Publishers are facing growing costs for copyright breaches as reporters are increasingly asked to upload images into their stories.
The union is aware of a number of major newspaper companies who are paying out to freelancers who have spotted infringements of their copyright. In most titles staff reporters are now expected to download images to back up their stories and upload them straight onto the page, as part of technological changes to production. In most cases there is a lack of sub-editing support and photographs lifted straight from the internet to the paper is now the norm, but is becoming a financial headache instead of the cost savings the new practice was expected to achieve.
In one case in particular the Group Head of Legal at Newsquest has issued a detailed directive to staff with nine bullet points on how to avoid breaching copyright and its implications.
NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran said:”I am surprised it has taken so long for companies to notice the growing cost and act accordingly. They are now advising staff on the issue, but we have known this was going to explode at some stage with freelancers cashing in as their rights are ignored and breached. It might help editors if they looked at offering improved terms within freelance agreements or contracts with licensing use.”