Shannon Lee Mannion said No


Shannon Lee Mannion was one of two who said No

five years ago when Ottawa Citizen pulled the same stunt

Here is her story:

By Shannon Lee Mannion
True North Perspective

I was only one of two of the roughly 110 freelance writers who refused to sign the freelance contract with The Ottawa Citizen five years ago and I was summarily dismissed after having written a column for at least ten years.

My column was originally once a week, 1,000 words for $100. Then they wanted it twice a week at 750 words for $100.

My take is that because I had been vociferous about the ongoing mistreatment of freelancers the fix was in long before it became necessary to sign the contract. In fact, I had refused to sign the contract several times before and nothing had happened.

My reason for not signing the contract is that not only would it have attached my fiduciary rights, it would have subsumed my moral rights, as well.

Receiving royalties for articles, paltry as they had been, ($5 to $10) would no longer take place and the contract stipulated that articles could be sold by the publisher wherever and whenever, with or without a byline, and could be changed, translated and published throughout the universe with the creator having no recourse.

The piece de resistance was that as freelancers, once we submitted the article, all rights fell under control of the publisher and if we wanted to republish the article, let's say, include it in a book or anthology, we would have to get permission, or even, it was posited, pay a fee to use our own work.

Interestingly, some freelancers who were writing columns at the same time, did not have to sign the contract. These were the pets of the newsroom.