The Sussex, England police are trying to suppress publication of images from speed cameras — images that show technical shortcomings in the cameras — by claiming that they are copyrighted. Copyright is meant to protect creativity; I'm not sure who the aggrieved artist is meant to be here. Is there some tortured constable who spent hours on a ladder getting the composition of the camera's shots just right?
"It has been brought to our attention that the photographs from the Gatso camera, produced for your recent court case, have been published on TheNewspaper.com website," Sussex Police Solicitor Alexandra Karrouze wrote to Barker in a June 28 letter. "The content of these photographs are the property of Sussex Police and publication of them is a breach of copyright. They should be removed from the website forthwith. If they are not removed further action may be contemplated."
Sussex Police did not send any copyright notice to TheNewspaper, nor did Karrouze respond to requests for clarification and comment. The agency became particularly upset with Barker in May after he threatened legal action against the Sussex Speed Camera Partnership for insisting that he had been speeding even after his court acquittal. The agency had no choice but to issue a swift apology.
"The partnership accept that such an assertion should not have been made and have apologized unreservedly to Mr Barker for this error," the partnership said in a statement.
Barker believes that the local council and police do not want motorists to know that a time-distance calculation can be performed on the images to check the vehicle's speed against the radar reading. A difference of more than ten percent between the two figures renders the machine's speed estimate "unreliable" under UK guidelines.