On 02 June, the Daily Mail published an article on the wives and girlfriends of England’s World Cup players. To illustrate the story, the newspaper used an image of Louise Barry, Gareth Barry’s wife. While the image held a credit for David Hitchins/Capital Pictures, photographer Ian Richardson claims the image belongs to him.
“The photo was a portrait of footballer Gareth Barry's wife, which I took when I attended the Barrys’ wedding as a photographer,” Richardson tells BJP. “My wife was the Barrys’ wedding planner and she had placed the photo on her website. The photo on her site carried my copyright details in the IPTC metadata. I noticed when I downloaded the photo from the Mail Online that the IPTC data had been changed to ‘Capital Pictures’.”
However, Richardson didn’t realise his image had been used until it was published, another time, by New magazine, owned by Northern and Shell Media Publications. According to correspondence, seen by BJP, between picture editors at the Daily Mail and Capital Pictures, it appears that New requested the image from Capital Pictures after seeing it published on Mail Online. When contacted, Capital Pictures was unable to find the image in its archives, advising the magazine to contact the Daily Mail directly.
In an email, also seen by BJP, Phil Loftus of Capital Pictures wrote to the Daily Mail’s online picture editor Elliot Wagland that he “requested a copy of the image from your picture library after seeing the (wrongly) credited image on the Daily Mail website. The library employee asked if I was the copyright holder and I said that the image was credited to us on your website. He said that the image had no metadata but would then credit the image to Capital Pictures.”
After being contacted by Richardson, who informed the library that he was the rightful owner to the picture, Loftus told the Daily Mail’s online picture editor that Capital Pictures was “not the copyright holders and copyright has not been licensed to us. Please remove any attribution to Capital Pictures.”
Despite being told that the image did not belong to Capital Pictures and that, as a result, Daily Mail had no right to use it, Richardson’s image is still being displayed on Mail Online.
Upon closer inspection, it appears that the file held in the Daily Mail’s library, which was forwarded to Richardson by New magazine, contains purple borders corresponding to Richardson’s website background colour. This would indicate that the file is the result of a screengrab from Richardson’s website.
While the Daily Mail declines to provide a comment on this particular case, BJP understands that the newspaper's picture desk has been asked to resolve this matter with the photographer. Loftus of Capital Pictures tells BJP that once he was made aware of the situation, he stopped distributing the image and informed the Daily Mail of the issue.
It isn’t the first time that the Daily Mail has been at the centre of a copyright infringement case.
In May, the newspaper was forced to admit it had used images shot by another photographer – Emily James of Just Do It – without authorisation and payment. Mail Online had published three images, posted on TwitPic, depicting people waiting outside of St-Vincent polling station in Dalston.
When James contacted Wagland, the Mail’s online picture editor, asking to be paid for the use, she was told that he couldn't pay "the amount you have requested, [as] these images were taken from twitpic and therefore placed in the public domain." He added: "We are more that happy to pay for the images but we'll only be paying £40 per image."
TwitPic’s terms and conditions clearly state that copyright remains with the images’ owner and that any commercial use must be agreed with the copyright holder.
Speaking to BJP in May, a Daily Mail spokesman was forced to reaffirm that it was not the newspaper's policy "to breach photographers' copyrights," and that it will be "happy to look into individual cases."
However, the Daily Mail spokesman declined to comment further when asked to explain why the photographer hadn't been contacted, in the first instance, for use of their image. BJP now understands that James has been paid for the use of her images. However, financial details have not been disclosed.
James' case isn't isolated. Also in May, photographer Clive Flint found out the Daily Mail had altered and used one of his photographs of Lena Pietsch, a member of the Liberal Democrat party and press spokeswoman for Nick Clegg. Flint had published his image on Flickr under a Creative Commons license that only allowed non-commercial and non-derivatives uses.
This article was updated on Thursday 17 June at 12h45 to reflect the fact that Capital Pictures did not charge New magazine for Ian Richardson's picture contrary to what was previously stated. Phil Loftus tells BJP (see comment below) that Capital Pictures informed New magazine that "..copyright belongs to Ian Richardson who I believe has been in contact with New magazine either directly or via his wife, Susanna. Any fees should be discussed with them."
Most Popular Articles
Updating your subscription status
We have a vacancy for a Key Account Manager working on The British Journal of Photography
Magnet Harlequin, one of the UK's leading Creative Production Agencies is seeking a new Head of Photography.
We have opportunities for two experienced photographic, audio or video technicians.