Webbed tales

A MEMBER found that all of the pieces they'd written for the Daily Telegraph's "Connected" supplement had appeared on a website called www.northernlight.com.

Northern Light is an "aggregator" of newspaper databases. They are selling pieces on for as little as $1 a time to any punter with a credit card. "Even I might buy a copy at that price," the member noted.

Emma at the DT syndication agency told the member quite clearly that what Northern Light is doing is wrong and that freelance contributors own the copyright. She was not aware at all Northern Light's existence nor of what they were up to. Edward McNaughton, presumably her boss, later called the member to say that all work in the Telegraph is stored on a database and then licensed to others. "He said that in this way my work is not being reproduced, implying that my copyright is not being infringed," the member reports. "He likened it to a public library storing back issues."

This analogy is legally doubtful, at least, and the member has asked for a slice of the money as they own the copyright. McNaughton says that many freelances are signing contracts with the Telegraph.Is anyone aware of any such contracts being issued recently?

Perhaps other freelances who find their material for sale on the Northern Light web site might like to call Emma or Edward on 01732 771116. Please also contact the Freelance to be put in touch with American colleagues who have launched a grievance against Northern Light - see the June 1998 issue.

Members have had some success in getting material licensed (only) to News International paper publications removed from the www.foxnews.com website. Contact rights manager Dominic Young at News International to ask.

Jul/Aug 1999
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