Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Letting Freelancers Screw Themselves: CONDÉ NAST(Y) Edition

Conde Nast has taken a page out of the Time Magazine playbook and their new contract outlines that you can pay a fee to be paid faster, according to the Fashionista blog here, who reports they have a copy of the latest contract.

In 2009, Photo Business News reported here about how Time Warner was doing the same thing.  What is not clear, is what the Conde Nast payment schedule is like.

It is a common accounting concept whereby you bill, say, $1,000 for an assignment, and offer the following terms: "2/10 Net 30", which means that the party receiving the invoice may take a 2% discount if they pay in 10 days, otherwise the full amount is due after that, and late after 30 days. A good outline of the concept is available here,  and sometimes, it's "1/10 Net 30" too.

One of the challenges is when that 30 days begins. Is it 30 days from invoice date? Is it 30 days from when the manuscript is accepted by the editor? Or is it 30 days following the date of publication (usually listed as the date on the front of the magazine). With magazines often having a multi-month lead time for articles, it could well be that you don't get paid for many months.

On many occasions, we've had clients hold onto invoices, or even lose them and ask that they be resent, which delays payment, because the accounting department doesn't start the "30 days" clock, until they receive it.

As Fashionista notes, in the state of New York, where Conde Nast is headquartered, a law passed in October of 2016 (here) requires timely payment or financial penalties or even a lawsuit could result. Clearly, this new contract begins to factor that in, plus payment terms.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, so they say. So, the contract could, or should include interest or penalty charges when an invoice is paid after a set date, no?

(Comments and a note, after the Jump)
Editors note:  Yes, we repurposed the same "Time Warner screws freelancer graphic here, because, well, they still are skewing freelancers

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