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Football Photographers Fightback After Being Stripped of Copyright

Local sports photographers have been left outraged after being told they cannot sell their own images without permission of the Isthmian League.

Snappers have been ordered to request written permission and pay a fee if they want to get paid for their work, according to the application form.

The form is filled out by all photographers requiring much-needed pitch access and many believe this is the wrong move from the governing body.

Local photographer Alex Pratley believes there is an imbalance of reward between the people behind the camera and the Isthmian League.

“A lot of exposure for non-league clubs comes from local media. To force photographers to pay to give their images away for free to local papers to do nothing other that promote their local team is just plain wrong.

“In 3 years of doing this for my local club I have made £30 and the league would like me to give them some of this. It is beyond a joke.”

With many positions pitch side noted as voluntary roles, the cost incurred by those willing are in the thousands with little reward.

Geoff Smith, who has worked across multiple sports, argues the National League set a better example.

“It’s been done by amateurs who should have taken a look at say Vanarama, they probably thought it was a good way to make money.

“I’d never give up my copyright nor should any photographer.”

With the recent outcry, the Isthmian League have stated they ‘need to revisit the accreditation scheme’.

“We now realise that some of the clauses on the application form are being interpreted in a way they were not meant, particularly that around copyright.

“It is not, and has never been, our intention to make life difficult for those who give up their time in the promotion of our League.”

A further statement is expected from the league to clarify their position on copyright and announce any alterations they have made.

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