Tales and Tools

TALES WITH A TWIST

The documents listed below were recently received from North Wales Police in response to my complaint last year about the leaflet Tales With a Twist. I’m afraid that apart from the covering letter they were in a font size so minuscule that I needed a magnifying glass to read them. I have enlarged them to make it easier for you.

The different RM numbers will make sense as you read on.

  1. Covering letter.
  2. RM17019233.
  3. RM17013288 p1, ditto p2, ditto p3.

Just before last year’s council elections we were entertained with election leaflets distributed in Gwynedd urging people not to vote for Plaid Cymru; which might have been OK had they carried imprints identifying the publisher and the printer. As they carried neither they were unlawful.

What’s more, the attack on Plaid Cymru slipped into ridiculing the Welsh language and, some thought, outright racism. The leaflet even hinted at electoral fraud being committed by “council officials and high ranking Plaid Cymru councillors”.

The leaflet I’m referring to was called Tales With a Twist No 6, and I wrote about it first in Dirty, Dirty Politics and followed that up with Dirty, Dirty Politics 2. You can read it for yourself by clicking on the image beneath.

The leaflet was being distributed in Trawsfynydd on April 28th by Independent councillor Louise Hughes of Llangelynin ward. Though I’m 99% sure that she neither wrote nor printed the leaflets. I say that because they were quite well written and they were certainly professionally printed.

click to enlarge

I made complaints to the Electoral Commission and North Wales Police.

The response from the Electoral Commission was a gem of the ‘Don’t bother us’ kind. I’d complained about Tales With a Twist bearing no imprints and the EC responded with, “It appears that the material (leaflet) you provided does not contain an appropriate imprint. However, it is not clear who has produced and distributed the leaflet”.

Er, no, that’s why I referred it you. That’s why I told you who was distributing it. The person who was distributing it could have told you who produced and printed the leaflet. The Electoral Commission was clearly a dead-end.

Perhaps I’d have more luck with North Wales Police.

Not really. You’ll know that things got off to a bad start when you read in the documents to which I’ve linked, “The website/Blog has been written by Royston Jones who is not politically neutral in this matter and is believed to be a member/supporter of Plaid Cymru.”

Well, laff!!

As you’ll see this revelation appears on the incident sheet RM17019233. Which also tells us, against ‘Place of offence’: “Anson Court, Atlantic Wharf, #Plaid Cymru Ground Floor, Butetown, Cardiff UK CF10 4AL (Plaid Cymru)”.

It soon became clear that Plaid Cymru had also made a complaint and somehow the local gendarmerie had confused or conflated my complaint with the complaint received from that party.

This is admitted at the foot of the document with, “Having reviewed this occurrence and the linked occurrence RM17019233 I can see that they are one and the same. . . both complaints having been received as a direct result of the letter generated by Mr Royston JONES, his letters and online blogs). Master occurrence RM17013288 will remain open until such time as the investigation is complete.”

So let’s turn to RM17013288.

You’ll note that this incident sheet is peppered with statements like: “difficulty in getting the informant (me) to engage” and “Mr Jones is not fully assisting police (refusing to divulge his sources on MG3) – reducing his credibility as a witness.”

Let me make it absolutely clear that I was always ready to ‘engage’. For God’s sake it was me who took Tales With a Twist to the police. As for not ‘divulging sources’; if people tell me things in confidence and are unwilling to deal with the police then I accept that, and so should the police.

After all:

  1. I had given the police a copy of the leaflet.
  2. I had told the police who was distributing the leaflet.
  3. I had told the police where and when the leaflet was distributed.
  4. I had explained the way(s) in which the leaflet fell foul of electoral law.
  5. The police had spoken with Councillor Louise Hughes who admitted distributing the leaflet.
  6. She could, if pressed, have told the police the name of the publisher and the printer.
  7. As a result of this information a conviction or convictions could have been secured.

Instead, North Wales Police chose to believe that Louise Hughes had both printed and distributed the leaflets, they gave her a warning, and ignored entirely the matter of who published them.

I’m sure NWP would excuse themselves by saying that with neither the Electoral Commission nor the Crown Prosecution Service interested in proceeding with the case there was little else they could do. But it was the police themselves who decided that the Public Order Act had not been contravened by a leaflet that clearly sought to stir up hatred against the Welsh language and its speakers.

Perhaps trying to impress the police with her contrition Louise Hughes told them that, “training was now being arranged for all councillors to ensure no literature (from any political party) was distributed incorrectly in the future”.

I checked with some Gwynedd councillors on whether, in light of Tales With a Twist, special training had been arranged to explain to councillors what they should already know. The answer I got was that nothing was arranged beyond the regular “code of conduct course”.

Louise Hughes, who initially aligned herself with Llais Gwynedd before realising that their opposition to Plaid Cymru came from the ‘other side’ has since fallen in with a small group of anti-Welsh bigots who try to dress up their hatred for all things Welsh, especially the language, by pretending they’re attacking Plaid Cymru.

It doesn’t fool me. It shouldn’t fool anybody else.

JAC THREATENED WITH LEGAL ACTION

On April 19th I received a tweet from a Rob Melen asking for my e-mail address. Nothing unusual in that, it happens all the time. I gave him my e-mail address.

Within hours I received an e-mail from Melen saying:

“It has come to my attention that you have used my image of mine of the inside of a Castle Bingo showing fixed odds betting machines. I do not have any record of having issued you with a licence to use this image. I would be grateful if you would provide me with any evidence that you have been issued with a licence by myself for such use.

Subject to that, as it appears that you have breached my copyright I require you to provide me with information about where you sourced the image, the length of time that you have used the image, and any other usages that you may have made of that, or any other image that you may have reason to believe may be mine.

Unless you have a licence from me I require you to remove the image immediately, and will be requiring payment for use of the image to date. If you would like to make use of the image for the future, any such future use would only be permitted subject to negotiation with me of a separate additional licence and payment of a licence fee at my rates.”

This referred to a big piece I wrote last September, scroll down and you’ll come to a section about Carolyn Harris The English Labour Party in Wales (hereinafter referred to on this blog as TELPiW) MP for Swansea East and her party’s association with Castle Bingo.

I responded with;

“I was rather surprised to receive your e-mail. After all, the image is attributed to you, which I’d assumed made it OK.

Anyway, as to where I got, all I can say is that it came from Googling the Internet.
 
It has now been removed. I suggest we leave it at that.”

But no, on Saturday I received another e-mail from Melen, this one quite threatening:

“Without Prejudice Save as to Costs

Further to your reply of 19th April 2018, I was extremely disappointed to see my image used in this way. This was a blatant breach of my copyright because the image was used without license from myself. It would have been easy for you to find out who the copyright owner is, and to publish it legally.

You ought to have known that the image would be protected by copyright, and use of my image in this way by you in the course of your business/blog would be a criminal offence under S.107(2A) of the Copyright Act 1988, punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine. 

Unauthorised use of the image in this way devalues the value of the image for myself and my clients. Use on the internet, especially where unattributed, is especially damaging as it presents further opportunities to third parties to infringe my images, and increases the risk that the image may become ‘orphaned’.

If I have to take this matter further, I may be entitled to claim damages not only for the direct losses caused by your infringement, such as my loss of license fee, but also for one or more of the following:

  • I am entitled by law to additional damages where the breach is flagrant or where you have gained a benefit from using the image.
  • I may elect to require an account of profits from your use of the image, and may require you to carry out disclosure of the full amount of profits derived from use of my image. This may include my claiming a share in the total profits from the sale of any edition in which my image appeared.
  • I am entitled to further damages for failure to credit my image to me: for breach of statutory duty under S.103 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.
  • I may be entitled to additional damages for ‘moral prejudice’ under S.3(2)(a)(ii), The Intellectual Property (Enforcement, etc) Regulations 2006.
  • I may be entitled to claim from you any additional losses caused to me which results from your breach, for example if my image becomes ‘orphaned’ due to your actions.
  • If I have to take this claim further, the costs of lawyers’ fees, court fees, and other expenses will also be added to the cost of the claim.

The foregoing list is not exhaustive, and I reserve my right to claim for additional heads of damage. I would strongly urge you to consult a solicitor in relation to this claim if I go ahead with it.

In the interests of resolving this matter quickly for both of us I am, at this stage, willing to make a without prejudice offer to waive my rights to damages from you with respect to your breach for a payment of £150, provided that you accept this offer in writing within the next [7] days and provided that such sum is received on my account within the next [14] days.

This offer applies with respect only to your breach of copyright and usage of my image as described in my letter to you of 19th April 2018, and does not in any way imply waiver or consent regarding any additional usage or use of any other image or any breach by any other person. This offer is made on condition that you have disclosed all material facts to me in relation to your breach of my copyright.

This offer applies to settlement of your breach of copyright for this image until the date of expiry of the offer, and assumes that you remove the offending copy of the image forthwith (which you have done). No consent to future or continuing use of the image is implied in the foregoing offer. Should you wish to continue use of the image, then that would be subject to separate negotiation and agreement.

Should I not receive notification of acceptance of this offer within the period described above I shall pass the matter to be dealt with by my solicitors and/or debt collection agents, and additional costs will be incurred which I shall recover from you.

Yours sincerely/faithfully”

He wants a share of my profits from his photo! Does he think Jac o’ the North is part of Rupert Murdoch’s empire? I think you’ll agree that Rob Melen’s response to me for using a photo of gaming machines that appeared in a WalesOnline article is a bit OTT.

The picture was in the public domain. Yes, I used it, but his name was clearly visible. There was no attempt to claim it as my own or deny him ownership. (As for the millions I made from it, well, they’re safe in my offshore accounts.)

So why the over-reaction? Come to that, who is Rob Melen? Both questions can be answered by telling you that Rob Melen is the senior photographer for that rabidly pro-Labour rag the Evening Post of Swansea. Currently losing readers faster than any other newspaper in Wales. Here’s his Linkedin profile.

click to enlarge

Another non-coincidence, I suspect, is that the article in which I used the image last September was about Carolyn Harris who is now, thanks to the union block vote, the deputy leader of TELPiW. The blog post that was current when Melen got in touch also contained a section on Harris. Fancy that!

And into the mix you can throw the many references I’ve made to Carolyn Harris over the “dyke shoes” assault, and the vindictive pursuit of the victim who will stand trial in Newport in June charged with theft.

On top of which I have many times criticised the Labour Party. In fact, I detest every last one of the verminous bastards that keep my homeland poor and my people subjugated.

So let’s put it all together: A photographer contacts me for using an image of his that appeared in an online newspaper. Guilty, but his name was clearly visible. And the picture? Well, it was a picture of a room full of gaming machines; it was never going to win a competition . . . even a competition for a picture showing a room full of gaming machines.

But someone saw the photo on this blog, and his name, and had a little word: ‘Listen, Rob, love, we’re gonna use you to get that bastard Jac o’ the North. Alright? Well, of course it’s alright innit – you want to keep your job, don’t you? There’s a good boy.’

Am I being unfair on Robert Melen? No, I think not. You see, his e-mails gave away the fact that they had been pasted from some other source. The shadow of the selected text was still visible in the e-mail.

click to enlarge

Yes, I could understand the shadow if he was copying the legal bits, but both e-mails were pasted in their entirety, even the parts he was supposed to have written himself! It is unmistakeable. At the end of his second e-mail Melen didn’t even realise he was supposed to choose when confronted with “Yours sincerely/faithfully”.

I have not replied to Robert Melen’s second e-mail (or whoever wrote it). What do you think I should do? I’d like to hear in particular from the lawyers among you.

Drop me a line to editor@jacothenorth.net.

♦ end ♦

 

49 thoughts on “Tales and Tools

  1. Good luck Jac. If I can help I will, but I’m not appropriately qualified. In the past I’ve been in some tricky positions and find sadly that many so called “friends” quickly run and hide and leave you alone. As for Electoral Offences – I have suffered a few aimed at me – they were criminal in the “Purdah Period” and I got nowhere with “friends” or the Police or CPS or that awful blood sucking “Electoral Commission”. I will see what I can dig up about Rob Melen. OK. Good luck. Please other readers of this BLOG – support Jac.

  2. Big Gee

    In this ‘picture grabbing Internet world’ we live in, there’s a lot of hot air spouted about copyright. Most of it is bunkum, conjured up by amateur armchair lawyers.

    Copyright is a form of legal protection that is automatically assigned to content creators at the moment of creation. In other words, the moment you take a photograph, you own the copyright to it. You don’t have to register it with a special organisation, you don’t have to fill in a form or add a legal notice to the image. The rights to use, amend or sell that image are yours and yours alone.

    HOWEVER there is the question of proof of ownership, i.e. can he prove that he took the picture? Just saying it belongs to him is not enough. There needs to be proof of copyright ownership. Perhaps you could politely ask Rob Melen if he is in possession of such proof that unequivocally proves that it was taken by him. Owning the camera is not enough either, it has to be his finger on the shutter button. Remember the who-ha regarding whether a monkey owned the copyright to a picture he took of himself using the photographers’ equipment?

    It’s a bluff – and as you attributed (assumed) credit to him for the picture, I doubt if any court in the land would waste their time on it.

  3. Big Gee

    Off topic for this thread. Amber Rudd resigns tonight. About ‘Ruddy’ time I say!

    Now it gets interesting as the media guns will now train on May. Poor ‘luv’ I feel sorry for her (NOT). It’s going to be a ‘burn the witch’ period for a while – not before time.

    So it looks as if Ein Gwlad don’t need to get involved after all, regarding the exposure of her ex husband A. A. Gill’s incitement to racial hatred whilst he was married to Rudd.

    1. Dafis

      … and now Sajid Javid becomes Home Secretary ! So no obvious racism any more, other than favouring Indian sub-continent ethnics, but he won’t acknowledge issues like prejudice against Wales and the Welsh language as he probably doesn’t know that Wales exists. Oh, I hear you say, Cairns will remind him. Well not really, he’s too fuckin’ short to be seen and too busy trying to chop Wales into 3 or 4 bits to be tagged on to the adjacent regions of England.

    2. Red Flag

      As a committed Leaver may I say hurrah!. Rudd’s gone – hard brexit inches a bit closer, if May goes hard brexit is a virtual certainty.

      Just need Varadkar to keep threatening to veto and jackpot – we leave with no deal.

      I find it bizarre that people who supposedly wish to Remain are actually assiting us leavers by helping us move ever closer to a hard brexit.

      Any chance the Remain idiots could have a go at Hammond next?

      Thanks in anticipation.

      (ps – Don’t worry about that stupid waste of taxpayers money in the Lords today – that will quickly be overturned in Commons with a majority of over 100. May has over 30 Labour MPs backing leaving the Customs Union and at least half-a-dozen Tory Remainers who now believe the only way to get out is to leave the Customs Union)

  4. A follow up to an earlier Comment of mine – Jac, why don’t you, or Big Gee, refer to that controversy over copyright recently claimed by a monkey for a selfie. More important, who is Rob Melen’s organ grinder?
    What’s that photo worth? Nil. What profit have you made of it? Nil. Relax Jac, that man’s a total TWAT working for a shite organ grinder !

  5. Stan

    Donkey Ostler speaks wise words, IMHO. Two years in prison and/or a fine, my arse. You’ve not stolen Lord of the Rings and sold a million copies of it on Ebay before it was released! No criminal intent here – unless it’s the one of blackmail. You attributed the source when you put it out on the blog, and you’ve removed the image immediately when the matter was raised with you by Melen. What possible damage could he have suffered?

    Incidentally, I see his portfolio has a few images of people you’ve covered in the past, like Kinnock Jr, Kirsty Williams and even Charles Windsor. Could be anyone pulling his strings but if he works for the South Wales Evening Post, I would bet Welsh Labour’s involved.

    1. Thank you, Stan. There’s no doubt in my mind that Melen is trying it on, or somebody’s using him to try it on. Picking on a poor old pensioner like me. That would look good in court.

      1. Wynne

        I agree with Stan and Big Gee Jac. I seem to recall you using the phrase “I’m calling your bluff boys and girls” when you recently dealt with solicitors based in Cardiff.

      2. Big Gee

        Forget ‘court’ my old impoverished pensioner friend!

        Bullshit flak. Can you imagine the CPS taking this one to court? It would just get flung out with ridicule. But that’s hypothetical – there is no way on earth that it would get within a thousand miles of a courtroom.

        Evidence of who pressed the button on the camera?

        1. Red Flag

          Wouldn’t be a CPS issue I don’t think. Initially would be County Court I think because it’s such a minor issue then a writ in the High Courts.

          1. Big Gee

            I stand corrected. You are quite right this is considered a civil matter as opposed to a criminal matter, so neither the police or the CPS would be involved. It’s a solicitors at dawn facing a county court judge, both siphonic as much out of their clients as they can get away with.

            Any solicitor worth his salt would tell Melen to sod off as his case would have as much chance of success as a snowflake’s chance in hell!

            1. Red Flag

              Any solicitor worth his salt will milk this for months – they are a pack of dishonourable leeches

  6. Anonymous

    Melen sounds like a bit of a bell-end. One doesn’t have to wonder too much about who is pulling his strings. Unfortunately there are always going to be those who throw teddy out of their cot at some perceived illegitimate use of something they’ve created that might generate 50p for them in terms of royalties, and the more amateur they are the louder they seem to squeal.

    Best all round to try and source Open Source stuff licensed under Creative Commons – licensing conditions vary, but most are completely okay with the kind of usage images would be put to on a blog like this as the restrictions, if any usually pertain to commercial use. There are probably loads of different sources where Creative Commons images can be sourced, but this one I found seems to have a lot of very nice images relating to Wales:

    https://pixabay.com

    Of course Jac, if in future you need images of fixed odds betting machines, (or anything else) why not call on one of us to go out and snap some for you?

    1. I shall explore the Open Source sites, but I really wouldn’t expect readers of this blog to be familiar with bingo palaces and fixed odds betting machines.

  7. Brychan

    It might be wise to ask Robert Melen to provide evidence that he owns the copyright.

    If it was a commercial undertaking, like a fashion shoot for the delectable Carolyn Harris MP, then there should be a contract between the photographer and the client, and this would usually mean the client has ownership of the work. The same would apply if the client is on and for the commercial premises the photo was taken, as promotion of that venue.

    If Melen took the photo as an employee or on a commission on behalf of the South Wales Evening Post (Trinity Mirror Group) it is they that own the copyright, not Melen.

    The standing of ‘senior photographer’ for them, as he lists himself on the Linkdin profile, should be aware of the contractual arrangement he has, expressed or implied. Therefore, if this is the case, to send such threatening letters over a work that he doesn’t own to gain financial gain would be a criminal offence of extortion. He has inserted the words “Without Prejudice” so the correspondence cannot be used as evidence in a civil counter-claim. Such a term does not apply to criminal proceedings.

    If we assume that the image is owned by Melin, he would need to prove to the court that fact. He would then need to prove to the court that you made financial gain from its use, an amount he would seek to recover. If his claim were that the image has ‘intrinsic artistic value’ like the Mona Lisa, he would need to evidence this to the court. He could then be seeking reputation damages but to quantify this he would need to evidence his personal income from such works. He states on his Linkdin profile that he no longer is a ‘freelance photographer’ and his only employer is the South Wales Evening Post.

    As for the costs associated with the claim, the court would decide the merits of such a claim.

    Important words in his letter “You ought to have known”. Really? I’ve never heard of him or knew his works of such value, and I was recently a passenger on the Clapham Omnibus (travel to an anti-terrorism course). I’ve heard of Baily but not him.

    I thought Melen was a type of fruit desert. Now I know, I shall ensure that this man is not afforded commercial access when conducting works that the South Wales Evening post of associated publications commissioned from him. He will know me when I ask him for his ‘press card’ shortly followed by his swift access to the pavement or designated perimeter.

    I suggest they find a different photographer.

    1. Big Gee

      Brychan’s customary, excellent appraisal of the situation and corresponding wisdom and accuracy is your source material for your reply Jac.

      Time for a bit of copying and pasting.

  8. Tessa

    “Poor old pensioner” ha ha ha! At least you didn’t say “Harmless”! Ignore the legal threat waffle. It takes tens of thousands minimum to get a court hearing so unless he’s massively wealthy or completely bonkers he won’t do ‘owt. The Electoral Commission – what a waste of space they are. I reported an issue a few years back – £5,000 given by Carms CC to each of their serving nodding-dog councillors to spend on their communities just months before the local govt. elections. D’ya know what EC said? That because it was council’s money (and not the funds from the individuals standing) it was not a problem! Needless to say the ancients who make up the bulk of the voters, and the ancients who were representing them, all had a jolly good time spending the cash and – unsurprisingly? – many of the serving councillors got back in again. Which helped maintain the status quo – under the reign of his lordship or commandeer or wtf his title is Mark James. PS I could be accused of sour grapes as I stood for council at the time. The incumbent who had served for very many years did not in fact get back in again. We lost to a lovely gentleman who subsequently joined the executive committee. Not a role I’d have got within a hundred miles of because I’m a pain in the arse. But, whatever.

  9. Sian Caiach

    Complaints about imprints on leaflets should go the returning officer who passes them on, at his or her discretion to the specific police officer, usually from the fraud squad, appointed for the purpose for each election. The returning officer can identify the individual officer for you if you wish to complain directly and contact the proper officer..
    The worst that usually happens, in my experience, is an Interview “under caution”.I’ve never heard of any criminal charges as a result.

    My only experience of this was being reported to the police, in 2017 ,I presume by local Carms returning officer Mark James or someone else who may have had a bad day at the office . They botched it up and instead of describing my group as People First/ Gwerin Gyntaf described us as “Public First”. which according to Google is a PR and Political Strategy outfit run by Tory Mark Frayne.

    I replied to the police officer’s letter, with some indignation, that I did not know Mr Frayne and was certainly not involved with his group. Never heard anything more.

    The only real scrutiny of leaflets is of the postal free delivery ones for general and assembly elections where they are scrutinised in detail as regards both imprint and offensive language.

  10. Brychan

    Hopefully North Wales Police having received physical evidence of the racist leaflet being distributed in Trawsfynydd on April 28th has followed correct procedure by correctly bagging and tagging.

    It may be required to be presented to ongoing enquiries into proscribed organisations under the Terrorism Act 2000.

    Louise Hughes has been cautioned on her behaviour, and as has been already stated, she is unlikely to have produced the material herself. More tellingly, such material is also unlikely to have been produced within Wales. The West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit has an ongoing investigation into material of this sort. It being distributed (as a recruiting tool rather than as a publication to change hearts and minds in the political sense) both inside and outside the United Kingdom.

    The ‘Hope Not Hate’ campaign group suggests material in France distributed as being anti-Arabic in local elections, in Finland and Baltic states as being anti-Russian in local elections, and Germany and Holland as being anti-Semitic in local elections had previously been put down to ‘ignorant local bigots’ during local or regional campaigns and focussed on “language” as ethnic identity. In fact it was pan-European organised distribution of incendiary material intent as a recruitment tool for organisations linked to National Action.

    I do hope GogPlod has forward/recorded the 555s on the Trawsfynydd complaints. They are no doubt aware of the Sennybridge haul. Here’s the printed copy of the form PC Williams should use…
    http://library.college.police.uk/docs/APPref/5x5x5-Information-Intelligence-Report.pdf
    It should be attached to the physical evidence he’s received, reviewed by an inspector rank and forwarded to the unit concerned, if not already done so.

    1. I can’t remember if I sent them a hard copy or e-mailed a scanned copy. But I’m fairly sure that someone sent me a hard copy, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do such a good copy. And as I don’t have the hard copy now, I’m fairly certain that I sent it to NWP.

      One aspect that I failed to expand on is that the leaflet in question was No 6, so there were 5 before it. Which means we’re not dealing here with a one-off ‘mistake’, it’s more of a campaign.

  11. Where are the “Legal Eagles” who read and support your Blog Jac? Surely at least one of them could have offered proper free legal advice by now about Copyright. As Brychan asks – who owns that copyright? I bought an oil painting at a moderate fee a few years ago. A little later the Artist asked my permission to borrow it to make a few prints for a charity raffle. That implied I had the copyright. I loaned him the picture and he made three copies only at my order for a good cause. Also surely this is a CIVIL matter not a CRIMINAL matter, so it will be nothing to do with CPS or Police if I’m correct. So unless Rob Melen is wealthy and mad he will not sue a penniless pensioner at a massive cost for a pittance of a Court Order for very minor damages. Check this out – if correct – my amateur advice is to apologise publicly and he if continues with threats then tell him “OK, see you in court”.

  12. Dafis

    Glanced into your Tweet column and nearly wet myself ( not normally incontinent ! ) when I saw the shot of the odious Nia Griffith and that bumptious prick Lee Waters engaging in a protest outside Llanelli Hospital. WTF ? 2 hard core Labour politicians protesting about an issue that is smack in the middle of CJ’s Labour government’s remit. It could only happen in the lalaland that Wales has become under Labour control. Can we count on Leanne or ARTD picking up on this and opening up a sustained barrage of criticism on this and other topics from now through to the departure of CJ, then slight shift of gear to suit the profile of whichever muppet takes over after CJ departs ?. Don’t hold your breath.

  13. Eos Pengwern

    I’m not a lawyer either, though I once fought (and won) a case all the way up to the Court of Appeal, so I take an interest in these things.

    In any case, it seems obvious to me that even if Melen caan prove his ownership of the copyright, then your use of it would be classed as “fair dealing”, which is as Wikipedia puts it “a doctrine which provides an exception to United Kingdom copyright law, in cases where the copyright infringement is for the purposes of non-commercial research or study, criticism or review, or for the reporting of current events.”

    1. That is very interesting. And I think it might apply in this case, for what am I but a reporter of current events?

      1. Eos Pengwern

        Exactly, not to mention a relentless critic! The Wikipedia article goes on to say that the fair dealing defence “requires the infringer to show not only that their copying falls into one of the three fair dealing categories, but also that it is ‘fair’ and, in some cases, that it contains sufficient acknowledgement for the original author”. It seems to me that you wouldn’t have the slightest difficulty showing all of those things.

            1. Big Gee

              Exactly. Eos is spot-on. It’s a non runner. I wouldn’t loose a wink of sleep over it Jac.

              People like Melen always blow up their threats and make them sound serious – it follows a pattern. If he was really serious he would have got legal advice before rattling off his mouth and it would have been his solicitor that would have contacted you. He obviously hasn’t. That says it all. There’s an old saying in Welsh “Y ci tawel sy’n cnoi”. Never fear a barking dog, always keep your eye on the quiet one. If he was serious he would have quietly got advice and then pounced.

              Hot air and bull shit. Kick it into touch and forget about it Jac. If you fork out any money, it will set a precedence and will result in other clowns trying their luck.

  14. An appeal from me, to readers of this excellent BLOG. This photo copyright issue is too much of a distraction from all the serious issues facing Jac. Read it all above. Jac really is a poor pensioner. I am asking you readers to donate £10 each to a fund to pay off this Photographer Rob Melen. As you can read above he asked Jac to agree by this Saturday 5th May to pay him £150 and to settle the payment by the following Saturday 12th May. If at least fifteen of us cough up £10 each now it will settle this distraction that must be a worry for Jac. I have just paid a donation of my £10 into the PayPal account. If you see at the top right hand side of your screen you will see a box marked “DONATIONS”. Click on that and make a one off £10 donation (not monthly). Read it carefully. Most of us have a PayPal Account linked to our Bank Card and most of us can afford £10 for Jac. If so, fill in all the boxes and note – where it displays £0.00 you must type to the right of that 10.00 and then press the bottom link and you’ve paid it – like I did a few minutes ago. Any surplus money in your rush to pay can go towards funds for Ein Gwlad. Please, I strongly appeal to you to give £10 now to buy off this Copyright issue.

    1. Eos Pengwern

      Good idea. It’s a shame to give money to such a slimy toerag, but if it’s a choice between that and Jac’s time and attention then it’s definitely the lesser evil. It’s Jac’s prerogative to keep the money for some better purpose if he wants to, but at least then he has the choice.

    2. Brychan

      Whist I agree that such donations would be gratefully received (a) I don’t think any moneys should be paid over, it should be directed to the cause of independence, (b) do not, under any circumstances make the mistake of launching legal process or counter claim legal process, an error made by other bloggers in Wales, and (c) just write a letter of apology, remove the offending item, state no commercial gain was made from it’s use, and undertake to desist future use.

      If there’s any costs to be incurred, let it be Melens.
      He’s obviously a rather ham-fisted amateur.

      Most photographers would first request the above. There are others of his type in Wales (with similar political hostility) but are slightly more sophisticated and professional. The LlanelliOnline one springs to mind. Perhaps this Carmarthenshire based paparazzi could take on a college wannabe and then tout for the premier league accreditation that Melen currently has for access to Cardiff and Swansea football shots. This is his largest expense for sourcing images, likely to be funded by Media Wales as part of the Mirror group.

      Melen has obviously forgotton the golden rule of his profession. To be successful you have to win the confidence and candour of his subjects. This includes all strands of political opinion and sections of Welsh public life. Burning bridges is a fools game.

      1. I removed the image, which carried the imprint ‘Photo by Rob Melen’ very soon after receiving his first e-mail.

        There was never any attempt to deny his ownership of the photograph and no attempt to make any money from it.

  15. Anonymous

    Rob Melen’s approach intrigues me. Why has he resorted to such immediate aggression, and trying to sound like the Attorney General?
    Rob, a friendly approach in the first instance would have been best. You know that. Who advised you otherwise? It is not as if it’s a David Bailey photo of Twiggy, or one of Robert Capa’s Vietnam pics, being used by a mighty media corporation.
    This could have been dealt with politely. RM’s opening email indicates to me that from the outset he was not seeking an amicable agreement (with, let’s face it, a tiny outfit). Then he follows up with more threats.
    I am by no means a political ally of Jac the blogger, but he does much invaluable, skilled work in exposing wrongdoing in Wales and I am happy to donate £10 to help see the back of these threats – though I thoroughly agree with opinions expressed by commenters above.
    Finally, I want Rob Melen to this answer question: have you, RM, had discussions with anybody who encouraged you from the outset in this matter to adopt such an aggressive stance?
    Chris Corrigan
    NUJ life member

    1. Brychan

      As very valid question by Corrigan. I can think of only two reasons why Melen went in ‘cack-handed’. (a) He was pissed and angry, or (b) he was lent on by Carolyn Harris MP.

      If he went in pissed and angry rather than using the friendly informative route, then he needs to take some time out and put himself on a conflict management course. He will need to understand the techniques of his profession relies on this to obtain best results.

      More likely is that he’s been lent on by the Labour MP. Basher Harris has been making speeches in parliament claiming valid criticism about her failure to stand up for residents in the constituency as ‘online bullying’, questions about her expense claims as “trolling” and trying to ingratiate herself with her more able colleagues by comparing valid scrutiny of her lazy representation of Swansea by hiding behind the horrific murder of Jo Cox by a far right English nationalist. The reality is that Jacs exposure of Harris has been excellent and above board, a part bringing politicians to account. For Melen as a journalist to be used as a tool by a Labour MP to try to close down debate is a scourge on his profession, and should be resisted.

      1. There may also be an element of a pre-emptive strike about it if Harris is behind him.

        You may recall that after the ‘dyke shoes’ assault and the bad publicity it got for Harris she went on the offensive and accused her former colleague, who was then a member of her staff, of theft from the office funds.

        Finally, after two years, that case will come to court next month in Newport. Harris will almost certainly appear in the witness box.

        1. Brychan

          The thing about justice is that it needs to be swift, so as not hold false accusation over the head of an innocent party. If access to justice has been delayed because the accuser has been hiding behind IPSA (the MPs expenses body) by not providing timely evidence to South Wales Police, then there is reason for Harris to explain this to the Westminster House, and her role in the matter. It may be that the Sword of Damocles will be transformed to the Sword of the Sergeant at Arms. We already know in Wales that Harris is a fake.

        2. Stan

          Let’s hope Carolyn wears that smart “Smurf” number that shows her figure off to its very best. Or perhaps not, on reflection.

          The amount of time this whole affair has hung over poor Jenny Lee Clarke is disgraceful, no matter if she is proven innocent or guilty on the charges. At least it will now draw to a close and she can try and pick up the pieces of her life. I wonder if any questions will be allowed to be put to Harris about the alleged assault in the constituency office and the rather odd promise she subsequently made in writing to give Ms Clarke a job if she was elected as an MP?

  16. Brychan your opening sentence shows you misunderstand the situation. It will be a court that could make an order insisting Jac hands over the £150 plus most probably extensive costs. Therefore we should all chip in with a donation – the suggested £10 – any surplus is pledged for “Ein Gwlad”. Let’s help Jac, and close down this distraction. The law on Copyright is extensive and complicated – GOOGLE it. It is complicated beyond the grasp of the average small town Solicitor who would need to seek Counsel’s advice – then it become big bucks. it is quite possible that Rob Melen was leaned upon by a client (probably Labour) to hit on Jac, or he he is just a mean guy. At the end of the day it was his photo.
    I’m told today that Plaid Cymru, in Swansea West, used a photo of Rhosili Head on a Plaid Newsletter lifted off the web by an utterly incompetent member a few years ago. I’m told they had a Bill for £10,000 but settled out of court for £1,000. Can any one of the many EX Plaid Members confirm this? Also, there is one web site that contains many hundreds of various photos that is FREE for use. It’s a pity Jac did not use one of those. Anyway, come on folks – those of you who enjoy reading Jac’s Blog – cough up £10 now before Saturday 5th of May as explained above.

    1. Brychan

      If any payment is to be made from a old aged pensioner from Tywyn to a dynamic go-getter professional photographer with Premier League accreditation and extensive contractual arrangements with the South Wales Evening Post, it would be fair and reasonable for the payment to be collected by direct debit to the sum of £1 per month for the pensioner, as one payment, or until such time the £150 claim is settled. If our Jac is minded to pay this amount he should make these payment terms as an offer directly.

      Refusal of such a kind offer will result in Melen the biggest prat in Swansea, and of course result in this fact being widely publicised, most importantly to any expensive legal council he wishes to engage with the slim chance of him recovering his costs in the courts.

      Perhaps Jac can update us on the result.

      As for Melen, himself, I’d invite him to spend his £1 buying me a pint. A suitable hostelry is situated in Wind Street, Swansea. There we can both gaze up at the CCTV cameras and discuss such matters such as glass houses, the syndication arrangements between MediaWales and the Daily Mail and how photographers best do their job by blending into the background, not putting access or source of their work in jeopardy and not making themselves the actual subject of the news feed. I hear the distinct sound of muffled chuckles from other photographers who do work for MediaWales in Cardiff and the valleys.

      1. Brychan

        Having looked at the photo in question (the original purpose and use which he has already been paid for) he estimates it’s commercial value at £150. Strange. I think temporary reproduction of this work to be worth only 37p. He should be glad to accept the quid.

    2. Penclawdd Donk

      Donkey Ostler, I have spoken to a mate who was Chair of Plaid Gower and can confirm that Plaid did pay a photographer £1000 for a photo copied from a ‘photos for sale’ site. She could prove that the photo was hers because of wave patterns. He warned me that the matter could be a double edged sword. First, any action against Jac would be in a Civil Court, one near Jac. This means that Melen would have to travel some distance. He could employ a Lawyer and may still have to travel anyway to give evidence. Expensive. Jac has the fact that when the photo was published, it had Melen’s name on it and had no intention of any deception, as the photo was in the public domain anyway. Second, and it gets complicated. Should Jac lose and my mate thinks it’s unlikely, he would have a County Court Judgement CCJ against him. Bad for Jac’s future credit. However, should Melen be a puppet of Labour, then whats to stop them coming back for more. ‘Dane Gelt, they always come back for more’. My mate recommends that a reasonable offer of about £25 would settle the matter. Should Melen want more then he would run a big risk and could lose a lot.
      Also re the racist leaflet, my mate who read Law in Uni but isn’t a lawyer and if he’s reading this a smart arse, asked if Jac had a ‘Crime or Incident number’ from North Wales Police? Also the name and number of the officer that he reported the issue to? Apparently it’s an offence for an officer not too have a number clearly shown and a receipt of anything given to the Police must be clearly logged, because evidence often goes missing.
      Hope this helps.

      1. Brychan

        An incident number will be generated when the report is made, and does not have to be a police officer that does this. It’s often a civilian employee taking the call, at the front desk or by electronic communication. A crime number (or numbers as there can be more than one crime arising from an incident, victims can be suspects and suspects can also be victims) is only generated when such an event is confirmed as a crime and it is generated by the appropriate police force.

        For example, a breach of public order will relate to Louise Hughes in Trawsfynydd and dealt with by North Wales Police. Incitement of racial hatred or recruitment to a proscribed organisation arising from the production of such material in the first place may lie elsewhere and would be recorded as a crime by the relevant police force that applies there. There are also instances where a number of incidents are consolidated to one criminal investigation, and criminal investigations can take place regardless of a specific victim, their cooperation or otherwise, if there is evidence that the crime has occurred.

        Classic example is woman being beaten in the street by a man. The woman may wish ‘not to press charges’, but a police officer can investigate the crime regardless. If the mans motives relate to a separate crime of possession with intent to supply, that charge can also be pursued, even if the victim, the battered woman, is oblivious to this further investigation.

      2. I have a full list of the different police officers involved but I removed names ranks and numbers from the documents I put up on the blog.

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