Photographer wins on rights

JUST after the last Freelance went to press, on 16 October, celebrity photographer Alan Grisbrook won a case in the High Court that could - possibly - strengthen the case for all authors (a term in law which includes photographers) to get paid for online use of our work.

In 2008 Alan discovered that Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) were making available back copies of their titles, including the Daily Mirror, to paying customers through various archive websites and that these contained his images.

He complained that he had never consented to the inclusion of the images in MGN's back numbers database and on their websites. He had granted a licence for the production of current newspapers and occasional use of material stored in MGN's picture library in new publications for further payments.

Rather desperately, in the Freelance's humble opinion, MGN argued the archive was in the public interest: Tom Cowling of solicitors Swan Turton report the High Court judge giving that "short shrift".

The complicating factor is that this case followed the settlement an earlier lawsuit by Alan against MGN, in which he won licence fees unpaid after he stopped working for them. Legal opinion on how widely future courts may apply this High Court precedent is divided.

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