Brexit campaign group Leave.EU has found itself accused of breaching UK law on the use of copyrighted materials, after a freelance photographer accused campaigners of using his photographs without permission on social media.
Mr Chris Bethell, who photographed the UKIP leader Nigel Farage and other campaigners at the premiere of the documentary Brexit: The Movie, identified his photos on Leave.EU’s Twitter and Facebook profiles at a later date, in which the event was promoted as having “a great turn out”.
Mr Bethell contacted campaigners threatening legal action unless the images were either taken offline, or Leave.EU paid for their use.
The campaign group reportedly left Mr Bethell in the dark until he contacted campaigners a second time, sending over a clear payment invoice, which they subsequently refused.
“I’m kind of disgusted that they aren’t respecting English copyright law. Freelancers are struggling anyway within the editorial world and are being ripped off,” said Mr Bethell.
“Not only have they used his photographs without his permission, but they have almost certainly breached his moral rights under the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act by distorting the story that Chris reported,” commented NUJ Freelance organiser, Mr John Toner.
Leave.EU have since removed the disputed images from their social media sites.
According to reports, campaigners sent Mr Bethell an email stating: “The photos were removed and were not used for commercial purposes – just reposted as a news story and withdrawn on your request,” further stating that “we will not be paying your invoice”.