There has been much chortling on the nationals over the latest bid by the Manchester Evening News syndication department to stamp out the plague of a rogue freelancer stealing their stories.
Initially, the department sent out stern legal letters to one-man bands warning they faced legal action if they lifted any copy the MEN was syndicating on behalf of their own paper, plus a string of regional dailies and weeklies.
Now, to ram the point home, the MEN has added a series of stern riders to the top of the copy they send to all their national customers alongside their ‘with pictures”tags.
Initially the rider started simply with the word: “exclusive”.
Then it graduated to the more direct: ‘Exclusive story – there were no other reporters in court”.
Now just in case no one understood, their riders now read: ‘THIS IS THE ORIGINAL STORY – NOT A CUT AND PASTE VERSION FROM ANOTHER SOURCE’‘.
But if the MEN thinks it has won the battle, they might have to think again about whether they have won the war.
One freelance quipped: ‘We’re going to put a rider on our copy too. It will say, ‘If anyone else lifts this copy I’ll scream and scream and scream until I’m sick!”