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Freedom to Fail

Freedom Press facing bankruptcy after being forced to settle copyright claim out of court

Freedom Press – the publishers of the U.Ks only regular anarchist (well anarchist with a capital A) newspaper are in danger of folding after having to settle a copyright claim out of court with a freelance photographer.

As well as the newspaper, Freedom run a bookshop and a publishing wing as well as providing office space on their premises for a number of radical organisations, including SolFed, Advisory Service for Squatters and Corporate Watch. Like the rest of the movement they are woefully under-resourced.

David Hoffman, the photographer, took exception to the fact that a number of his shots from the 80s and 90s were used in the book 'Beating the Fascists' – Red Action's rather one-sided account of the success of Anti Fascist Action. One photo was used as the cover shot.

Freedom are adamant that they weren't aware that the photos, supplied by the authors, were being used without permission. However as they told SchNEWS "legally we didn't have a leg to stand on". So they settled out of court for £4,000, leaving them virtually cleared out.

What is more of a mystery is why an allegedly sympathetic photojournalist would try to bankrupt an organisation like Freedom. Hoffman has form for this – going after a drugs charity earlier this year won him £10,000. It's not clear that he'll ever be paid as the charity (D.A.R.E.) went bust shortly after.

In response to the crisis and in an effort to rescue the paper – Freedom have called an emergency meeting Sunday, August 12th from 3pm at the London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES.

David Hoffmann
There are 10 comments on this story...
Added By: Jim Thatcher - 3rd August 2012 @ 9:22 AM
Added By: James Thatcher - 3rd August 2012 @ 8:23 PM
Continued from my previous comment.... After digging a bit deeper, there are many facts that are not printed in the published article that should be shared with readers. One being why did FP the oldest Anarchist publishers in Britain not simply pay Mr Hoffman for his images that were used before court proceedings were issued ? its not like their new to publishing !.... don't the FP collective make the decisions to go to print and surely there's a responsibility to pay the workers, who at times risk their lives to take these images.
Added By: Jo Makepeace - 4th August 2012 @ 10:30 AM
It's that activist/journalist divide. Many straddle it but in the end you have to come down on one side of the fence or the other.
Added By: sue thompson - 5th August 2012 @ 2:40 PM
Well put, Jo. One of those 'Which side are you on?' times, likely to bring back that old suspicion of folk with fancy cameras on actions and demos- which isn't a bad thing. No-one needs a camera at an action unless they're fitwatch. Folk at actions and demos can decide themselves how/if they want to document what they're doing, and hopefully DIY if they want it documented, no need to have third parties doing it.
Added By: Aaran Aardvark - 8th August 2012 @ 8:27 AM
I think Hoffmann is a pathetic turd
Added By: Cal - 8th August 2012 @ 11:49 AM
He should be suing the big players, not the small ones trying to make a difference.
Added By: thinker - 8th August 2012 @ 5:32 PM

Maybe ask him nicely if he would reconsider?

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Added By: Tony - 9th August 2012 @ 2:33 AM
"...turning rebellion into money"
Added By: Anonymous - 9th August 2012 @ 8:42 PM
I think you're all forgetting something. He, like the rest of us, needs to make money to stay alive. No money means no food, no house, etc. etc. You all understand that right?
Added By: We all need money to live lol - 3rd September 2012 @ 5:16 PM
Perhaps Mr Hoffman ought to pay monies owed to the militant anti fascists whose protection he was provided in order to carry out some of his 'work' whom he now appears to be screwing into the ground. He was only able to carry out his 'work' with the collaboration of these people, all of whom were volunteers to the cause. Total parasite leeching off the movement like this.
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