A few days ago, I snapped a picture in The GAP on Oxford Street: their ALWAYS SKINNY mannequins' legs are not only always skinny, but anorexically/starved so.
I tweeted it, and TwitPic'd one picture. Then Cory BoingBoing'ed it. Then the WashPo emailed, asking permission to reprint, and asked for a quote or two. I said yes. I sent them a further pic, too.
Then the Daily Mail got in touch. Could we use the photos, they said. I said, yes, if you donate £250 - a standard photo fee in my book, certainly less than what Getty can charge, say - to a charity of my choice. I don't like the Daily Mail, and didn't want to give them commercial use of my pictures for free.
*On Behalf Of *Alice Taylor *Sent:* 14 August 2011 06:48 *To:* Ariel Ramerez <Ariel.Ramerez@mailonline.com> *Subject:* Fwd: Fwd: skinny model pix Hi Ariel, I can't give the Daily Mail permission to use
these pictures conmercially, for free.
I'm happy to licence the Daily Mail a commercial
usage if it donates a standard picture fee (£250+)
to a charity of my choice however. Best! Alice.
They came back and said, too expensive:
On 14/08/11 22:16, Ariel Ramerez wrote:Hello Alice, Thank you for getting back to me. Appreciate it.
We are the MailOnline - the web portion.
Unfortunately, your listed price far exceeds our budget - which also comes in $. We'd be happy to
make the donation however we would need it to
meet our budgetary constraints.
Please let me know. Best, Ariel Ramerez
...to which I said, oh well - sorry, then it's no. (The Daily Mail can afford the photo fee - and if it doesn't want to, then I'm not selling it the rights to my photos.)
From: Alice Taylor Sent: 15 August 2011 05:28 To: Ariel Ramerez Subject: Re: Fwd: skinny model pix Oh well - it's a no then. (IMHO, obv, the Mail can afford it, and
I have no love for that paper so - apols!) Thanks for the interest tho! A.
It was acknowledged:
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2011 22:46:11
From: Ariel Ramerez <Ariel.Ramerez@mailonline.com>
Thanks for letting me know.
And then, instead, the Daily Mail then used both my photos - despite being denied permission - lifting them directly from the WashPo, along with the quotes I gave that newspaper, too.
The Daily Mail links neither to BoingBoing, nor to the WashPo, nor indicates my comments were to the WashPo either. Their reporting makes it sound like I talked to them directly.
To add insult to injury, they remove all the linkbacks, present in the WashPo article, to my original tweet, and to Cory's BoingBoing post.
I've asked the Daily Mail to now pay up for the unauthorised use - and knowing infringement - of these pics. I'm currently requesting 2 x £1000 charitable donations, which I will request go to MIND and ORG.
Updates to come, I'm sure.
UPDATE 2: 18 Aug. Yesterday, a picture editor, Stefan Jeremiah based in NYC - got in touch over the phone. We had bad reception and my kid was present, so the call was only semi-completed and we agreed to continue this discussion (my original preference) in writing via email.
Stefan first explained it was "human error", to which I replied, "I thought you'd say that". (It's their only defense, except it turns out, the Daily Mail has a history of unauthorised use of people's works. Replies to my tweets on this matter back this up - many replies from folks claiming the DM have done similar to them.)
Stefan then said the Daily Mail was willing to pay the originally-requested charitable donation of £250. I replied absolutely not, I'm not willing to go back to that since the current offer (offer, mind) was £1000 per photo, for MIND and ORG each. He agreed to that fee immediately, and I said, let's take this back to email. There have since been reports that this matter has been settled amicably, but it hasn't: I haven't agreed anything yet.
I've written back and pointed out three things:
1. The DM does this regularly (see also the comments on this post!) and needs to sort its house out. The "human error" excuse doesn't wash.
2. The attempt to only pay the original one-off £250 fee was extremely bad faith. This money is for charity!
3. The original offending article is still not linking back to any of the originating sources of both the photos, the comments or the story, at 07:16gmt on 18 August: no links to the Washington Post, nor to BoingBoing. A small (c) @wonderlandblog points out on the photos that the pictures are under my copyright - true - but still the DM does not have permission to use them, commercially, for free. The pictures have been there for 4 days.
I've now suggested that the DM identify an appropriate amount per picture for each daily, unauthorised use, to be donated to the two charities I specified. I'm waiting to see what amount they will suggest is fair and right in this situation.
UPDATE 3: 19 Aug: Silence from the Daily Mail. They're working on something though: they've taken down the page containing the WashPo's work and my photos: it's now a Can't Be Found.
I'm guessing they're getting heat from elsewhere: the British Journal of Photographers has been in touch, along with the WashPo too (their lawyers are on it), plus the NUJ, various copyright bodies, other journalists, plus it's been reported everywhere from Gawker to Poynter. Even Conservative MPs have tweeted about it (and the very Conservative Daily Mail can't be liking that).
(Still no word from the GAP either, heh.)
UPDATE 4: 25 August. Total silence. Clearly the Mail either can't work out a figure, can't be bothered, or doesn't want to pay more than £1000 per picture to these charities.
It's relying, I'm sure, on my being too small and too busy running my business to sue the Mail in court in the USA (where they base their picture desk, for some reason). I invoiced them today for £2000, to be paid to MIND and ORG.
2 hours later, I got a super polite email from the Editor of the Mail Online, confirming that they consider £1000 per picture to be a "fair and final offer". So there you have it: they infringe, they wriggle, they use dirty tactics, and then they settle for as little as they can get away with. They will pay that tiny sum, and move on.
I can only hope two things from this: that the Mail rethinks its infringement policy, and that this public record will help any future lawsuits.
What a dishonourable organisation.