Daily Mail publisher pays out £5k for using Oxford students' naked calendar pictures without permission

An Oxford University graduate has won a £5,000 payout from the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail Online after a four-year dispute over their use of naked student charity pictures.

Associated Newspapers settled out of court after being accused of publishing 12 pictures taken for the Oxford Blues Charity Naked Calendar 2014 without permission of the copyright holder.

The case was brought by Louis Geary, former vice president of the Oxford University RAG (Raise And Give) society.

Geary told Press Gazette he had commissioned the “artistic nude shots” of more than 75 elite student athletes to raise money for four charities through sales of the calendar back in 2013.

The images were taken by then student photographer Toby Mather who told the Daily Mail and Mail Online to take them down or make a “substantial payment” to the charities after all 12 images appeared online on 4 September, 2013, and three appeared in print the following day.

The pictures are understood to have been sent into the Mail by a news agency who believed they had permission to use them.

Geary said: “Letters to Associated Newspapers and to the news agency emphasised that neither organisation had the appropriate permission. But, Associated Newspapers stopped responding to the students’ letters and negotiations broke down.”

He eventually took the matter to the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) Small Claims Track at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Associated Newspapers settled in June, but declined to comment further. The news agency also settled, but for an undisclosed amount.

Geary has distributed the £5,000 payout among four charities: The Centre For Effective Altruism, The Oxford Food Bank, Students Supporting Street Kids and Streets Ahead Rwanda.

He said: “It’s been a huge learning experience, and a lot of hard work. The result is a relief and a success for the athletes and charities involved.”

Picture reproduced with permission of Louis Geary.