BW readers spot more of their photos being used by the BBC
We've reported in the past about the BBC disregarding its own procedures and using copyright photographs without permission. Time for round two, as another avid Bitterwallet reader steps forward with a similar tale of familiar photos and confused explanations. Here's a screengrab from the former BBC Blast homepage in Northern Ireland:
The images used by the BBC to create the homepage were taken by Chris, our avid reader and a keen photographer:
BBC Blast had been involved with a youth project at a local music centre and broadcast a live show and discussion programme. I’ve helped along the music centre out in the past, by taking pictures of the gigs and popping them up on the centre's site:
Whenever images taken by Chris appear on the music centre's website, they always appear with a clear and explicit copyright notice directly above them:
After a few minutes of watching the show it occurred to me that the images that had been incorporated into the BBC Blast logo were in fact mine. I sent the BBC an email and asked if I could get a link added to the page, perhaps a credit. The response was a little surprising - they couldn’t post a link because of "child protection fears", and would therefore have to remove the images. They were sorry for any misunderstanding.
The BBC had used the images for their own website without the permission of Chris, but he was happy to let that go if they gave him a credit. Seems reasonable. When they suddenly decided to pull all the images and fob him off with a nonsense of an excuse, Chris decided to investigate what "misunderstanding" they were referring to:
I asked the BBC where the pictures were sourced, and they informed me that those working on the project had emailed them and the BBC had assumed they had the rights to use them. I checked, and those involved insisted that they certainly hadn't, as they they were aware of the copyright issues.
So the BBC's story was that they were sent the images and assumed permission for use was granted:
I asked the BBC if they could send me the email that the images were attached to. The individual I had spoken to then suggested he wasn’t involved directly, and he would ask somebody else to help. I pushed a little harder, and was then told the BBC had been informed the images were available to them online and they were sure someone had given them permission.
Now, there never was an email and they'd lifted them directly off the website instead:
I made a point of telling them there was no room for ambiguity; the images were taken from a third party website and there was no question of who took the images - if the BBC staff had visited the site to lift the images, they must have seen the copyright notice above and must have chose to ignore it. One would imagine if the scenario was reversed there would be no ambiguity from the BBC.
So far, nobody at the BBC can tell Chris how the images appeared on the corporation's website, probably because somebody has realised a bollock has been dropped; copyright belongs to the creator, so at the very least Chris should have received an email direct from the BBC seeking permission before they were used. In retaliation, Chris has taken a leaf out of Bitterwallet's well-thumbed book:
I've sent an invoice for the sum of £600 for unauthorised use and suggested that this was a bargain considering the settlement agreed by BBC Birmingham. And just to ensure there are no further complications I hand delivered a copy of the invoice, email and screenshot to the Belfast office. I’ll keep you posted.