Cash Call

Sixteen months ago, I wrote a story.

It was a nice little story, with some good quotes from the main player. I sold it to a provincial paper.

I posted the story on my website. Thanks to the vagaries of thesub editing process, what appeared on the website was different to what appeared in print. Among other things, quotes that appeared online didn’t make it into print.

Then, a few days later, the same story appeared in another newspaper. Not only that, but the story appeared with some of the quotes from my website.

There is no crime of plagiarism in Irish law. But there is the Copyright Act 2000. I sent off an invoice. I got a phone call in response, but no payment. I persisted, sending followup statements. I started charging interest.

Last month, Dermot Ahern changed how the Small Claims Court works. I considered legal action. Last week, I found out the email of the financial controller, and copied a statement to him.

Maybe it was the statement, maybe the fact I spoke to several people about legal action and word got back, but whatever the reason, yesterday I got paid.

Sometimes, it’s worth hanging in there.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.