Moral rights and fake news

WE HAVE another reminder that for many citizens the most important of their authors' rights is the right to object to manipulation and distortion of their works - and to its use in damaging contexts. In July one Nigel Farage Tweeted out a version of a photo a woman wearing a sandwich-board saying "my door is open for refugees". It had been manipulated, very badly, to make the slogan offensive.

The original photo; © Lasia Kretzel

The original photo showing the Amnesty International slogan

There was - as he must have intended - a Twitter storm. It caught the attention of Lasia Kretzel, who took the photo while reporting on at a rally three years ago in Saskatchewan, Canada, in support of refugees in Syria. Lasia is now a digital reporter for News 1130 in Vancouver and Tweets as @lkretzel1130

Many suggested that she sue Farage. The Freelance contacted her to point out that under UK law he owes her not only for the value of the use of the photo in political campaigning - whatever that might be - but extra for distributing a distorted version, breaching her moral rights. Arguably, just putting your photo near his name is an act "contrary to her honour or reputation".

We pointed out that she could bring a case at reasonable cost through the Small Claims procedure - which the NUJ had a hand in bringing into being. She decided not to take legal action.

She did get a piece in the Guardian out of the affair. There she wrote that "as a reporter... I thought about how in an era of instant information-sharing it is more important than ever that we verify what we are spreading and own up to our mistakes when we falter."