Blog Post

Pot Calling Kettle Black? Mail Rumbled Over Unauthorised Photo Use

An ironic footnote to the story from yesterday that involved the Daily Mail shutting down a proxy site for making unauthorized caches of its articles: a blogger says the online site for the newspaper has used her photographs, even after correspondence showed that the Mail editors failed to meet her terms for usage.

Alice Taylor, who writes the Wonderland blog, says that photos she took of skinny Gap mannequins — which got picked up by the Washington Post and BoingBoing, with her blessing — were used by Mail Online, after the site corresponded with her and failed to meet her terms of use.

Her terms were a donation of £250 ($410) to the charity of her choice. As you can see in the email exchange detailed on Wonderland, the Mail said that fee was too high.

The resulting story, which has ads running against it (in other words, it’s generating some revenue for Mail Online), uses the photos as they appeared in the Washington Post (NYSE: WPO), and also lifts quotes that she gave to the newspaper for the story. Neither her blog, nor the Washington Post, are given “trackbacks” linking to their sites:

(A link to that story is here, if you want to look for yourself.)

As Taylor notes in her blog, this is not the first time that the Mail has been accused of using photos from the web without permission from the photographers.

But, to be fair, the Mail is not alone here. One example: just yesterday, the BBC got a little spotlight when Jeff Sonderman at Poynter called out how BBC editors make “every effort” to contact photographers for photos found on Twitter, but that, in some cases of “time constraints,” it does not.

Taylor is now asking the Mail to donate £1,000 pounds each to two charities of her choice, her penalty for unauthorized use and knowing infringement.

The story comes on the heels of another, in which the Mail is the one doing the content protecting: it went after, and successfully closed down, a site called IstyOsty, which had been operating as a proxy and caching copies of Mail articles for users to link to without having to pass more traffic to the Daily Mail (LSE: DMGT) in the process.