There is an informal badge of honour that exists amongst bloggers that marks you out as someone who has caught the eye of the mass market media, but are deemed to be too small to be of consequence.

It’s the moment a newspaper nicks a photo or other content from a blog and hopes you wont notice.

It turns out that I have been inducted into this dubious hall of fame, after serial copyright infringers, the Daily Mail decided to write an article, and use my photos to illustrate it.

The blog post in question is the one the other day about the anniversary of the Cock Lane ghost.

To be honest, not one of my best, as there wasn’t anything new I could add to the story other than marking an otherwise probably overlooked anniversary. It is, to historians at least, very well documented, and the Wikipedia page is unusually detailed for something that took place 250 years ago.

I trawled through my own collection of vintage newspapers and engravings to see if I could add much more to the story – but ended up with a summary of the facts. I did however visit Cock Lane to take a photo of it as it is today, and got copies of a couple of contemporary newspaper reports.

You can imagine my surprise then when one of the newspaper scans, and my photo of Cock Lane appeared in the Daily Mail.

Published yesterday by a “Daily Mail Reporter“, then rewritten, rather better to be honest, a few hours later by Nick Enoch – both articles used my photos, without permission, payment or acknowledging my copyright.

Screenshots from the Daily Mail

I wont quibble over the text, or that they certainly used my blog post as inspiration (there are some telltale linguistics in the text, especially in the first version), but nicking my photos is rather rude.

It’s not as if they don’t know how to contact me, as the photo editor has been in touch in the past to ask about using my photos, and they have on record how much I charge for that.

I pinged them an email this morning, and am waiting for a response.

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20 Comments

  1. TGP

    I wouldn’t bother pinging them, Ian. Just send them a bill – if you’ve already told them how much you charge, charge them that amount.

  2. jonquil

    I’m with TGP.

  3. Heike

    No. You need to charge them twice the original price.

  4. Jules

    Bill them! I wrote about this with twitpics etc. in mind here blog.julesmattsson.co.uk/2011/12/02/taken-without-permission/ but the advice applies generally

  5. I’d just send a bill and definitely make it more than your usual, also point out to them that they need to give credits…too many media outlets behaving badly in this way and we all need to let them know they ain’t gettin’ away with it!

  6. Mark Baynes

    Send them (a) invoice for usage of all images and (b) invoice for breach of copyright. Have a Google and am sure you will find (b) exceeds (a) by quite a good margin :)

  7. Barriedalenick

    Have they linked to rather than copy your image? – if they have linked to it then imagine the fun you could have by subbing the image out with something like “Please support the Mail’s gay marriage campaign” or something equally apporpriate.

  8. Paul

    I think you should submit this info into the Leveson inquiry since it feeds into the remit of “culture, practices and ethics of the media”.

  9. GS

    Charge them three times your usual fee and don’t let up until they pay you. They are in the wrong.

  10. sean

    Anyone going to comment on the news article linking to this blog?

  11. Phil

    Charge them 10 times the usual amount. The justification is that unless you monitor them daily, you’re only likely to notice (and photographers generally are only likely to notice) and be able to bill for, 1 in 10 of the images they steal, if that.

  12. Chris Pearson

    TGP is correct in the advice on the basis of a trading history. You can charge them anymore than your last invoice unless agreed up front. If you got money out of them before you have also indicated a pattern of business. So a simple bill stating the day of the article page etc. is just fine. Best of look and may the law be with you.

  13. Simon Crofts

    “You can charge them anymore than your last invoice unless agreed up front.”

    You can charge them considerably more than your usual amount. Have a read through; http://www.epuk.org/Opinion/994/stolen-photographs-what-to-do

  14. Juanodey

    If it was me I would just bill them the usual price and keep what sounds like a reasonable business arrangement going. By over reacting you’re at risk of losing them as a customer. Think long term. It’s great that you’re getting published.

  15. @juanodey. No. Does a shop simply bill a shoplifter who has in the past occasionally paid for stuff, because they don’t want to lose their business? No need to buy a bus ticket because you bought one back in 1987? Or the woman I met, encased in plaster, who said her husband did it, but she still loved him and believed he’d change, even though it was the third time….

    There is nothing “great” about being abused by the Daily Mail, short or long term, without permission, payment nor even a byline. What’s happening to publishing is that stealing photos is becoming normalised and acceptable, because it’s easy, and because photographers are so simperingly desperate for attention that they feel flattered to have been screwed.

    • Juanodey

      Don’t get me wrong Tony. I believe any infringement of someone’s copyright is wrong, although perhpas not as wrong as the criminal acts you’ve compared it with, particularly the comparison with a man beating his wife. There are degrees of ‘wrong’ after all. I also didn’t mean that the Daily Mail printing the image without permission is ‘great’ Clearly not. The fact that Ian has been published is great though. My advice was merely to try and sort the situation out amicably in the photographers favour. Clearly, if this isn’t done to Ian’s likely then the other valid and more serious options to seek recompenmse with the publishers are open and should be pursued.

  16. Don’t let them rip you off. If you are already on their files then there is no excuse. Bill them and as has been suggested & increase the previous rate. Advice can also be obtained (for members) at http://www.nuj.org.uk.

  17. Ian, I’d go with the above – just send an invoice to where you sent it last time with proof that they nicked your pic – that’s outrageous behaviour and its not as if they couldn’t have made a 1 minute long phone call to get permission.

    I’d never have picked up on this however, because I wouldn’t wipe my bum with the Daily Mail…

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