Slam-dunk for snapper

The NUJ has won £45,000 for a photographer in an out-of-court settlement over copyright infringement.

It was an unusual case in that the photographer, Bolton-based Chris Tofalos, had a written contract with his former client, English Basketball, stipulating the fees he would receive if they made unauthorised use of his work.

This arose from an initial series of infringements, for which English Basketball paid Mr Tofalos a total of £7000.

Despite the agreement, English Basketball, the sports governing body, continued to re-use Mr Tofalos's images, totalling more than 200 infringements, and it took three years to reach a settlement.

Kate Fox, copyright specialist with Thompsons Solicitors, reached agreement with EB after many months of negotiation.

Freelance Organiser John Toner said: "I am delighted that we have achieved this on Chris's behalf. English Basketball blatantly breached their contract with Chris and this should have been settled long ago. Chris has been very tenacious during what has been a very anxious time for him and his family. I am pleased for him that it is finally over."

Chris Tofalos said: "I am very pleased the three-year struggle is finally over and delighted with the outcome. Initially, I was faced with the monumental task of combating extensive and seemingly uncontrollable copyright infringement without the financial means to take legal action. Thankfully the NUJ provided all the financial support and legal expertise required and justice was finally done.

"An individual involved in selling their work for publication would be taking enormous risks if they didn't consider membership as absolutely essential."

  • Celebrity snapper Jason Fraser has won leave to appeal against a court ruling that BBC transmission of his pictures in the Endemol-made programme Tabloid Tales was "fair dealing for review and criticism". He told the Press Gazette in June: "If Endemol want to have a sensible chat with me, I'm all ears."
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