The National Association of Press Agencies has celebrated victory in a two-year-legal battle with Hello Magazine centring around the copyright over some wedding photos. It has revealed that one of its members took Hello to court over an unpaid invoice using the agency's lawyers, Chester-based Law Hound.
The disputed pictures were of the wedding of PR millionaire Anthony Bailey to Princess Marie-Therese von Hohenberg in Salzburg and were offered to Hello as an exclusive, NAPA said.
Law Hound media lawyer Sue Edwards said: "The photo agency advised us that they had agreed to do the wedding photographs for free for the Austrian side of the family in exchange for the right to sell the photographs. The photo agency then explained that after the wedding a set of prints were given to the family - but these were then handed over to Hello by Mr Bailey himself, who offered them for free in exchange for an approved text being used in the magazine."
Law Hound successfully argued that copyright for the photos lay with the photographer and that Hello therefore had to pay up. NAPA spokesman Chris Johnson said: "NAPA members are not in the business of taking our clients to court, but sometimes there is no other way. In this case Hello simply did not accept that they had to pay the photographer for his work, and there was no other choice.
"NAPA is pleased that we can offer this service to members. Although we do not take action on members' behalf, we provide access to a top legal team and it's up to member agencies to decide if they want to contact the lawyers directly and engage their services.
"There are several cases pending - obviously legal action is something that should be avoided but if it has to happen we don't want a situation where at the end of it, all of the money gained goes on the court action."
Dominic Ponsford is editor of the Press Gazette.