Monthly Archive for May, 2007

Killing two birds with one stone?

This advert for a house share (“rent free”) in the Gumtree made me laugh. It is certainly ‘enterprising’.

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News International using copyright to intimidate blogger

The infamous Sunday Times front page (Copyright: News International)I was somewhat surprised, and disappointed, to learn that blogger, Osama Saeed, has been forced by News International to remove an image of the front page of the Sunday Times. Apparently they claimed it was copyright infringement.

Now I don’t dispute that News International, as publishers of the Sunday Times, hold the copyright to any front page they produce. However, copyright law in most countries, makes provision for a concept known as “fair use” [UK Copyright Service]. Specifically, in the UK, copyrighted material may be used without infringement for the purposes of news reporting and criticism of the work. This is the same provision used by TV news broadcasters when they show pictures of newspaper front pages directly related to a story (or just reviewing the headlines on Newsnight). To illustrate the point take a look at this web page: Press declares wedding a success [BBC News].

Osama had used the image, shown above (as fair use), to illustrate a critique of it’s headline and leading article. Here’s a quotation (again as fair use of copyrighted work) from the blog:

The newspaper goes through some contortions to paint him [man pictured] as a national figure through the headline and calls him a “spiritual leader” in the article itself…

…The hype is needed to justify the front page billing but the fact is that once we read between the carefully drawn lines of the article, it says he is an imam, not the imam, in a local Beeston mosque.

Now I don’t see how his original use of the image constituted copyright infringement since he is entitled to show an image of what he is criticising.

Why have News International decided to pick on Osama? One can only assume they didn’t appreciate the criticism. Surely, a large multi-national media company ought to be thicker skinned than cry foul over the musings of a minor blog?