News organisations have together paid out thousands after being billed retrospectively for unauthorised usage of a video taken from social media of a woman being arrested over bus fare evasion in Croydon.
But The Voice newspaper currently remains in dispute over its use of the video without credit to its owner, a man called Clement Benjamin.
The incident from July first emerged on social media in August after being shared by Saskia Cole on Twitter. Benjamin’s video showed a woman being detained by several police in front of her distraught infant son over a supposedly unpaid £1.75 bus fare.
WTF so this is how we do it @metpoliceuk over a bus fare …. In front of her child …. And you wonder why people are scared and hate the police ….. are you having a laugh – was sent this video this morning. #nojusticenopeace when we getting systemic change?!? pic.twitter.com/7fnt2SYI2h— Saskia (@Saskia_Cole) July 22, 2023
Various news organisations used the video crediting Saskia Cole and Twitter, but apparently without checking if she owned the video. Press Gazette understands the video was shot by a man called Clement Benjamin who has been charging news organisations £300 per photo and £600 per video for each unauthorised use of the video.
He remains in dispute with one news organisation who used the video, The Voice, and has sent it a statutory demand for payment of £425. He has been in correspondence with The Voice over use of the video, and stills from it, since August and apparently an initial offer to pay his invoice was subsequently retracted.
The demand letter notes that The Voice used his video, taken on 21 July, on its Youtube channel without permission.
In a letter to The Voice, Benjamin said: “You will be aware of the huge public interest in the story published by The Voice and many others in Britain and abroad who used my video and pictures taken from it of a police incident at a Croydon bus stop on Friday, July 21, 2023. My video and stories about its shocking content went viral.
“Following the use by news organisations, including yours, of content legally owned by me I invoiced them and sought my moral right to be credited by name on the videos and pictures used. All but The Voice have paid up and complied.”
The Voice is a newspaper and media brand aimed at Britons of African-Caribbean descent.
Benjamin noted in his letter to The Voice that he himself is a “Black elder in your community”.
Press Gazette understands that Sky News, the Evening Standard, LBC, the i, Mail publisher Associated Newspapers and ITV News have all made payments to Benjamin.
A freelance photographer who alerted Press Gazette to this story, but who asked not to be named, said: “At first all the organisations bar Sky News tried to use what they claimed was a ‘fair dealing’ loophole in the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patent Act. But this relates to the lifting of text for news reporting purposes and specifically excludes photographs from the law’s exemption.
“What is more, user-generated content providers have a moral right in law to be credited with their name on their pictures used by news media organisations. None of them bothered to find out the video belonged to Clement, sought his permission to use pictures from it or credited him once they did. He specifically did not put the video on social media.”
Press Gazette has contacted The Voice for comment.
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