Sunday 5 January 2014

The plot thickens (UPDATE)

Edit: Update!
Hello again everyone,

Just thought I'd update you all on what happened with the whole Telegraph situation.

I got in touch with the article's author on Twitter:

She gave me her editor's email address and told me to contact her regarding my issue.

So I copied the email I sent to the general Telegraph letters page and sent it over to Louisa Peacock, who replied pretty swiftly, on a Sunday as well, so many thanks for that!

Now this is where it gets weird - Emma Pearce was under the impression that she had permission to use the photograph in question. She corresponded with the University of Bristol Feminist Society (FemSoc), who told her:

"I have attached some photographs from the Bust A Myth campaign spoken about earlier. The Bristol University Feminist Society give the Daily Telegraph permission to publish these photographs.

"Rajitha Ratnam took the pictures, and her Flickr id is missionverdana."

I can understand that Emma and Louisa may have believed FemSoc owned the rights to the image - which is evident as Louisa said:

So Emma is very surprised that you are saying we did not have permission - as she sought permission and believed she got it from the feminist society itself.

Well, I was fairly stunned. I have no affiliation whatsoever with FemSoc. I have not spoken to anyone at FemSoc about my photos, let alone provided them with copies of the images. FemSoc have no right whatsoever to give permission for my copyrighted work to be used anywhere. These photos were taken for my own personal use: a coursework assignment for the University of the West of England. It is my right to decide who can use these images and whether I require payment for them doing so.

This is a serious misunderstanding of copyright law. While I am sure Emma and Louisa acted in good faith and were assured they had permission to use a copyrighted image, the party providing them with this permission did not have the right to do so.

I have contacted FemSoc via email to find out how they got hold of my photographs. While I am not naive enough to believe Flickr's anti-download feature, which I have turned on, will present determined users with any difficulties in acquiring photos, I'd like to know if this is where they got them from, or whether someone else altogether acquired my photos and passed them on to FemSoc.

Anyway, Louisa has said she will get back to me tomorrow afternoon after seeking advice on how to proceed, so I hope this will get resolved soon. Now, back to coursework.

Edited to add: Just want to make it clear that I do expect the Telegraph to compensate me for the use of my work - they never got permission from me to use it, so their use of it was unauthorised. Also, I've finished my essay!
ETA2: Fixed some typos...wrote this in a rush and didn't check it over earlier.
ETA3: Just to clarify, turning on the anti-download feature on Flickr was not a result of this - I have had it turned on for years.

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