Recently the climb of St Pauls Cathedral made the headlines in a couple of national newspapers. Some of you might of seen the article on Page 6 of The Guardian, and there was an online article for The Daily Mail. I wasnt going to post this online but as they have all been pricks about it I feel its necessary to give them as much bad media as possible.
It all started off onthe 2nd of July, which was a Saturday. I had been out with my girl to tesco and as we got back in the front door I got a text from badman over at Infinity is Now. He said to come online and check some shit. He also told me to run to some shops asap and buy The Guardian. He sent me a link to the Mail online and there it was, an article on the climb of St Pauls. Instantly it was a fucked up situation. They had used 6 photos with out my permission, re sized them to a shit quality, and then 4 of them had been credited to a photographer Jon Enoch. The whole article was a paragraph from whoever wrote it, then a complete theft of my WHOLE blog post. It was a copy and paste job of my whole account of the climb and the night we climbed it. I was pretty happy to see the photos, but what pissed me off more was all the publicity and credit was given to a shoddy portrait photographer who has nothing to do with exploring, graffiti and anything I do and stand for. Obviously I was so gutted, I had no link to my website, no ties to me, EVERYONE who read the article googled his name. So he got credit he does not deserve and never will.
Then I literally ran to the shops to grab the National Guardian. I paid my money to buy it, which I now hate that I had even given that slight portion of money to this scummy paper. On the way back to my girls I obviously had a quick flick through, page 6 as told had a 3/4 page spread with 3 of my photos used. It had exactly the same paragraph and words used as the daily mails (minus my story from the blog). But once again it was credited to Jon Enoch. Which was disgusting to see again, getting credit where it is not deserved at all. Again it was nice to see the photos, but it did piss me right off.
Here is a scan of the article from the guardian...
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(I would link in the Daily Mails article but it has now been removed off their website)
Anyway straight away I got onto a few contacts to get some invoices written up as obviously they have used MY photos which I own and I can claim money for their use. I got given a typical template to use for freelance work, and a bit extra for when photos have been used with out consent. All the letters were finished up and written with in the next few days, including invoices and prices. I had used prices from the NUJ website, they are freelance fee's that most photographers adhere by. Im not going to lie, my prices were a fair bit higher than the usual freelance fee's, but they are definitely with in reason, but as they have been used with out consent, and they are pretty much one of a kind photos, I am currently in the middle of charging more.
These prices might seem ridiculous to some people but the freelance fee's I could see was £175 for a months usage of a photo 800px wide. So considering the The daily mail had used 6 photos of 900+px wide, I didnt think charging them just over double the freelance fee was that unreasonable. The guardian got charged just over twice the amount as well. The problem is, as the photo's have been used with out consent you can pretty much charge what you like with in reason. The thing I was told to remember is they are firstly one of a kind photos, there is only 2 people that have photos of this kind in the whole world. And secondly, that they have used them with out consent, so they havent agreed a fair price for the usage with you, and thats even if you would of let them have consent.
In the meantime I had to do a bit of research on the Copyright law as the situation with Jon Enoch was a tough one. He had supplied the photos to the papers, but it was getting to the bottom of if he had supplied them under his name, or if he had just been browsing the internet, found the link and sent it in not thinking anything of it. So a few emails and phone calls later to the papers, I had gotten my answer and I was sorted. When this all clears I will probably post up exactly where he had fucked up, but until then I am going to keep quiet. I dont want to give him a heads up as currently standing this all is going a lot further than a quick payment of my invoices. But either way I had written him a letter up and attached an invoice.
The next day I ran to the post office before work, had all 3 letters and invoices ready, and packed inside an envelopes. I got them sent next day, signed and recorded for. I wasnt having them try and blag that my letters 'never reached them'. I also sent over all the copies to the papers via email, attaching the letters and the invoices. The letters to Jon Enoch and The Guardian arrived the next day and were signed for. I kept checking the tracking number for the Daily Mails letter and it never seemed to arrive, it had never been signed for and said it hadnt been delivered according to the Royal Mails tracking.
Obviously the next step was to hand the invoice and letter in by hand. So I printed off another invoice and letter and decided to head up to London. I headed for their office just off High Street Kensington. I rocked up with Patch and we set about Murkalating them. Firstly they were some of the rudest people I have ever had to deal with. We went into the main entrance as it appears on their website, we got told to go around back and didnt give us a chance to explain. We were sent around back to the deliveries office reception. So of course I went up to the receptionist and explained that I wanted to hand this letter in to who ever is responsible for the Online Articles. Instantly she said no we cant take it. I was really lost at why they couldnt. She said they all have to be named to who ever they are going to, which to me is a joke. The online article never showed us who actually published the article. It just shows the username which was something as great as 'Mail Online', which obviously is mega helpful. I explained the situation and she was trying to argue the copyright law to me. Which was stupid on her behalf. I just said to her that I am going to hand her the letter and can she please give it to an appropriate person. She refused, so I turned around and said 'by being the receptionist, you are representing the Daily Mail at this time, so I am handing the letter to you'. She was not one bit happy, she said she is not the daily mail and does not represent it. So how does that work? A receptionist is the person who represents the company that people deal with. I dont think they have a fucking clue down there for sure. We got told to sit down as she tried to get hold of who ever was responsible. A few minutes later I was talking to Elliot Wagland, who said I am lucky I wasnt kicked out by the security as I was being very rude. Im annoyed they didnt try and kick me out as I wanted to cause as much of a scene as possible. Not in a bad yobbish way, but I wanted them to know that I want to be a problem for them and I am not gonna let it all just fly over.
After speaking to him he said they would definitely pay me but not the amount I had invoiced for. I obviously asked why. His answer was we dont pay our normal photographers that amount for photos. Which I thought was the most ridiculous thing to say, all I could answer with was 'well im not one of your normal photographers and these arent your normal photo's, im not budging one bit'. It went on and it ended with me just saying to them Im not budging, so you either deal with it or its going further than this. All he did was say my letter had to be passed onto the main editor, 'Alex Bannister'. I havent heard a single word from the Daily Mail since that day.
I did how ever get an email back from Jon Enoch, he kept offering me shoddy amounts of money, that Im not going to lie, I had to laugh at. I finally got a sensible reasonable offer, he said he would pay up for the breaches of copyright. It was originally 9 counts (3 from the Guardian and 6 from the Daily Mail). But we came to the conclusion that 2 of the photos in the Daily Mail didnt actually have his byline and werent credited to him. So those got taken off, he offered me an amount for 6 photos, which minus the 2 still makes it 7. So I re-invoiced him for the new set amount for 7 photos. But once again I have had no reply from him. Which surprised me as he seemed quite adamant to pay for his wrong doing.
Yesterday, 22nd July rolled around. This was the final day of the 14 day period I had given for them to pay me by. I got an email from the Guardian saying they wont pay me my amount, as they dont pay that much for photos normally. They offered me an absolute shoddy amount of money. Which I instantly declined. I made a quick phone call to Catherine who had emailed me. I had a very brief phone call with her, she said sorry they hadnt emailed or contacted me back quicker, it has taken their legal team 2 weeks to find out if climbing St Pauls was legal or not, as if it was illegal they wouldnt of paid me. Which first off I laughed at, 2 weeks to find out if trespass is civil or criminal, bit of a joke to me. I also had to mention that even if it was illegal it is up to the relevant bodies to prosecute me, and she would still have to pay for the photos anyway. It ended with her asking me where and how I was taking it further so she could advise her legal team. I told her its going further but she wont know anything until it happens. She was a bit sneaky, I dont know whys he thought I would give her some info and heads up. I cant wait to take them to court and show my own case and evidence and rinse them, especially as they will have no heads up and come back.
Anyway the day has passed in which they ALL had to pay up for the breaches of copyright, and to pay me for the one time use for my photos. It pisses me off as The Guardian has a great reputation, and is supposed to be a very good paper to pay their photographers and give credit where it is due. Well as it appears to me, they are an absolute joke, they have stolen photos, not even tried to come to a reasonable agreement. Also both papers have used the same excuse to me. They have both said they took and used the photos in good faith from Jon Enoch who supplied them. Which is a joke, if they had spent 2 minutes researching on the internet they would of realised that his photography doesnt go to the lengths of my photos he supplied. He does portraits of celebrity's in studios. He doesnt get his hands dirty climbing in and out of dirty places. He doesnt risk being arrested and bum searched. All I can say to the papers is they should of done their research, and if they want to take it further with Jon Enoch then they can. But they are forgetting they are in the wrong by publishing my photos with out my consent.
To summarise it all, I cant wait to take all 3 parties to the cleaners. I am going to pursue the amounts I have invoiced for the use of my photos to the very extent that I can. They are all clearly in the wrong, which did surprise me so much when no one decided to pay up. Unless they contact me very quickly they are going to end up with more costs and fee's on their heads.