Newspaper conviction reporting - google copyright

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Newspaper conviction reporting - google copyright

Post by Zane85 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:14 am

A national paper published an article on my friend concerning a recent conviction. They are using an image of him, but it is one that I created, as such they do not own the copyright. I could simply ask them to remove the image. I’m hoping that there isn’t a public interest defence. Also, I’m also not sure how I can prove that I own this image. The better result is if we could hide the article from Google. I’m considering putting in a copyright infringement request to Google, to try and get the article delisted. Is this likely to work.

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Re: Newspaper conviction reporting - google copyright

Post by AndyJ » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:08 am

Hi Zane,

I would not be surprised to find that the newspaper searched through your friend's social media and found the image that way. If this is so then you have every right not only to demand they remove the image from their website but also demand a usage fee. You would probably be talking about a fee of a couple of hundred pounds. Obviously you need some way of showing that you are the owner of copyright but if the image was on your or your mate's social media, then that should be relatively easy to do.

I suggest you phone through to the picture editor and discuss the issue. You can ask him how to invoice the company. Then follow up with a letter. If the picture desk try to fob you off (see below) as is highly likely, contact the paper's reader's editor or managing editor. You could also approach the organisation Editorial Photographers UK (EPUK) for advice and support. Ultimately you could try and bring a complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) assuming the paper concerned is a member (the Guardian and Express newspapers aren't but most other national dailies are). Unfortunately the Editor's Code does not include a specific section on copyright so IPSO are likely to reject a claim, but at all stages you can resort to litigation. However once the paper sees that you know the law and aren't going to be fobbed off, they will probably settle quickly.

While there is theoretically a public interest defence* to copyright protection, this would not come remotely close to that. If you do get 'public interest' or that it is fair dealing used as an excuse, the part of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 you need to quote is section 30(2)
(2) Fair dealing with a work (other than a photograph) for the purpose of reporting current events does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that (subject to subsection (3)) it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.
As you can see photographs get special protection when it comes to news reporting.

You can certainly ask Google to delist the news item, but they are under no real obligation to do so since linking in the way that they do is not infringement. But since Google have a system set up to handle requests in accordance with the so-called right to be forgotten (it's not a right, it's just based on a judgment known as Google Spain which was not about copyright) it is worth a try.

*You can quote a number of cases where this defence by newspapers failed: Hyde Park Residence Ltd v Yelland, Ashdown v Telegraph Group Ltd, Beloff v Pressdram and so on. The best example of where a public interest defence was succesful is Lion Laboratories v Evans.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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