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For those of you considering joining professional organizations, take this into account:

The head of the Society for Professional Journalists' freelance committee just resigned, citing SPJ's support of publishers and against freelancers looking to defend their contracts. Or at least that's one perspective.

To get a broader look at the issues at stake here, consider reading Erik Sherman's blog on the subject.

This will be especially interesting, I imagine, for the legal writers among us.

What do you think?


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 8th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)
My instict, and I am not a lawyer, is to think that it shouldn't be considered just a reissue if there's more money to be made off it. The "fair use" test uses "commercial nature" as a test to see whether copyright infringement is OK; I'd say this is analogous, though fair use doesn't apply here. Ultimately, it's probably gonna be about who has the best lawyer and how the judge is feeling that day. :P Sherman is right that there's a case to be made for both sides.

I also think Sherman is right to imply that SPJ is abdicating its responsibilities toward its members. I don't think it's even about staff vs. freelance; people are constantly crossing over from one to the other.

I'm also extremely interested in the conflict of interests for SPJ's law firm. If I were a lawyer, I'd have serious qualms about doing that, regardless of how long it's been since they did any work for National Geographic.
Aug. 9th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
SPJ National President Christine Tatum's response
SPJ National President Christine Tatum has offered comment on her blog, "Freedom of the Prez." To read it, please visit:
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )