of the images will only be possible through the publishing company’s own syndication. Sounds like a royal screw job. German photographers have rightfully rejected the contract and are organizing under FreeLens, a German freelance photographers’ organization. But it gets worse.
Now the company has been preying on international contributors, likely unfamiliar with the Jahreszeitenverlag contract controversy. They’ve been sending off assignments rejected by German photographers to international contributors, hoping they can cut off the German photographers ability to negotiate the contract. Many photographers have asked their agencies to place an embargo on any dealings with Jahreszeitenverlag titles until the conflict is acceptably resolved.
There’s a little information about the dispute at Freelens (google translate), and there’s also a petition to Jahreszeitenverlag that’s nearing 3000 signatures from concerned members of the international and German photo community.
Do your part. Refuse any work from Jahreszeitenverlag. Add your name to the petition. Spread the word.
- Freelens press release: Jahreszeitenverlag is the “gravedigger of photojournalism” (original german)
- Interview with Freelens CEO Lutz Fischmann about the dispute (original german)