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  1. Media Law
September 20, 2012updated 25 Sep 2012 2:48pm

Big Pictures meets winding-up order with privacy claim over Facebook pic

By Andrew Pugh

  • Pap agency tells Press Gazette it has taken legal action over Facebook pic
  • Freelance photographer threatens to start winding-up proceedings against the company
  • Big Pictures insists: 'We always pay all our freelance photographers'

Big Pictures says it is taking legal action against a photographer for putting a picture of one of its employees on Facebook.

The agency has been at the centre of high-profile privacy disputes itself and in 2008 paid actress Sienna Miller £28,000 in damages after subjecting her to a “campaign of harassment”.

Now it has become embroiled in a privacy row of its own with one of its photographers in an escalation of a dispute over unpaid invoices.

Freelance photographer Charles Pycraft says Big Pictures owes him nearly £5,000 and has threatened to start winding-up proceedings against the company.

The move comes two weeks after the agency told staff it was experiencing cash-flow problems”.

Pycraft has served Big Pictures with a notice of his intention to issue a  winding-up order over unpaid fees of £4,965.50.

In his notice Pycraft said: “Between these dates (5 July-21 August 2012) gave Big Pictures (UK) Ltd pictures to sell as my agent on a 50/50 % sales basis.

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“They have already received the money for these picture sales and are withholding the money after saying payments would be made by 31 August.”

If the company, which is run by ‘Mr Paparazzi’ Darryn Lyons, is to avoid being issued with a winding-up order then it has until 5 October to pay.

News of the action comes two weeks after Press Gazette revealed that the  agency had warned staff “only essential payments for short-term ongoing trading are being made at present”.

Big Pictures owner Darryn Lyons at the Leveson Inquiry

Pycraft told Press Gazette: “My fear is that they are using money owned to me, and other photographers, to service their debt while they try to get a deal to sell the business. You can’t do that at everyone else’s expense.”

When we put the claims to Big Pictures, a spokeswoman said: “His [Pycraft’s] payment isn’t due until October, so quite frankly I would suggest you didn’t write anything because we might sue you if you write the wrong information.”

A statement later issued on behalf of Big Pictures accused Pycraft of posting “unauthorised pictures” on Facebook and said he was “subject to legal action”

We understand the picture in question is of an employee being handed Pycraft’s notice of intention at the Big Pictures office.

A statement issued on behalf of Big Pictures to Press Gazette said: “We have always done, and will continue to, pay all our freelance photographers and other suppilers [sic] in accordance with the terms and conditions of our written contractual obligations with them.

“Mr Pycrafrt [sic] does not seem to understand this. He seems to feel that he should be paid earlier than the terms of his contractual terms with the company allow, simply by virtue of being a nuisance, by constantly hanging around the door of our premises, acting childishly, posting unauthorised pictures on Facebook and shouting the loudest.

“We have explained this to Mr Pycraft on several occasions, but he does not seem to understand. 

“For your information, Mr Pycraft  is subject to legal action for the posting of the unauthorised photo on Facebook referred to above, and has also been banned from the company’s premises.

“You may publish what you wish, (as we as a media agency believe in the freedom of the press), but if anything you publish is factually incorrect (including Mr Pycraft’s ‘claims’), or libellous, we retain the right to sue you in court.”

Meanwhile, it has  emerged that the company’s chief executive, Nigel Regan, has left the company.

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