The Authors Guild has called attention to a new freelancer contract from Conde Nast which apparently claims the right to “a free 12-month right to option dramatic and multimedia rights to articles appearing in its magazines and then, if it exercises that option, shares less than half the usual amount with the author.”
The Guild goes on to wonder if this is indeed a rights grab:
So, when does a contractual term cross the line and become a rights grab? Breaking with industry practice is clearly one thing to consider. A second is whether the publisher is seeking to control rights that aren???t the main point of the contract. A third ??? a biggie ??? is compensation: is the publisher taking rights at bargain-basement rates? Another way to look at that is whether a journalist or book author with greater bargaining power would find the deal acceptable.
In other words, the answer — according to the Authors Guild — is yes.