According to Kent Online, the Dover Town Council asked a design firm to update the town's website with a picture of the famous White Cliff. However, in a bid to keep the costs down, a picture of the wrong cliffs was used. "Local photographer Ray Newsam spotted the error," writes the newspaper. "He studied the snap on the Dover council's home page and realised the cliffs pictured were, in fact, the Seven Sisters in Sussex - 76 miles away."
The Dover Town Council was forced to admit the mistake, which it blamed on the need to find images without copyright. "Part of (design firm's) remit was to keep costs to a minimum, therefore nothing with a copyright was used," town clerk Michael Webb tells Kent Online. "This caused its own problems, since it was hard to find a copyright-free photo taken with a professional, high-definition camera."
But now, the city has called for all photographers to send their high-definition images of the cliffs to be used on the site - without remuneration.
Speaking to BJP, Webb says that the "photograph has been on the website for four years, and it has never been a major problem. We never claimed that it was an image of the White Cliffs. What we put on there was a small picture of a bay, and we have many such bays around Dover."
He adds: "What we're now saying is that if people wish to provide a photograph of the White Cliffs, they can do so, but it would have to be of the highest resolution."
Asked why the council did use a professional photographer to provide such an image, Webb says that "in due course, that's what we will do. But all we're doing in the meantime is to offer the public a chance to provide such a picture."
Photographer Steve Bloom tells BJP: "As a professional I find it disturbing that photography has been devalued in this way, and this is a classic case which demonstrates how taking short cuts can be counter-productive. It is up to all photographers to hold out for fees where relevant and for amateurs to realise that where their images are used professionally, they have every right to insist on being paid."
Bloom adds: "Town clerk Mike Webb should also understand the meaning of copyright-free, which is different from royalty free. Even if he publishes a picture on his website without paying, the copyright still belongs to the photographer unless otherwise transferred in writing, and photographers should never give up copyright to their work. They should only license the images for publication for a fee, stressing that the license is 'one-time', so that the images cannot be used indiscriminately in the future."
UPDATE - 24 NOVEMBER, 5pm: Amateur Photographer magazine reports that the Council has asked Dame Vera Lynn to help select the image that will be used by the council. However, town clerk Michael Webb maintains that the photographer won't be remunerated. "We are all hard up, we are all strapped for cash," he tells Amateur Photographer.
Most Popular Articles
Updating your subscription status
We have a vacancy for a Senior Lecturer in Photography at Bath School of Art and Design
We're Creative Escapes, an award winning creative holiday company based in London.
Bonhams is looking for a full-time photographer for its sale catalogues