Picture agency NewsPics is to be wound up after being hit with a five-figure legal bill from a failed attempt to sue investigative journalism website Exaro for breach of copyright.
The agency, run by former police photographer Matt Sprake, was ordered last September to pay Exaro's fees – £22,000 at the time – after its case against the site was thrown out by a judge.
NewsPics had sought £80,000 over the use of two pictures to illustrate an Exaro exposé, working with The Independent, claiming that the agency had offered thousands of pounds to police officers and other public officials for information on celebrities.
Exaro successfully argued that the photos were in the public domain and their use amounted to "fair dealing".
The site filed a petition to the High Court in January for NewsPics to be wound up because it had not paid the legal costs associated with the case.
Exaro reports on its site that in its petition, it said of NewsPics: “Despite the demands for payment, the company has failed to pay the amount due under the default costs certificates.”
The site adds: "As a result of the order, an official receiver will be appointed to sell the assets of NewsPics, in order to pay debts to Exaro and any other creditors."