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Daily Mail apologies for nicking Reg content

All a big misunderstanding apparently

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Well, following the rip-off of one of our stories by the Keeper of Middle England's Morals, the Daily Mail, we've received a letter from the paper's managing editor Robin Esser apologising and offering to send us a cheque for £250.

The story - regarding the Labour party's Internet dirty tricks campaign in Wales - was written on 30 January and was basically reprinted under the political editor's byline (David Hughes) on 2 February.

We welcome the Mail's offer of £250 and so will the charity Shelter - we've asked the Mail to send the money to them. And if Mr Esser, or any other Mail executive, wishes to contact us regarding a content deal, Linus and Drew are always open to a chat.

Incidentally, the concurrent case regarding Mil Millington has also been settled for £1,600, but not before he was warned that a legal fight with the Mail would be expensive. Mil has given his own unique rundown of events here.

This then is the letter: ®

"Thank you for your letter of 2 February. I have spoken to Mr David Hughes about your concerns.

He tells me he has never heard of the Register! Obviously he is now alerted to your organisation and, should he find a story on your site, he will credit it, as it is our policy on the Mail to always try to give credit where credit is due.

Mr Hughes was first told about this story by his contacts on Wales on Sunday.

He then received an e-mail from a young member of our staff, with a full account of what was happening. This e-mail gave Mr Hughes the impression it was a copy of a contribution from a freelance journalist, and indeed he had no reason to think otherwise. He checked with Labour party officials, Plaid Cymru, Ms Helen Mary Jones and Wales on Sunday on the story.

Using indeed some of the phrases of what he imagined was a freelance's contribution, he filed the story you saw.

While I understand your worries about plagiarism and sympathise with them, I trust you agree with me that, in view of these circumstances it would not be right to accuse the Mail or Mr Hughes of knowingly and deliberately committing that particular professional crime.

Nevertheless may I suggest that we should pay you the fee we would normally pay for a full story such as this from a freelance.

I shall send you a cheque for £250 - presumably made out to "the Register" unless you tell me otherwise. I am sorry there has been this confusion at this end.

Yours sincerely,

Robin Esser
Executive Managing Editor"

Related Link

Mil's saga

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