Telegraph's Snap & Send appeal is 'highway robbery'

By Dominic Ponsford and Jon Slattery

The Daily Telegraph has been accused of “highway robbery” over its invitation for readers to “snap and send”

pictures on their mobile phones this week.

But according to
NUJ freelance organiser John Toner, the difference with Dick Turpin was
that he left his victims with the clothes on their backs.

On
Monday the Telegraph became the latest national newspaper to take
advantage of digital image technology, urging its readers to “be part
of the paper” by emailing in pictures from mobile phones or digital
cameras.

The come-on said: “Have you ever found yourself in the
midst of a major news story and wanted to share it with others? Now
that so many people have mobile phones with cameras, the possibility
exists for us all to contribute to the news agenda.”

What has
rung alarm bells with the NUJ and others is that while the Telegraph
wants the readers to be “part of the paper”, it doesn’t want to share
any legal liability that may arise from the pictures.

The terms
and conditions from Telegraph Group state that the reader must
guarantee the picture does not “infringe any law” and also “indemnify
Telegraph Group Limited against all legal fees, damages and other
expenses that may be incurred by Telegraph Group Limited”.

The Telegraph also gives itself “perpetual, royalty-free, nonexclusive”

rights to any pictures sent in.

Toner
said: “Instead of Snap & Send they should call it stand and
deliver; the only problem is that Dick Turpin left you with the clothes
you were standing in. We would advise people not to touch this with a
bargepole.

“If something goes wrong, you are fully liable for costs and damages Telegraph Group could incur.”

The
Chartered Institute of Journalists has called on the media to adopt a
“code of usage” for material supplied by citizen journalists.

The
CIoJ is to hold a conference looking at the issues raised by citizen
journalism, with the aim of hammering out a collectively agreed code of
conduct.

President Sangita Shah said: “The latest appeal for
readers’ pictures by the Telegraph highlights the problem of copyright
owners being exploited and quality of input being reduced. If we use
amateur material because it is cheaper or free, we run the risk of
having amateur papers and programmes.

“What is possible is a code
of usage for end users that ensures this new source of material is used
in a way that protects the quality of news output, the originators of
the material and the jobs of professionals in the industry.”

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