Pluralistic: Better failure for social media (19 Dec 2022)

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Reasonable Agreement

On the Crapification of Literary Contracts

Two swordsmen cross blades while standing on the pages of an open book, an inkpot between them. The swords are antique pen-nibs.

I don’t want to pretend that freelance writing contracts were ever great, but in the 34 years since I sold my first short story — at 17 — I’ve observed firsthand how manifestly unfair contractual terms have become standard, and worse, non-negotiable.

I started selling to magazines back in 1980s, which were the the dawn of corporate publishing consolidation. Magazines changed owners frequently as they were snapped up by new owners who, in turn, merged or bought out their competitors (thank Ronald Reagan for neutering antitrust and allowing these mergers to be waved through).

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