MSPs call for end to copyright row

Russell: laid down motion

Two members of the Scottish Parliament, supported by colleagues, have laid down a strongly worded motion calling on Scotsman Publi-cations to settle its copyright dispute with freelance photographers.

Snap, the Scottish Newspapers Association of Photographers, has been involved in a bitter wrangle with The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News for almost 18 months after they were told to sign new conditions for supplying pictures or they would not be employed by the papers again.

The motion, laid down by the Parliament’s spokesman for media and culture, Mike Russell, and Deputy Speaker George Reid, reads "that the Parliament regrets that in an age of global media, The Scotsman and others seem determined to impose unfair trading conditions on workers whose flexibility and independence is a key component of success in the information market and calls upon Scotsman Publications to come to a negotiated settlement in order to encourage a diverse and vibrant freelance photographic sector in Scottish publishing."

Russell told Press Gazette: "I had become increasingly concerned at the intransigence the freelances had met with in their dealings with the company. I think we need to bring some pressure to bear on the situation"

Russell has sent a copy of the motion, signed by other SMPs, to Scotsman Publications. "They should know this issue is not going to go away," he said. "They are not going to win it by simply ignoring it."

John McGurk, editorial director of Scotsman Publications, remained unmoved. "As far as we are concerned, the contract we asked freelance photographers to sign a year ago is still available for them to sign. If they want pick it up, I would be delighted."

By Jean Morgan

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