In which the Whingers support 100% the Royal Opera House clamping down on copyright infringement

Friday 10 September 2010

We would like to make it clear how important it is not to use a Royal Opera House copyrighted picture such as this one…

… without permission. They quite rightly get very upset.

We feel it our duty to point out that this kind of flagrant abuse of copyright is tantamount to theft. The images are the copyright of the ROH and they alone are entitled to determine if and how they are used. These images are for the sole purpose of sending out to the press willy nilly in the hope of some free publicity.

So if you are thinking of putting an image like this…

… on your website, please think again as you are doing untold financial damage to the Royal Opera House which this year has to struggle along with only £28,294,806 of public money from the Arts Council of England.

As a respected opera blogger like intermezzo you may think the publicity you generate and the business you send in the direction of the Royal Opera House is of more value to them than the filching of a couple of pictures to illustrate your posts about their productions but Mr George Avory, Head of Legal & Business Affairs at the Royal Opera House will put you straight on that.

He has quite rightly sent threatening emails to Intermezzo pointing out her evil, wanton criminality and making threats to ensure that the ROH gets its pound of flesh: “Within the next twenty four hours from the date/time of this email, the Royal Opera House will inform your website hosting company of this situation and will consider appropriate action to protect our valuable copyright”.

To be honest, we think that hanging would be too good for intermezzo. Broken Britain we say.

In fact, close the whole Internet down, especially Twitter which is a-buzz with the story. Tear it all down now and stamp out this stupid Streisand Effect.

Please show your support for the Royal Opera House at this difficult time by contacting them. Or you email Mr Avory at

16 Responses to “In which the Whingers support 100% the Royal Opera House clamping down on copyright infringement”

  1. Glen Says:

    I think that as it’s likely to be a trademark, any mention of the ROH should also be resisted.

    Perhaps in future any bloggers should just refer to the esteemed organisation as ‘the £28million piggy bank in Covent Garden’ 🙂

  2. Dan Says:

    You folks need to be careful when talking about *EXPLETIVE DELETED*.

    *EXPLETIVE DELETED* have a highly-trained army of legal chimps in cages, and should the name *EXPLETIVE DELETED* (or it’s more common abbreviation *EXPLETIVE DELETED*) be used in the public domain without their consent, then *EXPLETIVE DELETED* and their legal representitives will shut your blog down quicker than you can say “*EXPLETIVE DELETED* can go *EXPLETIVE DELETED* themselves”.

  3. Lord Andrew Lloyds Slipper Sniffer Says:

    I’ve taken the trouble to email Mr Avory with my (obviously unrepeatable) opinion of his wise action. I siuspect this story might grow and grow. I do hope so.

  4. Chad Says:

    Perhaps the Company Which Shall Not Be Named should WATERMARK photos in any event?

    Just an idea… from the 80s!

  5. Lucy Says:

    I For safety’s sake I suggest that you:

    a) use no images whose copyright is owned by the above named “£28 million piggy bank in Covent Garden”
    b) under no circumstances refer to any previous name by which said organisation may have been known
    c) Avoid mentioning the following associates of the £28 million piggy bank in Covent Garden:
    Titles of any productions
    Names of and performers, composers, conductors, chorus masters, set designers, sound designers or choreographers – who will presumably want to vet anything that is said about them and will certainly not want any unsanctioned (free) publicity
    d) in fact actually, you may wish not to mention Covent Garden unless anyone reading a review inadvertently locates an unillustrated, unnamed, uncredited production
    e) on no account mention any exorbitantly priced, merchandising, catering, restaurant or bar facilities or products at the £28 million piggy bank

    Credit where credit’s due of course, but this is surely cutting off one’s patrician nose while pretending to have a plebeian face.

  6. Jane Ennis Says:

    And never go to *organisation which must not be named* again….

  7. Christopher Woodward Says:

    just sent him this

    Dear Mr Avory

    I a keen member of the ROH audience, even if I can’t afford the programmes and can only afford the stall circle standing places.

    I’ve just been mailed and have read the very witty report by the West End Whingers about your hounding of ‘s useful web site. You clearly should read up on the concept of ‘fair use’ before launching your legal big guns. Haven’t you anything better to do with your time?

    You should remember that taxpayers are providing your salary and that no one likes a bully.

    Christopher Woodward

  8. Christopher Woodward Says:

    Correction: “I am …

  9. Paul Says:

    Removing the ROH arts council money would be a great way of administering the arts budgets contribution to the financial cutbacks. Does it really deserve that much public money? Does it reach the sort of audience which needs that help?

    I like a lot of opera but I know that it’s a financial folly and it needs to be more prepared to stand for itself.

    • Paulinlondon Says:

      Well done to the Royal Opera House for nipping this in the bud so soon… Although I dare not take any photographs anywhere near the building when I’m there this Sunday… Who needs their head of legal breathing down your blog…

  10. Plain Speaker Says:

    “Against that backdrop, perhaps it’s not surprising that I can find no trace of George Avory in the Law Society’s solicitor search or the Bar Directory.

    “And then there’s this. (ht Samuel) It seems that the people operating the RHO’s Twitter account are quite keen to receive photographs visitors have taken inside the RHO; presumably so they can demand the copyright, Mr. Avory?”

    See what’s happened to

    George Avory on Facebook

    George Avory on Linkedin

    Who is George Avory?

    This may make a good opera …

  11. Statler Says:

    Got to love the irony of this… The Guardian Theatre Blog has a post on the disput and uses it to illustrate wider poor treatment/understanding of social media by arts organisations (and also includes references to some examples involving your good selves).

    I posted a comment suggesting it was perhaps unfair to make such a generalisation and proceeded to give some examples from personal experience of artists and organisations actively engaging with social media sites/groups. And they deleted my post (I have genuinely no idea why). And they deleted my follow-up post which noted the irony of my post being deleted. And they deleted me again when I reposted my original comment (having scrutinised it for anything offensive). And now they have set me to pre-moderation for the site. Brilliant!

  12. Stevie Says:

    1. people have to justify their position.
    2. lawyers love blasting off threatening letters, at £200+ a time. It pays their children’s school fees and alimony payments.
    3. the yanks have got the whole World obsessive about intellectual property and are trying the copyright the individual letters of the latin alphabet.

  13. Choreokino Says:

    Guardian deleted a post I made about the dire situation at The Royal Debacle…er Ballet the other day as well. hmmmmmm?

  14. […] glass of red wine to the West End Whingers for the […]

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