Drowned In Sound cries foul over Mail’s rework of its Macca chat

By | Published on Tuesday 12 June 2012

Paul McCartney

Drowned In Sound founder Sean Adams has accused the Daily Mail, and other newspapers, of twisting quotes from an interview he published with Paul McCartney to create a news story that wasn’t there, and in many cases not crediting his site.

The Daily Mail story took quotes from the Drowned In Sound interview that was published on 28 May. In the Mail’s version, McCartney admits to turning to the bottle after the collapse of The Beatles in 1970, and that his drinking left him unable to write new songs. But, Adams said via Facebook, “at no point does he say he had any problem writing. Quite the opposite, in fact”.

Confirming he was now consulting lawyers on the matter, Adams wrote on Facebook on Monday: “Consulting lawyers and entering into legal proceedings against The Daily Mail… this is an odd start to the week … [The] Mail publisheda significant chunk of an interview we ran, re-presenting what was said massively out of content. Might have to do the same with The Sun, Yahoo and The Express too, who’ve also taken quotes from our Paul McCartney interview massively out of context and not even bothered to attribute the source”.

He added: “It’s not the first time something like this has happened, but it’s certainly one of the most brazen and misleading, not to mention the huge percentage of our editorial that has been re-run. I honestly can’t believe some of these places re-reporting the story with no attribution to the source – a lot of which is literally just copy-pasting the original, and a lot of the 400+ results on Google News just seem to be pulling in an RSS feed. The internet is a grotesque place”.

Of course publications lift quotes from other publications all the time – we just did it there – though journalistic etiquette says you credit the source, and many online publications now routinely link back to the original article, helping the source build traffic and score better on search engines.

But, of course, aside from the etiquette code, which, it has to be said, the tabloids routinely ignore (though chiefly so they don’t have to credit their direct rivals too often), there is possibly a copyright element to unattributed quotes too if they form too much of a finished article. And there may even be a moral rights issue if a distortion of the quotes could be deemed a “derogatory treatment” of the original work. Though these are all very grey areas of the law and it remains to be seen how this dispute pans out.