The Sunday Times ripped-off my creative work despite being asked to license it first

UPDATED

Please note, I’ve added more information below. Please re-share this article, thanks.

A couple of days ago I received an email from a journalist working on behalf of The Sunday Times.

Hi Jamie, I’m a journalist with Storyful.

One of our clients, The Times, are doing a package on Bristol and were wondering if they could please use some of your videos as part of it?

Anything used would be credited to you. The package would only be used on Facebook and Twitter on the Sunday Times accounts.

Please let us know if you would be happy with this use.

Thanks a lot

Hi Louise,

Thanks for getting in touch. I license my work for cases like this.

Please have a look through my library and let me know if you’re still interested.

Then she replied…

Hi Jamie, thanks so much for the swift response.

I’m afraid there is no budget for the package as it isn’t commercial. No ads will be featured on it or anything like that.

The content owner will just be credited on screen.

I completely understand if you would prefer not to allow your content to be included.

Please just let us know. Thanks a lot,

and my response:

Okay, I’d consider a charity / good cause but no feature by a major brand, etc. without payment. Sorry.

No worries at all Jamie, thanks for considering it.

Today, The Times and The Sunday Times published this film linked below on Facebook which is nearing 500,000 1.2 million views.

UPDATE 21.03.2017: Facebook finally removed the video, over 48 hours after I reported the copyright violation. It had racked-up over 1.5 million views. I’ve uploaded a copy of the video below and it’s still available on Twitter.

Visit Bristol

The vast majority of the shots contained within this film are mine / my copyright and have seemingly been ripped from a film I produced for Visit Bristol (shown below).

While this is the consequence of a third-party company –who have gone against my instruction and published my copyrighted material without any prior; permission, payment, or accreditation– the overall news organisation, whose brand is being promoted, surely should have ensured the rights to this footage were properly cleared before publishing?

Needless to say I am pretty angry about this. My work is ripped-off a fair bit, but for such as large organisation to display such blatant disregard for creative work in this way is frankly disgraceful.

I’ve filed a copyright infringement case on Facebook today. Please share this post and retweet, thanks.

Update: Weds 22nd March

On Monday Facebook finally removed the film, honouring my copyright infringement case. It had racked-up 1.5 million views.

I had an email yesterday from the editor at Storyful apologising and offering me “the ongoing market rate of £150” which is an insignificant amount of compensation, although an apology and acknowledgment that Storyful are at fault is at least something.

There are four parties involved with this case; myself, Storyful, The Sunday Times, and Visit Bristol. I’ve finally got to the bottom of what has happened. Here is my account:

I’ve spoken with Destination Bristol and I’ve come to the conclusion that they were misled in terms of the approach for permission to use footage which happens to be my intellectual property.

The proposal made to Destination Bristol via email was worded as “permission to use your video” with the Visit Bristol film linked. Destination Bristol have complete freedom over how the Visit Bristol film is published / shared online in it’s entirety not remixed, i.e, clips to be extracted and re-purposed. The license I issued along with the production stipulates this and they continue to honour this to the letter.

It is very clear by the wording of the email sent to Destination Bristol that they were being asked to permit use of the YouTube film in it’s entirety, not that it would be remixed, i.e, clips to be extracted and re-purposed. To non-industry people, a ‘video package’ is an nondescript term and the member of staff at Destination Bristol assumed this meant a selection of videos, including theirs. Here is a copy of that request:

Hi there, I’m a journalist with Storyful.

I was wondering if we could please have permission to use your video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khM7tjui86Q with credit?

It would be included in a video package on The Times about Bristol.

Thanks a lot,

I strongly feel;

a) not enough effort was made to propose the intention that the film would be remixed, i.e, clips to be extracted and re-purposed. If it had, Destination Bristol would certainly not have granted permission,

b) not enough due diligence was made by Storyful to ensure rights were obtained / cleared, it clearly states ©2015 Jamie Brightmore All Rights Reserved in the credits of the Visit Bristol film,

c) that the people involved with authorising the production of The Sunday Times piece fully understood that this was my work considering the previous direct communication asking for permission to use the work, with a subsequent request to another party to obtain the exact same work,

d) that I am at a loss for having my work published, uncredited, in a hugely popular piece viewed over 1.5 million times, the majority of said piece being composed of my work, 13 shots / apx. 30 seconds of the total 40 second long film.

Therefore, as the company responsible for the production of The Sunday Times Bristol promotional film, I have issued an invoice to Storyful for retrospective licensing of all footage used based on a C01 license + administration costs.

I think this is a more than fair response. If you have any thoughts, please comment below.

UPDATE: 22nd March 2017 21:00

Storyful have increased their offer to £200 but are unwilling to pay my invoice. I am now in the process of consulting with copyright specialists.

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  • simonhowes

    This one is for he courts. Have fun!

  • star_one

    I think this is outrageous – but I definitely think it is Storyful who are the bad guys here, not the Sunday Times. The ST would have paid Storyful, as a viral video marketing agency, to sort them out with a video, and I think the ST would have naturally and reasonably assumed the video they’d paid Storyful for would be legit – because you do, don’t you? So it’s Storyful who tried to blag a freebie from you when they were earning out of it, and Storyful who went ahead and stole your content regardless. The ST obviously have ultimate responsibility, but the blame for the theft of your work is well and truly with Storyful – indeed, in many respects the ST are also victims, since they’ve effectively paid for stolen goods.

  • Are you an NUJ member?

    • I am not a journalist, I’m a creative. Cheers.

      • We have lots of creatives as members – graphic designers, video journalists, photographers, web designers. You’d most likely be eligible and our freelance department deals with situations like this a lot (and very successfully as I can attest from personal experience).

        • Oh, I thought is was just for journalists. Will take a look, thanks!

  • John Pilkington

    Read this it’s how a photographer got one back on the Daily Fail. You need to invoice the Sunday Times direct with a threat of legal action – (just threat actual copyright law is a pain & very expensive both ways) They will apologise & try to wheedle out of it but this guy did get money out of the Fail. Also when you do a DMCA notice on Farcebook they sanction the page & lock the owner out for a few days & if the page does it again & is caught again they can get banned………..http://gakuran.com/daily-mail-used-my-photos-without-permission-and-without-payment/

  • Sarah Shaw-maslin

    stick to your guns, you have the moral & legal high ground, good luck

  • Simon Rees

    Stick to your guns Jamie and good luck with it. I’m sure they’ll try and offer you increasing amounts (well below what you are due), so it will definitely be worth getting advice on what you could get through the courts. At least you can then get as close to what you are owed, without having to go to court. Six