BBC to take action over use of Tattoo footage on BNP site
Sunday Herald by Jasper Hamill | Sunday, 8 March 2009 | Click here for original article
Edinburgh organisers ‘appalled’ by use of their event in right-wing advert
THE BRITISH National Party is illegally using BBC footage of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo to promote its agenda among young people.
BBC lawyers have announced that they will be writing to the party demanding the footage be taken off BNPtv, its online television channel.
The film appears on the Youth BNP site, and shows several pipe bands marching at the Tattoo, including some that are not even British.
A member of one of the bands that features in the film said he was angered that their identity had been commandeered to serve a political purpose.
Justifying their use of the copyrighted material, the BNP said it had "history" with the corporation, which famously sneaked hidden cameras into one of their meetings two years ago.
The Sunday Herald brought the issue to the attention of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo organisers, who then prompted the BBC to take action.
A spokesman from the Tattoo said, in a guarded statement: "The matter has, we understand, been referred to the BBC's intellectual property lawyers in London. Clearance has not been obtained from either the BBC or the Tattoo for the use of the footage in question and it looks like a possible breach of copyright."
But an insider at the Tattoo revealed that organisers were "appalled" by the use of the footage.
He said: "We're not happy that this footage has appeared on their website. The Edinburgh Tattoo has no connection with the BNP and we have no wish to be associated with them."
The giveaway that the film was under copyright was the use of a Steadicam, a camera used only by professionals. The BBC recognised the footage as their own and passed the matter on to their intellectual property department, who will take further action next week.
A BBC spokesman said: "Due to the growth of the internet, it is very difficult for the BBC to police all use of its material online. The BNP's broadcast of the Military Tattoo is not licensed by the BBC and we are contacting them to request its immediate removal."
The Scottish Trades Union Congress pointed out that the BNP had "shot itself in the foot", as the Military Tattoo was an event that was attended by a cosmopolitan group of troops and spectators from many different countries.
Ian Tasker, assistant secretary of the STUC, said: "We would not be happy with the Military Tattoo being used to promote the narrow-minded agenda of the British National Party. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo, albeit a display of militarism, propagates the sort of cross-cultural message that the BNP absolutely detests. We wonder what the message they are trying to get across is."
The bands shown in the film include corps from Australia and New Zealand, who marched alongside military bands like the Black Watch as well as university groups.
The Aberdeen University Officers' Training Corp was one of those bands and regimental sergeant-major Angus Steele said: "The BNP have hijacked our identity. It's quite concerning."
Simon Darby, spokesman for the BNP, argued that the British National Party had every right to use the footage.
He called the BBC and Edinburgh Military Tattoo's reaction "totally pathetic" and said: "We're not going to get intimidated by the politically correct brigade just for having images up on BNPtv of a spectacular event and part of our culture that we're proud of.
"It is much ado about nothing because, remember, this is the BBC that tried to smuggle hidden cameras into our meetings and then tried to get us locked up for seven years. I notice they didn't ask for permission to film us."
Searchlight says:It seems Simon Darby cannot tell the difference between a standard investigative journalism technique of using a hidden camera to film a matter of public interest, and hijacking a much-loved cultural event to serve the purpose of a political party that most participants and spectators at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo consider repugnant.