Digital editions spark row over photograph copyright

By Alyson Fixter

Publishing giant IPC is embroiled in a copyright row with picture
agencies over the use of pictures in digital editions of magazines.

The British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA)
has claimed that IPC is breaking the law by insisting that print and
digital editions of titles should be treated as the same product – and
therefore only qualify for one picture fee.

BAPLA has demanded
more cash on behalf of its 440 members, claiming that as a general rule
a company should pay separately for a picture used in a digital edition
of a magazine.

IPC currently publishes computerised versions of
11 of its magazines – including Practical Parenting, World Soccer and
Superbike, and it is likely that more magazines and publishers will
follow, leading to the need for an industry- wide solution to the issue.

Royles, chief executive of BAPLA, said IPC had been sending out letters
to picture agencies claiming the price paid for a picture included its
use in both digital and print editions, and that the company had based
this on ABC guidelines.

She added: “Despite the fact that the UK
Audit Bureau may consider digital editions of magazines together with
print editions for auditing purposes, as a matter of law, print and
digital uses are separate.

“This is the basis on which pictures
are licensed in the industry and, where not expressly stated, is
therefore an implied term in contracts between IPC and BAPLA’s members.”

added: “If IPC wishes to negotiate a licence for digital use as well as
print use, this should be specifically raised with the member at the

IPC declined to comment on BAPLA’s claims, although it
isunderstood that it has contacted picture agencies by letter in order
to raise the digital issue.

A spokeswoman for BAPLA said that, in
the past, a number of newspapers had asked for special leeway on the
use of pictures in digital editions, which had been negotiated, but
that as far as she was aware no other publishers had tried to claim
that they should be entitled to digital use at all times.

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