An email from a photographer

On the day after my mother died I received this email:

 Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 6:43 PM

From:John Chapman <[email protected]>
To: Cameron Slater
Cc: Rob Webber <[email protected]>, John Chapman <[email protected]>

Dear Mr Slater,

It has been drawn to my attention that you have published one of my images from the June 2012 TVNZ7 Funeral March on your Whale oil blog. The picture in question shows Labour MP Clare Curran in conversation with Kim Dotcom. My permission was not sought for publication nor a fee paid. As the author and copyright holder of the image I reserve the right to both charge a fee for usage and to decide how and when that image is used.

Accordingly I enclose an invoice for breach of my copyright and a screenshot taken today 29.09.12 demonstrating usage by you. In addition I must insist that the image is taken down from your website within 24 hour of receiving this email and that no further usage of my copyright material takes place. Failure to do so will result in an increased fee. A failure to settle the amount owing within 30 days will result in court action to recover the amount owing plus any costs incurred in enforcing collection.


John Chapman

I was in no mood that day to brook nonsense so basically told him to get stuffed. It is fair to say that I didn’t cover myself in glory with my reply. Then yesterday I received another email.

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 1:42 PM

From: John Chapman <[email protected]>
To: Whaleoil
Cc: Rob Webber <[email protected]>


Dear Mr Slater,

Thank you for your response dated 29.09.12. I am sorry to hear of you loss – not being a reader of your blog nor one of your friends on Facebook I was unaware of your mother’s passing. Not wishing to intrude on your grief further I felt it appropriate to leave the matter rest for two weeks so as not bring further distraction in what must be a very difficult time for you. That said you will recall from my previous correspondence, I requested that you take down the image in question within 24 hours. You responded by saying you would replace it with, my and I quote “fuckwitted letter.” That does not appear to have happened and as you will see from the enclosed screenshot the image is still up on your Whaleoil site. I also indicated that further charges would be made if the image was not taken down. Accordingly I’m enclosing an invoice for a further $250.00 to cover the cost of additional reproduction fees since the 29.09.12.

Once again as copyright holder I must insist the image is taken down within 24 hours. Should you again fail to do so I will be issuing a further invoice for reproduction fees for the image in question. I stated in my earlier correspondence that I would be taking proceedings for recovery should settlement not be forthcoming within 30 days. That period now has less than 14 days to run. Should you choose not to settle I will make good my notice of action.

Lastly, in your previous correspondence you made a number of threats to my person which I have put down to your grief over your mother’s passing. However any further threats of violence from you will be reported to the police as a matter of course. As you may be aware I have been a photojournalist now for over 35 years and have found myself covering conflicts in places such as Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq. As you can imagine given my past experiences, being called an “unctuous twat” isn’t going to dissuade me from pursuing the theft of my images in the courts should it prove necessary..


John Chapman

Now this is the same John Chapman who covers his Facebook page in all manner of left wing cant, and various other left wing causes, and is friends with Labour and Green MPs. His is demonstrably leftwing in attitude and leftwing in belief.  He is friends with David Cunliffe, Cathy Casey, the flea lawyer from the Wairarapa and former Labour candidate Michael Bott, friends also with Lynn Prentice…make no mistake this is politically motivated and coincides with a personal approach from an MP the same day which is very coincidental.

I did point out to Mr John Chapman that being an abusive and aggressive arse wasn’t a winning proposition. Considering his friends though there is little doubt that is just a political ploy.

However, in the interests of settling this matter I am prepared to enter into a revenue sharing proposition. $250 seems a bit over the top, but I understand that he is concerned that I may be making money off of his photography while he misses out.

This image was originally published in July 2012 on my blog. In the interests of transparency here is a screenshot from my stats package, showing the views of that post.

As you can see a total of 929 views of the post have been made. In July there were 673,998 views of my blog and I also was paid $251.31 from Adsense. Again in the interests of transparency I show the screenshot from Adsense below:

Therefore a “view” in July, which is when most people viewed the post, is worth $0.000372.

The 929 total views on that post are worth $0.3463. It seems fair though to pass on all the revenue from the views of the post since it relied on Mr John Chapman’s work…all be it in a satirical and arguably fair use manner.

It also seems fair to round up too, so I will pay the entire revenue of $0.35 to Mr John Chapman.

I don’t really want to waste $0.70 on a stamp, plus I can’t find my cheque book, so I have paid Mr John Chapman direct. That should settle things. NFWAB.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.