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Has it never heard of copyright?

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The Daily Mail's blatant plagiarism of one of our articles is not a one-off. Just three days after the national newspaper passed off our piece of Labour's Internet dirty tricks as its own, sister paper the Mail on Sunday reprinted a funny piece on couples' arguments despite being told by its author that it couldn't.

The Mail contacted Mil Millington - one of the people behind satirical publication The Weekly - to ask if it could republish some content from his homepage regarding arguments that he has had with his girlfriend. The paper wanted to tie it in with the news that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were splitting up.

Mil said no - he didn't wanted his personal life reproduced in print - even though the Mail offered him £800. Nevertheless, large chunks of his content appeared in the paper, without any mention of Mil or any cheque in the post. Mil had been renamed Colin and his girlfriend Karen. The column was no more than a subbed-down version of his content and is a blatant breach of copyright.

Mil has since posted a message at the end of his piece saying he will no longer update it "when at any moment some tabloid editor can stroll by, copy it, claim it as his own, and stick it in his paper". He also alleges that the editor of the Review section, Jim Gillespie made it clear to him that any legal action against the Mail would prove very costly and that it has its own in-house lawyers. We understand that since Mil's case has been picked up by a few angry freelances, the Mail has offered £1,600 for reprinting the copy. Mil is currently incommunicado in Germany.

If you'd like to compare, check out the Mail on Sunday piece here and Mil's homepage here. Actually, we can strongly recommend Mil's site. He's a funny boy.

The question is though: does the Mail seem to think it is entitled to do what it likes with content published on the Internet. The copyright laws still exist in cyberspace. Mind you, the Mail is a certified luddite. Its pages are frequently filled with anti-Net ranting and its Managing Editor, Lawrence Sear, is too busy to have any email sent to him (at least that's what we were told when we called up to complain). The news desk doesn't like to give out an email address either - in case they get too many messages. Both Larry and the news boys prefer a fax. ®

Related Links

Mil's homespage
The Mail on Sunday article

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