Fraser warns BBC: 'Expect fireworks in copyright row'

By James Silver

Celebrity photographer Jason Fraser’s bid to appeal against a
copyright ruling could bring Victoria Beckham to court to back his view
that pictures of her were used unfairly without payment.

Fraser sued after 14 of his images appeared in an edition of Tabloid
Tales on BBC One hosted by former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan.

Mr
Justice Mann ruled that the pictures could be used without consent
under the defence in copyright law of fair dealing, which allows the
reproduction of images for the purposes of criticism, review or news
reporting.

Describing the ruling as “preposterous”

and a
“green light to copyright thieves everywhere”, Fraser told Press
Gazette: “Criticism and review implies that the programme was
impartial, but I am now in a position to prove that Tabloid Tales was
nothing more than a PR puffing exercise on behalf of the Beckhams.

“From
their point of view I’m delighted the programme was positive, but let’s
face it, Victoria Beckham was in danger of being licked to death by
Piers Morgan. It was a programme full of tittle-tattle. It was hardly
the Today programme.”

Fraser, who is known for his close
relationship with the star couple as well as other celebrities he
photographs, added: “So far I have been hamstrung by not being able to
reveal confidential sources. I have now been released from those
obligations. I am going to produce evidence that will make it crystal
clear that this programme was always going to be a positive portrait of
Victoria Beckham. Certain people were given assurances that she would
get an easy ride on Tabloid Tales.

“I don’t expect Piers Morgan
to hold his hand up, but if anyone thinks I am not going to be more
forthcoming now then they are wrong. Expect fireworks. I am confident
that not only will we win at appeal court on the point of law, but as a
result of my evidence there will be a lot of very embarrassed people
who will be shown to have lied.”

Refused leave to appeal, Fraser
will take his case to the Court of Appeal. He would not confirm that
Victoria Beckham will be testifying on his behalf, but there is
speculation that, given his close ties to the star, a court appearance
from her is on the cards.

Tabloid Tales was produced by Brighter Pictures, part of Endemol, for the BBC.

Fraser’s loss at the High Court last week has landed him with a legal bill running “comfortably into six figures”.

Following
Wednesday’s ruling, picture agency Matrix followed Fraser’s own
company, Fraser Woodward, in blocking the corporation and Brighter
Pictures access to their picture libraries.

The BBC has already
settled out of court with Fraser over its unauthorized use of two of
his pictures of Paul McCartney and his wife Heather Mills in an another
edition of Tabloid Tales.

He is also in dispute with the broadcaster and production company over his shots of Anthea Turner.

Fraser said any damages would be donated to the NPF journalists charity.

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