The Sun steals copyright

28 08 2012

It would appear that I attract large multi-national companies who believe that their size means they can treat the little man any way that they wish and get away with it. Those who know me will understand that I am not prepared to let this happen and will happily use the power of social media to both obtain justice and raise awareness. This time it is the news empire headed by Rupert Murdoch that has decided to challenge my patience. I must state at the outset that I have very little sympathy for this organisation and the approach it takes to doing business – there are countless well documented stories of how they abuse their position – that said this particular campaign would have been carried out against any media organisation that misuses their position.

A model friend of mine excitedly contacted me a few weeks ago to tell me that The Sun newspaper had contacted her to run an article on her career as a fetish model and asked if I would allow her to use on the photographs I had taken of her be used in the article. Despite my already expressed dislike of the newspaper, I pragmatically agreed that I would allow the model to provide the image on the strict condition that I was credited in a very specific manner “Richard Dyson – Trixta Photography” on the basis that I could then use the image as tear sheet material for my own portfolio. The article has now been published online (and I believe it has also been issued in the print version as well although I haven’t seen a confirmed copy of the article yet) and as you can see from the attached screen grab, taken just a few minutes ago on 29 August 2012, they have decided to not only miss the required credit but also claim that they own copyright of the image given that I have not provided them with licence for usage and are also offering the image for syndication purposes.


I have, of course, spoken with the model concerned and she has confirmed that she expressly advised The Sun the credit that should be applied to the image. Whilst I have no reason to believe she didn’t request the credit a multi-national media organisation such as News International  should carry out the correct due diligence on its use of media and obtain the correct licence from the copyright owner of the image. In reality they don’t bother and think they can get away with it – not in this case!

I have sent an invoice for a reasonable amount, in line with industry standards, for the use of the image to The Sun and almost 24 hours later I am still to receive anything other than an automated acknowledgement so it would appear that the means to stimulate a response turns once again to a blog-post and the assistance of social media. Can I urge photographers and indeed any other creatives to raise awareness of this unscrupulous behaviour by Murdoch’s empire by re-tweeting and commenting on this post.

Whilst doing so, it would also be worthwhile to raise the awareness of a similar case this time involving Marks and Spencer and a very talented woman Rachael Taylor. Her story is available here and equally needs the support of anyone who believes in the right of creative ownership




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