I sent the following email to David Rawcliffe of Propaganda Photo Agency tonight.
I feel it’s important to warn all possible business associates of Mr Oldham and Koptalk of just what they might be getting into.
From: KT Insider
To: (Email addresses removed, but taken from Propaganda Photo Website)
Date: Jul 25, 2006 12:41 AM
Subject: Koptalk’s photographer – David Rawcliffe
I’ve emailed the “david@propaganda…” address on two separate occasions before this evening; I did not receive a reply on either occasion. I am sending this note to the other email addresses you supply on your site in the hope that at least one of the addresses will reach somebody willing to respond.
I and many others are currently contributing to a website where we are exposing some of the facts about Mr Duncan Oldham, owner of Koptalk, which he’d prefer others didn’t get to hear. The website can be reached at http://www.koptalk-insider.com, http://www.koptalksucks.com or http://www.koptalkinsider.wordpress.com .
In our previous emails to Propaganda, we asked whether you were doing business knowingly with Mr Oldham, or whether you were actually a victim of his constant copyright theft. It’s become increasingly clear that you are doing business with Oldham, as we’d suspected.
This is unfortunate.
What isn’t clear is how much you know about Oldham and why so many people are willing to put so much unpaid time into dealing with him. As someone who lives in Liverpool and makes money from Liverpool Football Club, we don’t feel you would want to do business with him if you did know everything about him.
First of all, please allow me to make one request – read the rest of this email with an open mind. This email is being published on the website at the same time as we send it to you, so we hope you will have the good grace to respond. That way the thousands of visitors each day to the website will get a chance to hear your side of the story.
I’ll write this note assuming you don’t know why our website was set up and why it gets such a high interest level.
Koptalk is run by someone who has had many allegations made against him. None of the allegations are particularly nice. Some are heavier than others. Some may not be considered particularly a problem by many.
The vast majority of Liverpool supporters, and indeed Liverpool Football Club itself, are aware of why he and his websites should not be viewed by Liverpool supporters.
1) Duncan Oldham and Koptalk support The Sun. Duncan Oldham admits he gets it delivered every day. He visits their website. He makes a point of telling his readers this. He publishes extracts of stories from it on his website most days. From time to a time a forum member will post an article from the Sun on the Koptalk website. If another member points out why this is wrong, Duncan will back the original member and indeed ridicule the member who had pointed out the error. His attitude towards the boycott of The Sun is that it no longer matters. He tries to persuade his own members that the boycott is no longer relevant. He uses many excuses to say why Koptalk wants its visitors to end their boycott of The Sun. As a result many overseas and younger supporters of Liverpool FC think The Sun is acceptable to Liverpool FC and its supporters. I assume you know all about the boycott. I assume you know that the boycott on The Sun is still in place. I hope you also back the boycott.
2) Duncan Oldham and Koptalk take money from Liverpool supporters that they can ill afford in return for something he actually does not deliver. He has claimed over many years to have regular meetings with Rick Parry. Rick Parry has never met him. He has claimed over many years to have access to Anfield, Melwood and the Academy. He has no such access. He has claimed over many years to be in the know about transfers, investment and many other aspects of life insider Anfield. In return he’s asked Liverpool supporters to give him up to £30 a year to access all the information he gets from these sources. In effect he’s stolen from Liverpool supporters, who in many cases genuinely believed he had real contacts at the club.
3) Duncan Oldham and Koptalk have collected all kinds of donations for charity over many years, in many cases asking for payments to be made to either Koptalk or a member of the Oldham family. Despite being asked many times for proof that the donations have indeed made their way to the intended recipient, Mr Oldham has chosen instead to keep this information to himself. He’s asked for money for his own family from time to time too, claiming he’s been in financial difficulties. Shortly afterwards he will be boasting about some expensive luxury he’s bought for himself. It may be a coincidence, it may all have a very good explanation, but Mr Oldham is yet to provide any evidence that he has acted honourably. Again, the implication is that he has stolen from Liverpool supporters.
4) Mr Oldham claims to employ his step-brother, seventeen-year-old Steven MacNeish, as his assistant at Koptalk. He claims not to pay Mr MacNeish a wage, instead paying him by providing benefits in kind. A similar arrangement exists with Mr Oldham’s mother, Jeanette. Mr MacNeish is claimed (by Mr Oldham) to work 19 hour days, 7 days a week. Although we doubt this is true, it is clear Mr MacNeish is prevented from either working for a wage or from studying at a further education establishment. Some current and former Koptalk members are in the process of contacting both the DWP and HMRC to see if he is not committing fraud.
5) Duncan Oldham and Koptalk have been carrying out the practise of stealing copyrighted content from elsewhere practically since the site first came to the internet. Oldham has taken content from other websites and reproduced it in full without asking for permission, and in many cases without crediting the original copyright owner. The reason your association with Oldham came to light was because he’d been stealing photographs from elsewhere for many years without acknowledging the source. The day he started to acknowledge you and your agency as a source stood out extremely clearly. He creates and publishes stolen clips of Premiership goals, sometimes when a game is in play, as part of the site he is paid £30 per year for. He does not have the rights to do this; he does not pay royalties for this. Even Liverpool Football Club’s official site is not legally entitled to do this.
6) Koptalk do not allow freedom of speech on their site. Koptalk do not allow users to ask questions about Koptalk. Not even simple, innocent constructive questions. Any use doing so will be banned from the site. No money is refunded, no warning is given.
7) Duncan Oldham has been taking deposits of £5 from Liverpool supporters since 2003 for a book which quite clearly is not likely to ever be published. He claims he’ll be printing 20,000 copies. He makes a lot of claims about his book. He said it would be finished this year fairly recently, now he says it will be “This season”. He intends to continue his habit of slurring Liverpool FC and its current and former players and staff. For some strange reason the information he has against other people can’t be published on the web, only in a book. I’m sure your knowledge of legal issues in the world of publishing are such that you’ll see the big flaw in this. http://www.anfieldexposed.com is his website to publicise this book and make his claims.
8) Duncan Oldham slurs Liverpool FC and its current and former players and officials. Recent claims include him stating he had taped evidence of Peter Crouch talking to The Sun. He said he would use this evidence to end Peter Crouch’s Liverpool career at a time of his choosing. He later claimed he’d only been joking. He certainly made no such claim when he was making his libellous comments and subsequent threats regarding Peter Crouch. He’s also claimed to have Rick Parry desperately waiting for Duncan Oldham to meet him. Many people took Duncan Oldham’s comments to suggest he had some form of blackmail in mind. When reading these comments in conjunction with some of Duncan Oldham’s claims on his “book” website it’s actually potentially quite damaging to Liverpool Football Club.
9) Duncan Oldham tells a lot of lies. Far too many to list in one email. The majority of his lies are designed to defend him from these allegations, to make more money for him, or to hurt others. That includes hurting Liverpool FC if it suits his agenda. You may well have been lied to yourself by Mr Oldham, it’s almost certain that you will have been. Whether it’s a lie about why he banned one of his paying customers from accessing the service they’ve paid for, or lying about knowing Sol Campbell is in a hotel waiting to sign for Liverpool, Oldham lies regularly. He literally lies himself in circles, contradicting his own lies. His previous tactic to avoid detection on this has been to delete the evidence from his own site, and to ban any member who admits to remembering the previous contradictory comments. The production of our new website means he’s not been able to remove the evidence. He’s even lied about his support of The Sun – he used a photo of himself wearing a promotional hat from The Sun at France 1998. He claimed when pulled up about this recently that he wore that hat because being from outside Merseyside, he hadn’t known about the boycott in 1998. We provided evidence that showed he did know about the boycott in 1998. He still refuses to explain that contradiction.
10) Mr Oldham has reportedly refused to pay past contributors to his website. He’s had professional writers producing articles for him, and agreed to pay them for their services. Those writers, including former Liverpool players, were not paid for their work. If you have agreed to provide services to Mr Oldham, and you expect to be paid for it, I suggest you demand payment in advance. You’ll not be paid in full if you allow him to pay after he’s made use of your photographs. If you try to let it be known that you’ve not been paid, and he follows his previous tactics to avoid paying for services, he’ll make efforts to discredit you with false allegations.
Time is ticking on as I write this, and rather than listing the rest of the reasons why you really should not be seen as an associate of Mr Oldham, I’ll stop at number ten in that list. If that hasn’t made you ask yourself some questions then I suggest you read the website. In it you’ll find out about his life as “Del Johnson”, a pirate Sky-card salesman and much more.
Mr Oldham is now claiming you are his photographer, or the Koptalk photographer. You will become known as “David Rawcliffe, Koptalk photographer”. Alternatively you will become known as “Propaganda – the Koptalk photo agency”. I doubt you would appreciate this, in light of the top ten list above.
Here’s what Mr Oldham said about you this evening.
On his “free” site he said this alongside some of your photographs: “Liverpool Football Club and adidas revealed their new kits today and pretty smart they are too! Although we’ve already covered the launch with links to the official club website, we thought that you may like to see a couple of snaps taken by our photographers.”
On his pay site, he said this: “I’ve been too busy to get as many on as I wanted… but anyway, just incase you missed them, here’s two shots our photographer took at today’s press conference/marketing launch of the new kit.
As stated previously, we’ll have press conferences covered this season. Independent websites are not allowed access but third parties working on our behalf – either directly or indirectly – are. There are conditions that we have to stick to if using images. During the next year we will shell out around £12,000 on images to use on the site. Further details will be announced in time for the new season.
Our friends in the national media will be dropping us snippets of info from Melwood etc during the season but they obviously have to look after their own interests first.”
I doubt this is how you saw things when you entered into business with Mr Oldham, but that’s how he sees it. And your association with Koptalk will gradually tar you with the same brush as him. Liverpool fans on the Internet will see your name and think of Koptalk. At the moment Liverpool fans see the Koptalk name and think “The Sun”. Liverpool fans see Duncan Oldham’s name and think of all kinds of unpleasantness.
Many readers have told us how they see people when they go to the game that they don’t see otherwise – and how they’ll be spreading the word about Koptalk to those people. Koptalk’s reputation has been made by Duncan Oldham but he’s tried very hard to hide it. Unfortunately for him those days are now gone.
If you speak to Duncan about this email (we’ll copy it to him too) he’ll no doubt speak of jealous rival websites and former banned members. I’m not banned from Koptalk, I am still a member, even if now solely for the purpose of investigating Mr Oldham. The website is not here for making any kind of money from Liverpool FC – we advertise every other Liverpool FC website we can think of to show former members of Koptalk that there are alternatives. We are a blog, not a rival website.
He may make allegations of threats he’s received to his family. Ask him for proof of this. Ask him for evidence. He’ll have none. None from this website anyway, we’ve been asking for proof of this for some time now.
In fact listen to the allegations he makes about this website when he tries to defend himself. They are the same allegations he’ll make about you if you try to get him to pay up for the services you’ve provided.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email, I don’t intend writing to you again without receiving a reply first. I’d like to hear your side of the story, but you have so far been unwilling. Others have spotted the link between you and Mr Oldham without my prompting.