On 16 October 2009, freelance
photographer Alan Grisbrook working for MGN won court case over copyright
infringement by publisher MGN Ltd.
In 1998, Mr Grisbrook had already
attempted to sue MGN Ltd for the unlicensed use of his pictures after he
stopped working for the Daily Mirror. In 2002, they ended the dispute by
signing a Consent Order, whereby MGN undertook, amongst other things, to return
all physical copies of the images and to delete all electronic copies from
their systems. In the 2002 Consent Order, Mr Grisbrook expressly reserved his
rights to take legal action against MGN for future infringements of his
In 2008, Mr Grisbrook found that
the publisher MGN Ltd of Daily Mirror has kept the back copies of his images.
MGN Ltd had made available copies of his images to customers through
various archives websites when Mr Grisbrook was not informed , nor compensated
for the permission of such use.
Mr Grisbrook alleged that, by
storing the images electronically and communicating them to the public, MGN Ltd. was infringing his copyright and was breaching the 2002
The court found that on the facts
the licence granted by Mr Grisbrook did not allow MGN Ltd. to publish the
images on the websites becausethis form of commercial exploitation had
simply not been in the contemplation of the parties at the time the licence was
granted and because this term was not otherwise necessary. MGN Ltd had
therefore infringed Mr Grisbrook's copyright in the images.