Daily Mail Australia has declined to pay a freelance journalist for republishing parts of her work under its reporters’ bylines, claiming “There is no copyright in an idea.”
Ginger Gorman, a freelance journalist, had two crucial investigations initially published by News Corp Australia and Fairfax Media rewritten by the Daily Mail website. Both two pieces do not contain any original reporting. Moreover, the Daily Mail piece does not credit or bear similarities with the original.
Gorman asked the Daily Mail editor-in-chief, Luke McIlveen for payment for its version of the storythat made it to the Sydney Morning Herald site and the other piece written initially for news.com.au.
“As you’ll appreciate, I’m a freelance journalist and I spend hundreds of hours on my investigations,” wrote Gorman, a former ABC journalist.
“It is unethical and possibly illegal for the Daily Mail to republish my work in this manner. In the first instance, your republication did great damage to the mental health of my interviewees.”
The Mail turned Gorman’s request down. However, they offered to pay $2,000 so they can remove one piece but keep the other.
“As you will be aware, there is no copyright in an idea,” said the Daily Mail assistant managing editor, Kimberley Brunt.
“Our journalists are free to follow articles in the media and, indeed, this practice is extremely common in the world of online journalism. Publication of [the internet troll story] does not in itself, therefore, amount to a breach of copyright.”
The Mail has apparently considered Gorman’s complaints as Brunt has offered to provide the original link to the trolling story and donate to a suicide helpline.
“Notwithstanding the above, we would be willing to include a link back to your article on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website should you wish,” she said.
“We are also willing to make a goodwill donation to the Suicide Call Back Service detailed at the end of your article as a gesture of goodwill and in recognition of the important work it does on the issue of trolling.”