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No U-turn

Vicky Taylor | 10:55 UK time, Friday, 17 November 2006

Just to set the record right, there has been no change in BBC policy with regard to paying for user generated content.

The "shock" headline on the Media Guardian yesterday suggesting the BBC had done a U-turn on its policy and was now set to pay for all this content coming in from members of the public to our TV, radio and online services is just not right. But I suppose a story saying the BBC had published guidelines for its journalists repeating existing policy in one area is not quite as attractive.

We do not in normal circumstances pay for user generated content. Nearly all the content we receive comes without a request for payment and is sent for entirely different reasons than making a profit. This includes the hundreds of pictures and videos we are sent each week - from pictures of people's travels all over the world to local news events like fires, crashes and demonstrations.

Of course it includes dramatic pictures of events like Buncefield and 7 July too. If we did get a unique piece of news content, as an example, Concorde crashing, we would under our normal newsgathering criteria pay for that. We've always done that and continue to do so.

As a publicly funded organisation we are in a different position from the other media organisations asking for this content - would those who pay for our services be happy for us to give £100 each to each person who takes a picture for Your perspective on the world, when people are happy to send them for free? We showcase hundreds of pictures from the public a week (mainly online but also on News 24 on occasion) and hundreds of thousands of people see them. For those who send and those who view, it's a process which doesn't have to involve money.


  • 1.
  • At 06:26 AM on 18 Nov 2006,
  • Robert wrote:

For many years I earned my living as a freelance journalist and photographer. Several times in the last couple of years I have been approached by BBC staff (most recently a producer on a children's show). They ask to use my photographs and it is very clear that they have no intention of paying. As soon as a fee is mentioned, I hear no more (often after I have spent time finding files for them, sending emails etc).

So it is not just a matter of the BBC not paying for images from members of the public. Producers are trawling the web and approaching people in an attempt to avoid paying a professional.

I wonder, how does this fit with the BBC's remit to encourage creativity in this country? I know several very good young photographers who cannot earn a living.

I will be surprised if you publish this.

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