Freelance Writer’s Contract

In 2009, the MEAA issued the Alliance Model Contract which could be used by  freelance journalists as the basis for negotiations.

The contract below is a simplified version of that 2009 MEAA standard freelance journalist’s contract and includes as standard, non-exclusive ongoing digital rights for the publication’s website – which most publishers wish to secure.  You can  cut and paste the text below into an email or print out for signatures.

Copyright terms

The author retains full copyright.  Moral rights reside with the author subject to normal and reasonable editing requirements.

The following rights are standard:

1. Rights of use in all Australian editions of the publication in paper form (First Australian Print rights, exclusive for three months after submission)

2. Non-exclusive digital rights are granted and these apply to the Internet website of that publication only. Work must be bylined as agreed.  (On-line database submission and use in any other media to be negotiated at the time of commissioning)

3. Rights to license the photocopying of cuttings for publishers’ internal information purposes are granted.

The following rights can be negotiated:

1. General syndication rights (“lifting rights”) for 1 year.
2. “Spot sale” syndication rights for 1 year.

In return for syndication rights, the journalist will receive 80% of attributable revenue.

The Publisher recognises the journalist’s right to re-use or re-sell material during the term of the standard licence, provided that there is no conflict of interest.

Payment:  WordRate or fixed fee, to be negotiated at the time of commissioning. Payment is for words commissioned, not words printed.  Additions and changes to a submitted story which meets the original brief attract additional cost at the standard word rate.  GST is invoiced on top of the agreed fee for words and images. A tax invoice will be submitted with the story or on the same day. Standard Payment Terms require payment by direct deposit within 14 days of invoice.

Other terms (eg payment on publication) should be negotiated up front. If publication will be more than 30 days after delivery of work, 50% payment in advance is requested.


Reasonable expenses incurred in the preparation of ordered or commissioned material will be agreed with the commissioning editor.


All text, articles and photographs to be bylined as agreed.

Delivery of copy

Copy will normally be sent as an attachment to an email in an MS-Word document. Invoices will be sent as a PDF file as an email attachment.

*Ethical standards

*I am a member of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance and observe their Code of Conduct.


The publisher will indemnify the author against action for defamation or any other action.


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