Times ‘steals’ article from film director’s blog
What will Rupert Murdoch say, given his strong line on internet ‘parasites’?
Edgar Wright, the British director of cult films such as Shaun of the Dead and a long-time collaborator of actor Simon Pegg, is fuming after the Times reprinted chunks of his blogged tribute to the legendary British actor Edward Woodward who died this week, without his permission.
Woodward, star of The Wicker Man and The Equalizer, made one of his final big-screen appearances in Wright's 2007 comedy Hot Fuzz. After Woodward's death on Monday, Wright was moved to write a 1600-word tribute on his blog. In it he hailed Woodward, who played the lead in the late 1960s espionage series, Callan, as one of television's "most intense actors" and one of its "first real tough guys".
The following day, Wright was surprised to find a significant chunk of his tribute reprinted in the Times, complete with his byline and mugshot. Yet he insists his permission was never sought - and nor was he paid anything.
"Is it appropriate for a national newspaper to reprint my personal tribute to Edward Woodward as if it were an article written for them?" Wright tweeted last night. "They just lifted it from my blog without asking."
Whoever gave authority for the lifting of the piece, it was a bizarre decision given the Times proprietor's strong line on internet theft. Rupert Murdoch intends to make all his newspaper sites subscription in the near future, and has complained about news aggregator sites which, he says, are "parasites" who are "stealing" from him. He has also threatened legal action to try to block Google from running headlines and content from News Corp websites.
Wright was particularly upset by how the Times chose to edit his original blog. Among the "unsympathetic" cuts was an entire section about Wright's last meeting with the 79-year-old actor. The cuts "make me look ill-informed and unfeeling", Wright wrote on Twitter.
Wright insists he is not seeking any compensation for the article. "But an apology, a reprint of the full tribute and donation to Edward's memorial would be nice."
For its part, the Times has since reprinted the tribute in full on its website, with a link to Wright's original tribute. An editor's note stops short of an apology, simply stating: "We have been asked to make clear that this article appeared in the newspaper in an abridged version on Tuesday November 17." ·
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