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Mirror's digital editions "likely to infringe photographers' copyright"
Trinity Mirror has not sought permission from copyright owners to republish back issues of the Daily Mirror in electronic PDF format, EPUK has learned.
23 November 2006
The move to republish a century’s worth of newspapers digitally – which would also allow third parties to reproduce parts of the pages of the newspaper – could be the largest breach of copyright ever attempted by a UK publisher.
The plans to make available electronic copies of the Daily Mirror is now at an advanced stage, and is expected to go live in around six weeks time, despite no licenses have been obtained from third-party copyright holders.
The move is likely to cause outrage among the thousands of freelance photographers and agencies whose work Mirrorpix will be reselling.
“I have to ask the question – has Trinity Mirror secured a licence to use freelance work in this way ?”, NUJ freelance organiser John Toner told EPUK. “If not, they are likely to infringe the copyright of many freelances and face huge bills for compensation.”
None of the Mirror contributors spoken to by EPUK had been contacted by the publisher to obtain a licence to reuse their work. Mirrorpix did not reply to repeated enquiries about whether it had sought permission to reuse third-party material in the new electronic editions.
· First launched on 2nd November 1903 by Lord Northcliffe as a newspaper aimed predominantly at women.
· Became the third biggest-selling daily newspaper by 1930
· A move to the political left saw it selling 1.4million copies a day by 1939, 4million a day by 1948, and over 5 million by 1966, after which it went into decline.
· Owned by Robert Maxwell from 1984 until his death in 1991
· While traditionally known as the Daily Mirror it was known as The Mirror between 1985-1987 and 1997-2002
· Sunday newspaper Sunday Mirror was launched in 1915 as the Sunday Pictorial, changing its name in 1963
· Now Owned by the Trinity Mirror PLC, which owns 240 local and sports newspapers including the Daily Record, Sunday Mail, Racing Post and Sunday Sun
The service, offered by Trinity Mirror’s syndication division under the trading name of Arcitext will offer electronic versions of over 90% of Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror/Sunday Pictorial issues dating as far back as 1903, with a total of 1.25 million searchable pages, all of which can be downloaded in PDF format.
“We have digitised the whole hundred-year archive; now it’s all fully searchable as PDF,” said John Churchill, commercial manager of Mirrorpix told Journalism.co.uk
However, Arcitext told EPUK that the archive was “90-95% complete” with further pages still being scanned. The file size of each page is described as “reproduction-quality” by Arcitext.
While the majority of the photographs which will appear in the archive will either be outside the copyright period, or will have the copyright owned by Trinity Mirror, a significant number will have been supplied for use in the print edition only.
Photographs most likely to be in potential breach will be those taken by freelances or agencies after the introduction of the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. One picture desk source at Trinity Mirror told EPUK that there were likely to be “thousands, if not tens of thousands” of photographers affected.
How Arcitext works
While the Arcitext system will not go live until next January, certain subscribers have been given log-in details to test the system.
A demonstration seen by EPUK shows how a simple text query can return all relevant pages on which the text appears, and can be filtered according to date, prominence on the page, or by front page only.
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