Farrell interview at centre of exclusive row

Farrell: Article sparks rival anger

A celebrity news agency is at loggerheads with OK! over an “exclusive” interview with actor Colin Farrell that was used by two magazines at the same time.

Feats news agency is consulting lawyers over the article, which appeared in OK! three weeks ago but also featured in Real magazine last week.

Managers at West Sussex-based Feats sent the interview out to both Real and OK! on spec, but claim OK! made the decision to use it without contacting them for permission.

In the meantime, they negotiated a fee for the exclusive rights with staff at Real magazine, who were then shocked to see the piece appear in OK! in the 23 November issue.

However, OK! magazine insists that it did contact Feats about the piece.

Feats is now trying to prove to Real that it did not knowingly double-sell the interview.

Gary Gilbert, head of Feats, said: “OK! claims it has an email sent to us commissioning the piece, but we have asked them repeatedly to resend this to us and it has never come through.

“We may take this to the small claims court or we may decide that we wish to claim greater damages and take it further.”

Lisa Palta, editor of OK! , said she did not wish to comment on the issue.

Gail Major, editor of Real , confirmed she had believed the piece was exclusive to Real until it appeared in OK! .

She did not wish to cast blame on either party until she knew more about what had happened, she added.

Chris Johnson, chairman of the National Association of Press Agencies (NAPA), said the disagreement was not one he was aware of as a regular problem in the industry.

He said it proved the importance of making the conditions clear when sending out pieces on spec, and of making personal contact with a party when selling or buying a piece.

By Alyson Fixter

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