A Bit Naughty

It seems that the Sunday Independent has been a bit naughty.  According to one of my readers they published an edited down post of mine (‘Care Home’?) without either letting me know, or paying me for it…

This isn’t the first paper to use bloggers as unpaid column fillers.  Even the Guardian, who are pretty blog-savvy did it to me once.

So I’ve decided to send them a little email…


             I have been told by one of my readers that you have printed an edited part of my post as part of the Sunday Independent, specifically my recent post about a care home that I visited.  While my writing is Creative commons licensed, it is specifically for non-commercial use (although this can be negotiated).  While I would have been happy to have you print part of my work, I would have appreciated at least being told in advance.

             In light of the above, I am going to have to ask for your standard rate for the writing that I have provided.

             If you are the wrong person to address my concerns to, I would appreciate it if you could either forward this to them, or make me aware of who I should email.

Many thanks.

Tom Reynolds.

This blog is Creative Commons licensed, but under a non-commercial license, and I’m afraid that filling up your column inches is a commercial use.  Lets see what happens…

Does anyone else have a copy of last Sunday’s Independent?

23 thoughts on “A Bit Naughty”

  1. Tom”Creative Commons” licensing doesn't carry a great deal of weight, to be honest.

    However, you may assert your legally-binding copyright at any time. In which case – nail 'em.


  2. Tom, do you have any idea what the going rate is, and have you seen the printed paper yet?Keep us posted, would like to know what the editor has to say about this. They just can't go about pinching peoples writings and printing it.

    The Driving Instructor

  3. Well, as soon as I create something, then I have copyright, while Creative commons is a way of 'giving away' bits of my copyright.At least that's the way I see it – so the Indy has indeed breached my copyright, because they haven't followed the declaration that I have made to allow some uses of my work outside the normal 'fair use'.

    And yes, 'nail 'em' is what I intend to do (or at least kick up a stink).

  4. I haven't seen the actual paper, and I'm going mainly on what a commenter has posted (but obviously I trust you all, as you are all people of uncommon taste).I'm going to keep moaning until I get a reply.

    Actually I'm hoping that people take this who idea of print media reprinting blogposts and moan about it on their own sites.

    It's important.

    (Dunno why I ignored it last time it happened to me – just stupid I guess…)

  5. I see it as fair use as well (a roundup of what's happening in the blogosphere), and I'm a newspaper editor. However, I would have contacted you beforehand.

  6. Eh. It'd have been nice (and good manners to boot!) if they'd asked first, and you should probably stick to your principles until you get an apology.I dunno would I bother asking for money though – it's in the public domain, they clearly showed the hyperlink for your site, and you basically got what amounts to free advertising in an intenationally renowned newspaper!

    No harm, no foul. Just my tuppence….

  7. I'm independentless, but well done for voicing your concern.I wonder if some journalist will now copy/paste this for an article on copyright issues?

  8. It's arguable that quoting parts of a single post from the whole blog is akin to quoting a few paragraphs from a book in a review and is fair use/dealing; so they wouldn't have needed your permission.

  9. You can get more info on the going rate here and here.You could probably press for more than that as from the sound of things it was knowingly infringed. They may try and fob you off with something along the lines of “overriding considerations of the public interest” but hold your ground. IANAL and it's hard to say more without seeing the article

  10. Its in a section called Top blogs. Clearly shows it as your writing has your url and is only a extract. I would get its fair use.

  11. “Fair usage” is technically only up to 25 words. The reason book reviews often use more is that the publishers usually tend to think that there's no point being prissy when it gets them extra publicity. For anything else, more than 25 words and the copyright holder can, technically, sue for payment.Nosemonkey


  12. When quoting directly or indirectly from an external source, it is the usual form to reference the source of the material.Credit where credit's due…

  13. even if it is fair use, and they do this weekly, the ought to contact the authors before publishing their stuff.even if you don't get paid, maybe you'll at least change their policy so they contact people ahead of time.

  14. Even if it IS fair use, I'd be more annoyed that they omitted enough to completely change the point of the message.

  15. Congratulations on getting your blog in a national newspaper, and hence bring a lot more readers along (like me). Newspapers seem to be picking up more and more from blogs and chucking it in the paper, cutting out the bits they don't like so that it fits what they want to say.If you *really* want to pursue it (and, as someone who used to be a magazine editor, i reckon it's probably more hassle than it's worth), then you have two choices: you can hunt through the website or give them a call to find out who to send invoices payable to, and send them an invoice for 75, which is probably as much as you would get if they'd commissioned you to write this; or you can speak to the legal people at your union who might be able to provide guidance or assistance.

    If you send them an invoice, just send it as though you'd been commissioned… the editor might just sign it off because it's easier than arguing. make sure you put your full name, address, email and phone number, the title of the blog, the date and section of publication and title of publication (ie, Independent on Sunday, not just Independent).

    Good luck :). I'd be surprised if you get them to change their policy as another comment suggests, though – it's still a cheap and easy way of filling space, it's popular with readers, and a lot of blogs make it hard to find contact details for the writer – journalists aren't always tech-savvy.

  16. That's the main issue, I think they don't contact the authors cause they want to edit the words to their own advantage, or is it they think the author will not find out?Not everyone that blogs wants to be featured in a national newpaper.

    The Driving Instructor

  17. Do you need to see a copy of the IOS? I found your address because of reading the short extract in their “Top Blogs” section.

  18. Short answer before I retreat to my coffin and sleep the day away.1) Agreed, it would have been nice to ask/let me know.

    2) I reckon it's fair use, although it is annoying how they edited it and removed the 'teeth' of the piece.

    3) Nope, it's not in the public domain – anything _anyone_ creates is automatically copyrighted to them. For something like 75 years. So if someone were to publish this blog as a book, I could sue the arse off them.

    More on this later…

    …but first, to sleep.

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