back to article Beeb borrows copyrighted Flickr image

A Brum snapper is a little annoyed with the BBC after it apparently borrowed a copyrighted snap from Flickr showing Birmingham's crepuscular skyline and used it as a "live" news backdrop. Here's Mike Bailey's original picture... Birmingham skyline by Michael Bailey. Strictly copyright ...and here's how it later made its TV …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymously Deflowered

    Why is Mike still not satisfied?

    Sounds perfectly reasonable to me - if the image was taken from a page other than flickr so copyright couldn't be investigated. It was a human error after all, so accept the humble apology and £75 and drop it. It gives Mike a nice little anecdote to share at dinner parties and no harm done.

  2. Jimmy Floyd


    "...he's not entirely satisfied with the explanation."

    What does he want? Blood? There's no copyright notice on the image and yet he gets 75 quid out of the deal. If that had been any sort of normal corporate complaints division he'd have been told to get over it.

    Know when to stop pushing. Appearing like a whiny complain-u-tard (!) isn't sexy.

  3. /etc
    Thumb Down

    The BBC is trying to load the scales with rhetoric

    It's a fairly slimy letter from the BBC - as was only to be expected, I suppose.

    I liked this:

    "we apologise most sincerely"

    How can they say "we apologise most sincerely" with a straight face? They could say "we apologise" to be sure, but it's not for them to try to load the scales rhetorically by claiming a sincerity - or a sincerity beyond sincerity: "*most* sincerely" - that can't be proved and is unprovable.

    I guess the "explanation" is possible - who can say? The offered settlement - £75 - sounds like a very low figure to me for an image that's been nationally broadcast on TV. What would the going rate be if the BBC had formally approached a picture agency and asked for an image to broadcast for how ever long this image was shown on how ever many broadcasts?

    Does anyone know?

    I suggest offering anything less than that sum would be evidence of *insincerity* on the BBC's part. Personally, Id think they should pay more than the standard commercial going rate as a recognition of the admitted fact that they've acted wrongly.

    Nevertheless, I wouldn't advise the gentleman in question to pursue the matter in the courts unless he takes legal advice and that given is that he has a good case and stands to make a lot more.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge

    Turn down an easy 75 quid?

    The guy must be bonkers.

    It's not even that great an image!

    I mean, Birmingham?


  5. Anonymous Coward

    Seems resonable

    £75 quid, an apology, what more does he want.

    PS try watermarking or not allowing it to be copied.

    PS isn't he himself infringing copyright by reproducing the news clip?

  6. DJ
    Thumb Up

    Take the money and run!

    75 quid for a photo isn't too bad.

  7. Lionel Baden


    sounds reasnable to me

    i think the explanation is pretty valid tbh !

    you would want to test it on a proper skyline etc etc

  8. Dan White

    Hmmm, naughty but ultimately fair...

    Whilst this was a bit of a silly thing to do, I think the Beeb's explanation is entirely plausible.

    Engineers aren't going to have been trained on the finer points of copyright, but they may well have been shouted at to, "get something up on a screen in 3 minutes or you're fired."

    At least the Beeb has coughed to the error, and £75 is more than most people would get for a single use of an image these day.

  9. Steve John

    ...considering the BBC's response..

    "Mike says he's considering the BBC's response and its offer, although he notes he's not entirely satisfied with the explanation"...

    Reather, wondering whether he can take them for any more cash no doubt. I'm not saying they're blameless, but they won't use it again, he's £75 better off and no-one was hurt. Job done, move on.

  10. stefan
    Thumb Down

    Cry baby

    he should stop crying and read the terms and conditions of those websites. soon as you host any image with them you forfit your copyright over the image and the site can distribute of allow other companys to use the images. its not the first time of the last.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    A title is required.

    David XXXXXXX has a funny surname!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nothing to see here, move on

    Sounds to me like a reasonable offer and explanation from the BBC to me. He's got an offer of £75 for the use of the photo. Much more than the pennies he would receive from a stock photo site.

  13. Lottie

    Uber Fail

    BBC, what a bunch of tards.

    Mind you, at least they were nice enough to try and sort it all out.

  14. Brian

    Maybe not the same image?

    Is it possible that it just so happens that the picture the BBC is using was taken at the same TIME his picture was?

    You can see subtle differences in the angles - especially around the 'circular' building.

    1.) The light immediately to the left and behind the three windows lit on the bottom floors seems to be a bit off compared to his photo

    2.) The BBC picture also seems to show a bit more of the 'stepped' building top to its immediate top right

    It's damned close though

  15. Richard

    BBC idiocy


    "I would note the website from which the image was sourced appeared to make no reference to copyright and had no facility for copyright to be enquired about or validated, although I understand that the image has now been removed from that website."

    Somebody should let this David person know that any website that they pinched the image from does NOT have to have a copyright reference in order for the image to be copyrighted -- he seems to be saying that because the website didn't have this copyright reference, the image wasn't copyrighted. Absolute nonsense. Under English and Welsh IP law, a copyright is attached to an image or any work of IP and to the creator as soon as it is created. It doesn't have to be registered anywhere, it is automatically assumed to be copyrighted by the creator. Thus this David is talking out of his backside.

    "and had no facility for copyright to be enquired about or validated" -- again, nonsense. If the site had no facility to contact you about rights usage (which is what he's really referring to), then plainly and simply they should NOT have used it. Even for internal testing of the CSO equipment.


  16. Gianni Straniero


    At least they didn't choose the wrong Birmingham altogether:

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I like the way that Mr. David XXXXXXX verbified that noun.

    And you guys complain about how we massacre the language on this side of the pond.

  18. Sam York
    Thumb Down

    Weasel words!

    Copyright is automatic, under the Berne Convention. You do not need to state that the original work is copyright, or even use the (C) symbol; simply releasing the work into the public domain means you hold the copyright. If there are no contact details for the author the work then that just means they should not have used it.

    I would have told the BBC to stick it where the sun don't shine, personally. Especially after a weaselly email like that, trying to backpedal/spin their way out of it. I don't for one minute believe that it was a test image, and even if it was, ignorance or accident is no defence!

  19. Stu


    But how (prior to the admission of guilt) did 'Brum Snapper' know that the BBC simply didn't already take a picture (or video via a TV cam) from a similar location and similar direction? Its not like it would be un-common to take such a photo of the Bull Ring, Rotunda, etc.

    I thought the Beeb might simply point a cam out the window every night then green-screen it with the interviewee live/semi-live. Picturesque as that image was and all.

    'Brum Snapper' doesn't OWN the Birmingham sky line!

    Furthermore, theres no hard verifiable connection between putting a photo up on Flickr, and actually having taken that photo yourself (except maybe a camera serial number in the EXIF tag info but I doubt this was checked properly with the camera hardware) - 'Brum Snapper' may not even be the original photographer. Other than the whole 'timing' thing, It certainly sniffs of a set-up for an easy 75 bones.


    Thanks! Now I'VE put too much thought into all this! ;-)

  20. /\/\j17

    Close, but no banana BBC.

    "I would note the website from which the image was sourced appeared to make no reference to copyright and had no facility for copyright to be enquired about or validated..." we assumed it was not copyrighted and used it anyway.

    Umm, no. If you don't KNOW it's copyright/royalty free then you are meant to assume the rights are reserved.

  21. Stuart Halliday

    So invoice them?

    So simply send a recorded delivery letter with an invoice for say £100 for services given.

    Problem solved.

  22. Ian


    The real story here is that people are posting stuff in the big wide open public world then whining when people dare make use of it.

    The whole reason the internet was created was for information sharing. It's getting tiresome seeing idiots like this destroying that and turning the whole web into a copyright minefield where you can look but don't touch.

    The fact you can't use an external image as a reference for how something looks (i.e. an animal, a plant etc.) anymore even without running risk of someone crying to their lawyers is a pathetic state of affairs, idiots like this only reinforce the problem.

    If something is accessible on the net without any explicit requirement for authentication or authorisation to access it in the first place it should be classed as fair game to use. If people are so worried about having their stuff used they should either not make it available, or ensure people have to authenticate and accept terms to access it.

  23. Lars

    @Yawn by Ian

    so any item shown in public TV is free game to anyone in your oppinion? Books have no copyright as they are publicly avalible trough a libary? seems a bit silly dosent it show your art and we own it too? no... simply no.

  24. Dick Emery

    Wish it was my photo

    I'd be chuffed to bits if a photo of mine was used by a big broadcaster like the BBC. I would send them a thank you letter but ask that they in future request permission to use it out of courtesy. I would probably still have got a cheque too. No need to go overboard on this kind of issue.

    The BBC tax on the other hand...

  25. Shane Orahilly

    @Stefan & Stu Reeves

    "he should stop crying and read the terms and conditions of those websites. soon as you host any image with them you forfit your copyright over the image and the site can distribute of allow other companys to use the images. its not the first time of the last."

    Did you actually read the title of the story? Specifically, the bit which reads "COPYRIGHTED Flickr image". Occasionally, the Reg hackpool actually knows what it's talking about.

    "PS isn't he himself infringing copyright by reproducing the news clip?"

    Not if it falls within Fair Use. As the image is necessary to permit it's comparison to the original work, it's Fair.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He should have haggled for £137.50.

    £75 is the going rate for those z-list celebs who sit in on rolling news channels and read the papers fror an hour, so I think that's where this figure ws plucked from.

    I've no idea what the going rate is for using an image like that on a major news channel, but I'd have tried selling the image to the BBC outright for a much larger sum. They've already used it and owe money anyway, and despite that waffle about 'other websites' don't have a legal leg to stand on because they know full well that unless it explicitly stated it was a free image then it must be owned by someone. So they may have been willing to brush the matter under the carpet by buying the rights. It is a particularly pretty backdrop after all, what what.

  27. Craig
    Thumb Down

    What a wuss

    I would choose to leave the truth online that pick up a measly £75. It's disgraceful that the BBC effectively requested a flickr cover-up as part of their apology.

    As for their explanation-- would the same argument work for me? I'm just testing out my new hard drive with BBC content, honest. Once the test is over I'll delete it all!

    Also, as a fee payer, I think the £75 was a waste of fee payers money. BBC just can't catch a break eh?

  28. andy


    "PS isn't he himself infringing copyright by reproducing the news clip?"

    -- no, it's called 'fair use' -- using a segment of other people's material to make a point or highlight a news story etc. is allowed.

  29. Ros


    People were always trying to republish my photos, until I started to visibly watermark them all. Since then I've had no trouble, but it does highlight one thing: a lot of people are as clueless about copyright as this David XXXXXXX.

    It helps to set up a script that will watermark images in one click.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Image rights

    @stefan: You don't know what you are talking about, I'm afraid.

    Flickr is very clear about copyright remaining with the photographer, and every image on the site is accompanied by symbols representing its copyright status, including any Creative Commons license the photographer may have chosen to grant.

    Nice foul-tempered poorly-spelt rantette, though.

    @Ian: most of the above applies to you too. There are plenty of copyright-free or creative commons-licensed images out there which you can use with no breach of image creators' right. Otherwise, yep, look but don't touch, same way you can read an article on here but that doesn't give you the right to republish the text, for profit or otherwise. This is exactly the way copyright law has always worked.

  31. Anonymous Coward


    As others have pointed out (but not those wailing, "It's on the net, what's the bloke's problem? 75 quid? Blimey!"), you can't just go round using other people's material, especially in a commercial or broadcasting context without checking your source. And the excuse that "the website from which the image was sourced appeared to make no reference to copyright and had no facility for copyright to be enquired about or validated" may be true for the site linking to Flickr, but completely untrue for Flickr given the amount of infrastructure in place on that site to assign licensing information to images. Besides, even if the image had been produced by the owner of the first site, the Beeb would have been obliged to ask permission or should have avoided using the image altogether.

    It's interesting to see how when an individual does anything slightly untoward with regard to "copyrighted material", it's a court case and a stiff fine, whereas when a corporation does the same thing, it's a "mistake" or a "test". Well, how about someone just streams Beeb material over the net as a "test"?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't know what the going rate for these things are, but an offer of £75 as an apology seems reasonable, but if they want him to remove his rant & the photo too I think he ought to suggest they up the offer by a factor. After all, it's got to be peanuts compared to BBC budgets.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    "the website from which the image was sourced appeared to make no reference to copyright"

    What a stupid statement for the BBC to make.

    In the dim and distant past I've watched BBC programs for perhaps as long as 2 minutes without seeing a copyright statement. But I don't presume that to mean I can distribute copies of the programmes without permission.

    If there's no statement to say otherwise, the presumption has to be that permission to copy is NOT granted. Because that's what the law says.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Yawn

    Whilst I accept that anything I care to publish on the web is fair game to be plagiarised, used without credit or well and truly rogered in any number of ways by individuals I would also be rather concerned if any of my work was used for a commercial purpose without my say so and without renumeration.

  35. Ian

    @ Lars

    WTF? Last time I checked TV and books hadn't yet become one with the internet so your comment is outright irrelevant.

    The problem I have is nowadays you can't even link to an image, there are plenty of methods to prevent linking to an image (i.e. checking the referrer and that sort of thing) and yet people don't use them but at the same time whine and complain that someone has linked to it. If it's such a big deal you can do something about it.

    As has been pointed out there are plenty of techniques like watermarking and so on that can be used if it really is a big deal that you want credit.

    It's unreasonable to assume everything is copyrighted for exactly this reason, there's no way to trace the original source of the image and verify it's copyright status. I have plenty of images I've taken on the web and don't give a damn if someone wants to use them yet for some reason copyright is the default and if people are to know they can use them I have to put up a notice rather than have them assume because there's nothing to say otherwise, they can use it which is what I want and which is how it historically was on the internet before judges with no clue how linking and web pages and so on worked as well as the technological measures available to protect stuff to remain private worked got their hands on it.

    It is because of greedy people like this who want their images protected but on the same note chuck them out there with zero protection or sign that they're to be protected that we have such messed up and broken copyright laws. The BBC should've told him to f off and put his money where his mouth is and challenge their accidental mistake in court if he's really interested in protecting his work or to see whether he just wants the opportune to whine like a bitch as it sounds with his "I'm still not happy", "Oh wait now I am, thanks for the £75" remark.

  36. Peter Thomas
    Paris Hilton

    The going rate...

    Charlie Brooker on Screenwipe said that for the BBC to license a photo for TV usage from big names (the likes of Getty Images and Rex Features), it would cost £250.

    Paris, because she'd cost marginally more.

  37. Mike Shepherd

    Looks like an opening offer

    £75 looks like an opening offer. Ask for £500.

  38. The Badger


    "It's unreasonable to assume everything is copyrighted for exactly this reason, there's no way to trace the original source of the image and verify it's copyright status."

    Here's the guide for major broadcasters and corporations. If you're an individual, you may get some slack (in that any transgressions may be overlooked), but the reason copyright exists is to enable people to publish their works without others passing it off as their own (and potentially making money from those works as a result).

    Step 1: Attempt to ask Web site owner if you can use their image. If you don't hear back, do not proceed.

    Step 2: If the image belongs to the owner then negotiate. If it doesn't, ask them to tell you where they got it from. Otherwise, do not proceed.

    Step 3: Track down the source from step 2 (or use a search engine). Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you either run out of patience or do/don't get the permission of the owner. Do not ignore the issue of copyright and then claim it's a "test" or a "mistake".

    "It is because of greedy people like this who want their images protected but on the same note chuck them out there with zero protection or sign that they're to be protected that we have such messed up and broken copyright laws."

    It's not that hard to do the above groundwork: if you want nice pictures of Birmingham, you can surf around on Flickr and they'll even tell you what terms are applied to all the pictures, but I suppose you want everything locked down or DRM'd in a Microsoft-style "bulletin board" vision of the consumer Internet circa 1993, just so that you won't be tempted to copy all this "free stuff" and do bad things with it. Technology will save you from yourself, indeed, just as Uncles Tony and Gordon (and Aunt Jacqui) have foreseen.

    There are far better complaints to be made about copyright and matters of infringement than those you've attempted to make. In wanting to have everything done for you (others take the pictures, others control which ones you can see and use), all to give you a transparent "all you can eat" experience where Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V are your best friends, your diatribe just makes you look workshy.

  39. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Paris Hilton

    ask for screen credit

    i'd give up one photo (or a thousand words) just for screen credit on the broadcast.

    paris would do it just for the $300,000 .....thats why i love her....

  40. Charles King

    Yeah, he could have pushed for more, but...

    Firstly, there's a LOT of images out there that have been placed in the public domain or CC-licensed as available for open use, and flickr is a great source for them. Secondly, flickr has a much-abused API that allows other sites to display those images that are supposedly PD or free-use, but the API often mixes in copyrighted images as well. Anyone who follows the photo trade would have read about the mess that happend back in July:

    Thirdly, only the original size image on flickr retains all the exif information that, among other things, indicates copyright status and owner.

    Should the BBC have been more careful with how they used this image? Of course, absolutely. From a news perspective, the greatest emabrassment is the revelation that the supposedly 'live' news image was actually just a stock picture.

    The BBC might have been wrong, but the real problem here is flickr. Put your pictures up there and your chances of having them ripped-off without your knowlege or consent is very possible. There are a lot of photo-users out there who know they can rip stuff off flickr and not get caught 99% of the time, and when they do get caught the chances of being sued are minimal. (Though is does happen:)

    This guy got lucky. He made a fuss and managed to embarass the BBC into paying up. He could have pressed for more, and if he were a pro (who could demonstrate damages) certainly should have, but the BBC will have known that any threats of a lawsuit from an amateur photg would have been empty. The lesson here is simple: if you care about the copyright of your images don't use flickr, and certainly don't post anything there without a BIG watermark on it. Otherwise you're just looking to get ripped-off.

  41. Scott


    so if you leave your front door unlocked (ie required no authorisation/authentication, then I can walk in and help myself to your stuff?

    cheers, mate!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tidy result

    It's a rare organisation that does this then stumps up with an explanation and a (not unreasonable) offer, without threats and the tedium of a million phone calls. I wish the organisations (usually who do this to my work would cough so quickly without requiring the law to be explained to them 34 times, including 8 each in Inuit, Mayan and Inner Mongolian. Even before t'interwebs plenty of people thought they had rights to a photo, irrespective of what was stamped on the back.

    One poor fool though did pay the price for not asking, after using one of my images they had 'on file' and getting sued by the subject for 'distress caused' by using it to illustrate a sensitive subject in an advert. I can't recall whether it actually made it to court, but it cost them 6,000 quid in settlement.

    Well done to the Beeb for putting their hands up.

  43. Svein Skogen


    BBC has just made a nice precedence. From now on, "accidental broadcast" (net distribution) of one of their programs, carries a £75 fee.

    Can anybody spot why they should really bleed for their "accident"? If media giants (which BBC in reality is) can demand multi-thousand pounds/dollars/euro/whatever as compensation from "pirate sharing" (copyright violation), _WHY_ should they pay less themselves?


  44. Anonymous Coward

    Plain theft of IP protected content

    Shame on the BBC.

    I had 5 of my photos of a very famous Rock and Roll musician lifted by a musical instrument manufacturer and used for advertising online. the company's front man knew me and didn't bother to ask even though he had my email and phone number info already. He had previously refused me permission to photograph similar performers at a gig he hosted. The shots I got were very unique and depicted this world famous performer playing with another hall of fame musician and using the manufacturer's instruments.

    I sent a cease and desist message and amazingly he remembered my phone number and called me back almost immediately.

    After saying 'not a chance' to his specious arguments that:

    1. "I can use anything I want that I find on the web any way I want"

    2. "The use was not commercial" (Do you consider ADVERTISING commercial use?)

    He then offered me attribution.

    I told him "No. Take it down. I don't have a modeling release from the artists or the venue and their logo is clearly visible in the image. Your usage is threatening my relationship of trust with the artists and venue, and besides you are hosting the stolen images on a site that offers to SELL prints of my copyrighted work. I should have sent you an INVOICE instead of a warning and cease and desist notice."

    He finally complied and followed thru with banning me from attending gigs he hosts. His photographers continue to foul up the live shoots. However the artists are now aware of the situation and I am held in even higher regard for my integrity and dogged determination to adhere to protecting their image rights - even at the cost of running up against a fairly influential insider in that close knit business.

    Integrity matters.

    For what it is worth, a highly regarded site used to determine value for commercial usage of of a highly unique and un-repeatable photo suggests that a 3 year license is worth up to $15,000 US PER PHOTO. In order to fetch that, as someone on the site said "You need a photo of Elvis engaged in an illicit love affair with Sasquatch" I have no idea if the 75 the bbc offered is fair, but at least they apologized and made an offer (which is more than that clown I had to deal with did).

    As for watermarking, Art needs to be viewed, and my personal opinion is that defacing the artist's image with ugly watermarks is not good. I understand the risks involved.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the fact that....

    ...the BBC looked into the matter and managed to identify the exact site the image was taken from is enough to validate the man's claim that teh image was his. The fact that the Beeb offered compensation for using the image without permission also indicates this.

    However, as the image was used for the background to an interview, in a news program, and not as part of any revenue-generating material, the £75 seems fairly generous.

    As for the image being used in thew first place, was probably some inexperienced PFY who has little to no knowledge of copyright laws. Indeed, it worries me more than a little that so many people seem to think that material under copyright is fair game unless it is actively protected. Presumably if you left your front door unlocked one day, the contents of your house would become fair game for any passer by?

  46. fred scuttle
    Paris Hilton

    Will you lot get a life - BBC uses image......

    man whinges & gets paid £75 - BBC won't use image again......... end of..............

    because its not only Paris that can make something so small get so big!

  47. UBfusion
    Paris Hilton

    I still don't get it

    Consider the following scenario: I am an amateur photographer. I have an excellent legal i.e. innocent, non-offending picture taken of a e.g. a landmark/landscape/cityscape/skyscape or an animal or of _myself_ walking down the street with my dog.

    I want desperately to show off my work on TV and brag to my friends about it in the pub. I proceed to send the picture to the BBC, together with a check for £10, and an a signed permission to use the pic as they wish (provided they notify me when they do).

    Multiple choice test: What do you expect will happen?

    A. They deny my offer, suggesting they need much more to publish my picture, especially since I'm not a member of a journalist union.

    B. They decline, saying that "it is illegal to use a picture without having talked with the owner's lawyer".

    C. They accept, pay me £500 and tell me "keep 'em coming".

    D. They decline, saying that my image's worth is in the thousands and that it is Illegal/morally incorrect to accept it for only £10.

    E. They keep the money and broadcast my picture because they think at £10 it's a steal.

    Please advise me whether I am correct in betting £1000 on answer A.

    PS 1. I sincerely cannot grasp why this guy is complaining. Flickr is not an Art Gallery or Sotheby's, where you sell your pictures and give due percentage to the agent. In addition, the BBC to my knowledge is non-profit, so they did not make a penny out of his picture (however, in the US he could sue CBS/ABC/CNN for $thousands).

    PS 2. Personally, I'd kill to have my picture shown on the tele - I'd become instantly famous. Who wouldn't?

    Paris, cause her pictures get posted everywhere and she never asks a penny for them.

  48. Tim Bates

    I've had it done too...

    Not by a big media outlet like BBC, but some tourism website. I was not impressed.

    All they had to do was ask...

    Also, with commercial use, it's prudent to ask even for CC licensed stuff. It's better to be safe than sorry.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Not worth 75

    Professional photography doesn't pay well. You can spend years creating a portfolio and thousands of dollars for equipment and still not make a dime, the entities you sell your work to buy what they want and pay what they want. That being said, I think the touchy little twit did rather well. The image itself is unremarkable, it lacks any sort of visual interest, the composition is dull, and the 75 quid he picked up for it was probably enough to pay for the cheap digital camera he likely took it on. He obviously isn't a professional, considering that he posted these images to a Web 2.0 site, and as a rank amateur should be glad that a prestigious organization like the BBC thought enough of the image to air it.

  50. OldBiddie


    Er - you just send them to and if they're good enough, chances you'll see them on the TV or website

    The difference in your scenario is you're giving them permission to use your pictures - in a whole lot of ways (royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to publish and otherwise use the material in any way that we want, and in any media worldwide. This may include the transmission of the material by our overseas partners; these are all reputable foreign news broadcasters who are prohibited from altering the material in any way or making it available to other UK broadcasters or to the print media).

    In simple terms: He's complaining because permission was NOT sought, it was assumed - perhaps he didn't want his picture used by the BBC because he finds their ethical policy abhorrent.

  51. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: progressed.

    I think you'll find that the verb "to progress" has been around since at least the time of Chaucer* and probably earlier.

    Also, you should note that it's not the colonial habit of massacreing the language that is our principle objection**, it's the sheer bloody ignorance of it. In making this point I am indebted to your fine illustration thereof.

    *i.e. before there were any ignorant colonials to screw around with the language.

    **There's still no excuse though.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Brian, same image

    It is the same image. Sure, the image is being displayed on a different monitor and colours, brightness will be different. But check out the cloud formations, they're exactly the same.

    So, not only was the image taken from the same location but also at the same time.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe I'm doing this...

    ...and contributing to this childish argument. But:

    1. When I read the article I assumed that when Mr X said that there was no mention of copyright he didn't mean that gave them the right to use it. Rather that that there was no copyright *attribution* and hence no way of knowing who to ask.

    2. OK, they still shouldn't have used it (you expect technicians to know that). But they apologised and paid up. No problem, end of story.

    3. 75 squids is more than fair for one-off use of a photo with no intrinsic merit.

    4. @ /etc: get over youself. "most sincerely" is a well known idiom. An idiom, as I'm sure you know, is a fixed structure that is not amenable to logical grammatical or semantic analysis.

  54. Dai Kiwi

    Fees for use of photos in broadcasts...

    If you want an idea of what the going rate is in the UK for use of a photo on TV try looking here:

    The page also has a link to reported fees that the Beeb charges others for use of their stock photos or stills in broadcasts.

    I figure £75 was a good opening offer, but he probably could safely have asked for double or treble and got it without much trouble.

    Also, a thankyou to the pros/semi-pros in this comments thread offering rational comments regarding use of IP.

  55. Jamie Kitson

    The Irony

    Ironic since a lot of your stories "borrow" quotes and info from other outlets, very often the BBC.

  56. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: The Irony

    Er, yes, sometimes we quote other sources. Well spotted, Alanis.

  57. Alicia

    But the website...

    I'd have expected the Beeb to be able to tell him what website had caused the problem so he could take his copyright breach directly to them....

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Of course, you mean "principal" not "principle"...

  59. Anonymous Coward


    My mate works for the BBC and he says that the going rate for a photo is 50 quid, so that David character is surely going to say that he received 50 quid and pocket the other 25 for himself. It's stories like this that sicken me, and it just makes me even more pleased that I don't pay the TV license.

  60. Trygve


    "WTF? Last time I checked TV and books hadn't yet become one with the internet so your comment is outright irrelevant."

    So you have never heard of YouTube and Google Books, I take it? Or those clever devices popularly known as scanners? That's without getting into the joyous world of P2P.

    The reason books and TV haven't merged with the internet is at least in part because an awful lot of people spend all day every day working to stop it happening.

    I can imagine the BBC would somewhat get the hump if our boy Mike were to upload the latest Attenborough documentary, or put up a nice little website containing high-res pics of every page in the Top Gear 2009 annual. Goose sauce, gander sauce.

  61. Anonymous Coward


    It should come as no surprise that I know about the verb "to progress," but it's pretty clear from the context that Mr. XXXXXXX was verbifying the noun form and not using the existing verb form.

    I'll get my coat. There's nothing in the pockets.

  62. Steve Roper

    Double standards much?

    "I would note the website from which the image was sourced appeared to make no reference to copyright and had no facility for copyright to be enquired about or validated"

    Well, the torrent site through which I could download the latest Nightwish album, if I wanted to, appears to make no reference to copyright and has no facility for copyright to be enquired about or validated either. Does that mean I can go ahead and download it and if I'm caught I only have to pay 75 quid? Nooooo, if I'm caught doing that the copypigs would slug me 75 GRAND per song!

    So, if that were my photo, I would play tit for tat: research what copyright violation settlements per offence average out at in the UK (and that's a damn sight more than 75 quid!) and demand that sum in payment. Incidentally, where I live (Australia) the copyright law provides for $50,000 per offence for individuals, and $250,000 per offence for corporate entities. Given that the BBC is a corporate entity, I would be demanding the full $250K as a MINIMUM settlement under Australian copyright law.

    As I've made clear elsewhere, I am no fan of the current copyright regime because of its ridiculously lengthy time spans and its brutal provisions, but if these buggers are going to shove it in my face I'd make no bones about shoving it straight back in theirs!

  63. David Knell
    Thumb Up

    Not the first time it's happened

    The News of the World published a photo from my wedding album, also lifted from Flickr. The highlight of my conversation with their pictures editor was his claim that he'd never heard of Flickr; he had some slightly non-standard views on copyright as well. Settled for £570 on the same day that they received the claim form.

  64. Anonymous Coward


    Illegal downloading of copyright material. Naughty BBC.

    They should obviously have their internet connection cut off.

  65. b


    "he should stop crying and read the terms and conditions of those websites. soon as you host any image with them you forfit your copyright over the image"

    You should read the terms and conditions because this is NOT TRUE AT ALL.

    There is no way I would have signed up to flickr if it would mean surrendering my rights.

    I'm seriously tempted to call you an idiot but I'm not going too.

  66. b
    Thumb Down


    I'm starting to loathe you freeloading parasites...

  67. Brezin Bardout



    'Personally, I'd kill to have my picture shown on the tele - I'd become instantly famous. Who wouldn't'

    Yeah, just like all the other people out there who are famous for having their pictures shown as a background on the news..

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    * jaw hits floor *

    I am shocked at the BBC's behaviour. It is inexcusable. Not only that, I am shocked at the lack of respect and even basic knowledge most of the public seem to have on copyright. People on an IT website at that!

    Here's an idea: If you don't KNOW what FLICKR is, do not COMMENT on it. Flickr CLEARLY states the level of copyright right beside the images and has a method in place to try and stop people saving images from the site. Just because you can see them online and take them easily does not make it a free-for-all. It is akin to photos being displayed in a gallery. They are there for you to look at, to enjoy, and perhaps to advertise and attract interest in a sale of the photo.

    Unless copyright is freely given up and noted as such, it exists on all images produced. This is a basic fact that most people should know. If you don't know that by now then I don't know what you spend your time doing, but my guess is practicing your ignorance and breaking lots of laws. You might not think it's a big deal. But a big company ignoring rules and taking from the little man in the street, hoping he won't notice, and knowing there's not much he can do to get back at them, is exactly the kind of behaviour you ought to be appalled and outraged at!

    This image belonged to the person who created it. If he wants to sell it or use it for a specific purpose it is now useless. Even if he does make a sale or use it for anything in future they have taken his original, personal work and used it as part of their programme, linking it forever to a piece of background to boring news. The artwork that he took the time and effort to go out and make personally, for a specific reason has been snatched by someone else without thought and used without his permission or even knowledge.

    (I can understand saving nice photos to your computer for your own enjoyment, which is still technically illegal but it is QUITE another thing to take it upon yourself to print these images and use them for something. If you saved a bunch of images online and don't know who the owners are - that is too bad. You may NOT use them unless you can find out the copyright details. If you want a photo, go out and take your own.) The BBC could have at least ASKED for his permission to use the photo and I'm sure he would have been flattered and not requested any fee. An artist has the right to control how their work is used. If you don't undestand how the internet works I suggest you log off before you get yourself into trouble.

    Copyright is there for a reason. There is NO WAY anyone at the BBC did not know what they were doing was wrong, and if they genuinely didn't..again...too bad. You don't get away with breaking the law because you claim it was an innocent mistake and you didn't know it was illegal.

  69. Anonymous Coward


    can he prove he took the picture? Just because he uploaded it to Flikr doesnt automaticly mean he actually went out and took the picture surely?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like