Coffee heat rising


One of the freelance writer’s (and editor’s!) mottoes is “A$k and ye shall re¢eive.” It was coined (as it were) by the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the best of the few truly useful writer’s groups in existence. The gist of this bon mot is that you should not accept just any lowball offer a publisher tries to inflict on you, but instead should insist on being paid fairly for professional work.

Well, I just landed a client that pays a moderate but more or less acceptable rate. Only problem is, this company expects contractors to sign a nondisclosure agreement that contains not one, not two, but three onerous indemnity clauses. In a nutshell, the contract proposes that the penniless freelancer will pay all the legal bills for any claim even vaguely related to her or his work that is brought against this international corporation by any wretch who thinks he or she should feel aggrieved.

I’ve been going back and forth with the company’s rep for the past ten days or two weeks over this, they offering one modification or another and me repeating that I’m not signing any agreement to indemnify.

Amazingly, they sat down and rewrote their contract to delete the offending clauses! The thing arrived in the e-mail this morning. So… I guess we’re on.

This is the second time I’ve stood my ground on indemnity clauses, expected to be told to take a hike, but prevailed.

The take-home message here is that if you own a small enterprise, you should stand firm on negotiating your terms and your price, and never accept a deal that puts you at a disadvantage.