Some of you may have heard about a campaign to put up a statue of a woman in Manchester as currently, amidst a plethora of statues to men (mostly politicians, clergy and generals) there is only one, Queen Victoria.
I finally got round to looking at the website and was very surprised to see that in the section devoted to one of the nominees – the trade unionist Mary Quaile – an article I had written about Mary for the Radical Manchester website some years ago had been copied and pasted directly onto the website without my permission, an article I had been paid to write.
I contacted the company who had created the website (Instruct Sudio) and they referred me to Councillor Andrew Simcock, who it appeared was the driving force behind the campaign. I then sent him an email explaining that the article had been used without my permission and enclosing an invoice for £100 which I thought seemed reasonable.
Councillor Simcock replied and said that he would discuss my invoice on his return to Manchester (He was doing a sponsored bike ride to raise money for the statue project). On 7 July he sent me an email as follows, “I have updated the website to provide a link on the Mary Quaile page to your original 2009 article. It gives those interested the information on MQ and makes sure you receive the same credit for writing the article as you did previously.” I responded and said I would still like to be paid. We have since exchanged a number of emails in which I pointed that historians are like plumbers and hairdressers, they expect to be paid. I have not received a reply to my last email and have little expectation of being paid for my work.
It seeems that increasingly people see the internet as a free-zone from which you can take written work or photographs or video and not have to pay the creators of that work.
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