Freelance claims victory in dispute with Independent over payment for court story lifted from Wales Online

A freelance journalist has won his battle to be paid a syndication fee by The Independent for a court story which it lifted from Wales Online.

Glyn Bellis argued that as all the information for the Independent story was taken from his piece for Wales Online he should be paid for the usage.

But The Independent told him “there is no copyright in news” because the piece was written “in our own words” with a credit and link to Wales Online.

The story, from April 2017, was about the case of man who placed barbed wire across a cycle path.

Now, four months later, The Independent has agreed to pay an invoice of £40 for its use of the story.

Bellis said: “I’m glad this issue has been resolved at last. I’m grateful to Press Gazette for highlighting the situation and for the support of fellow journalists and the National Association of Press Agencies.

“I’ve also been contacted by media law and ethics experts.

“Allowing a free-for-all approach would be the death knell for local journalism. It would be great if a line could now be drawn in the sand.”

A spokesperson for The Independent said: “What began as a dispute about copyright had seemingly become a debate about the importance of local journalism and court reporting.

“On those areas The Independent and Glyn Bellis share common ground, which is why we have no wish to be on bad terms with him.

“It goes without saying that there remains no merit in the suggestion that there was any copyright infringement in this case.”



Press Gazette's must-read weekly newsletter featuring interviews, data, insight and investigations.


4 thoughts on “Freelance claims victory in dispute with Independent over payment for court story lifted from Wales Online”

  1. £40??! Is there any point in being a freelance for £40??? What did Wales Online pay?? £50? Hardly a world exclusive. Clearly more about the principle so the Indy lost but why did they bother even fighting it for £40??? Pathetic.

  2. My sense is that the payment rate will progressively go down until it becomes impossible for Glyn to earn a living from what he does.
    He is seriously hampered by the fact that people now want to offer reports and comments and have access to those reports and comments totally free of charge online.
    Journalism colleges are training people to be “community hyper-local” correspondents online with no viable business incentive to go out to courts and council chambers.
    It’s like trying to keep an endangered species from extinction.

1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *