Hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case. Thievery is the act or practise of stealing or thieving. Both of these actions are routinely practised by Wings Over Scotland. AhDinnaeKen presents a special feature length story on why Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland is a thieving hypocrite who needs brought to book by the Scottish press:
By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe
IN 2004 Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland decided to take his ex-employer to court for copyright infringement.
Campbell claimed that Future Publishing owed him more than a quarter of a million pounds for infringing his intellectual property rights.
Finding himself blacklisted by the company, he embarked on a mostly inept self documented attempt at repatriating some of the monies he believed the company owed him.
He also wrote a vanity blog covering some of the more tediously pedantic month to month correspondence between himself and Future’s lawyers.
He recently deleted the blog, entitled “Operation Apocalypse – A tale of British justice”, for reasons undeclared.
When someone doesn’t want you to know something therein lies a news story.
As the deleted blog relates, Campbell chose to represent himself against Future Publishing – archetypally proving the old adage/cliche that “a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client”.
Future Publishing, at the time, was a multi-million pound publishing company with an impressive, though dwindling, portfolio of computer/video game magazines.
Campbell had almost achieved editorship of one of those magazines, Amiga Power, when his nastier side came to the fore. It earned him a severe rebuke and censure from the public at large; his work colleagues; and Future’s senior management.
Campbell had written on the contents pages of Amiga Power, “Old soldiers, I wish them all dead.”
This outburst of mean spirited and childish petulance was to become the hallmark of Campbell’s peculiar brand of narcissistic pathology from thereon in.
The background to the “old soldiers” comment may have contained the seed of what was to become Campbell’s pathological and increasingly obsessive vengeful hatred of Future Publishing.
The then Managing Director of Future, Greg Ingham, had been contacted by the Royal British Legion objecting to Amiga Power’s planned front cover depicting a poppy.
The cover image was an iconic poppy, the same image intended to be used for the promotion of an Amiga computer game – Cannon Fodder.
“War has never been so much fun” ran Cannon Fodder’s strapline.
Both the game and the magazine’s release in the shops were planned to coincide with Remembrance day.
The Royal British Legion had been alerted to this future event and publicly objected in the strongest possible terms. They considered it disrespectful to the war dead.
Ingham who, up till then, appears to have been one of Campbell’s fans said: “I’d tell just about anyone trying to interfere with our magazines to f**k off, but not the Royal British Legion.”
An executive decision was made and the cover was duly pulled and replaced (sound familiar?). The Cannon Fodder game publishers also found a substitute for the iconic poppy illustration.
Campbell, in a fit of hysterical and spiteful pique wrote the old soldiers epithet which earned him a severe rebuke from his employers, lost him the trust of his magazine colleagues and saw him doorstepped by the Daily Star newspaper.
The red top also demanded an explanation for another of Campbell’s toxic magazine comments where he likened the Royal British Legion to “conscientious objectors“.
Cue much wailing, tantrum throwing, gnashing of teeth and crybaby behaviour from the diminutive demagogue which ultimately witnessed him leaving Future Publishing to join Cannon Fodder’s creators, Sensible Software.
His writings however were still routinely commissioned on a freelance basis by Future editors.
Then, in 1998, following a hold up in payment for a 20 page feature he had written for Future’s ‘Edge’ Magazine, Campbell overplayed his hand.
After taking the company to the small claims court and winning, he set the bailiffs on them for non-payment of the monies owed.
The rights and wrongs of the action are moot, but the consequences were highly predictable.
Campbell found himself blacklisted by the company, resulting in him being virtually unemployable in the specialist geeky sphere of ‘videogame journalism’.
Plotting venegance on his ex-employers for such an affront to his ego and livelihood, Future presented him with a fait accompli circa 1999.
The company had included some of Campbell’s work on a series of cover mounted CDs for PC Gamer magazine.
According to Campbell, this “copyright infringement” amounted to a total of around a quarter of a million pounds in unpaid fees.
In a piece entitled ‘Operation Apocalypse’ Campbell wrote: “I also discovered that Future had been illegally reprinting some of my earlier work for PC Gamer on the magazine’s website.”
Campbell yet again took the company to the small claims court for the website infringement and won.
After approximately two years from 2004 – 2006 Campbell obsessively reported on how terrible and downright evil Future were and equally polemicised on how certain he was that his righteous crusade would achieve a positive outcome.
Sounds familiar again, doesn’t it?
After protracted to-ing and fro-ing of correspondence with Future’s lawyers, he was eventually offered a £10,000 out of court settlement.
Such a piffling amount was considered an insult to his precious and greedy ego and he pressed on with his case.
It’s worth noting again that, throughout, Campbell was representing himself. What this says about his hubris/arrogance/intelligence tells you all you need to know: Ecce homophobe. Or something.
His means at this time must have been severely diminished and it appears that the only regular source of income he could secure was working for Imagine Publishing’s Retro Gamer magazine.
There’s a degree of speculation regarding Campbell’s employment status during and after this period. He clearly wasn’t a charity. Though he may have been a charitable case.
He may, indeed, have been a Jobseeker signing on at Bath Job centre.
There’s no shame in that if he was. Worklessness happens to just about everyone from time to time. Even ‘tribune’ egos like Campbell’s.
What would be shameful though would be claiming benefits while knowingly engaging in undeclared freelance work.
AhDinnaeKen contacted Imagine Publishing to see if they could shed some light on the speculation.
No one spoken to would, or could, confirm or deny the company had ever been contacted by the DWP concerning Campbell’s employment status.
Maybe Campbell, if he was feeling ‘charitable’, could clear that up – for the sake of clarity if nothing else.
Don’t hold your breath though.
If recent comments by Campbell concerning his former employer cum client Imagine Publishing and Retro Gamer magazine are anything to go by, it’s fairly safe to assume they don’t have a working relationship anymore.
Following a geeky ‘professional video game journalist’ argument in 2012 concerning which computer – the Commodore 64 or the ZX Spectrum – was the best, Campbell said of the magazine’s Commodore 64 verdict: “Last month’s Retro Gamer reached a similar conclusion for much the same set of spastic-faced reasons. (“Whine bleat SID chip wah wah wah.”).
“But fuck all of them, because they’re all cunts and they can suck our dicks.”
Campbell certainly seemed reticent to confirm what status Wings Over Scotland currently has when questioned by Guardian journalist Severin Carrell recently.
Carrell revealed that Campbell had agreed a contract with advertising agency Primesight – through the Echosign process – which categorised Wings Over Scotland as a “charity”.
If Campbell hadn’t agreed to this, the political propaganda posters advertising his Nationalist Front website, would never have made it on to the Glasgow underground.
The “charity” status ensured the alleged ads weren’t vetted to Primesight’s usual standard – though it’s worth noting that Primesight took the hit for the slip up and Campbell got his money back.
If the last few paragraphs have seemed like a bit of diversion, stay with it, the issues discussed are important to the conclusion of this story.
Campbell lost his court case with Future.
More than six years of whining, moaning and tediously dull bitching was resolved in a matter of minutes in court.
It left Campbell “shellshocked” and liable for legal costs of approximately thirty thousand, potentially bankrupting, pounds sterling.
Campbell’s argument was thrown out by the judge due to numerous “procedural errors” made by the ‘professional journalist’ during the pursuit of the case.
At this point it’s worth repeating again – for comedy effect you understand – the old adage, “a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client”.
As the recent advertising debacle with Primesight suggests, Campbell lacks intelligence and nous when it comes to ‘procedure’.
He emailed Primesight to tell them he wasn’t a “charity” but still acquiesed with the deal when company rep, Gerry McGread, told him, “that’s ok and not a problem.”
Campbell, if he had any brains, would have pulled out there and then.
The same could be said of his hilariously ill fated claim against Future.
It’s a truism that most ‘normal’ people learn from their mistakes. Can the same be said of Campbell? He seems doomed to repeat them.
The point of this feature concerns Campbell’s pursuit of Future Publishing for what he believed to be the theft of his copyright. It’s also concerned with his subsequent actions as the sole operator of Wings Over Scotland.
Campbell guarded his copyrighted material jealously – covetously so. And it would be moot not to agree that he was right to do so.
But, given that he is so aware of his own rights on copyright theft/infringement, why is it that he plays so loosely and contemptuously with the copyright of others?
Campbell used the following phrase recently “Tick tock, Scottish newspapers. Tick tock.” to vindictively taunt professional journalists worried about their jobs.
He relishes their prospective loss of employment due to the hemorrhaging of both revenues and circulation at papers such as the Herald and the Scotsman.
Yet, Campbell is a willing and active agent of those papers decline.
Using the archiving website Archive.is, he routinely archives the majority of the newspaper reports he links to from his site for his readers consumption.
The Archive.is site allows a snapshot of a page/story to be stored and a new shorter link to be created – all executed with “merciless contempt” for the convenience of his readers.
This serves the actively spiteful purpose of denying said papers much needed click through stats.
Higher figures makes the news sites more attractive to prospective advertisers meaning, ultimately, the papers can generate more revenue.
In terms of the Herald, the use of Archive.is, also bypasses their paywall system, further denying that paper potential revenues from their electronic subscription service.
Therefore, part of Campbell’s use of the Archive.is site is to to systematically and deliberately circumvent potential revenue streams. That’s theft, plain and simple.
It doesn’t so much make Campbell a “brigand” – as one snivellingly sycophantic acolyte put it yesterday – it makes him an every day common or garden tea leaf.
He’s welcome to sue AhDinnaeKen for saying so if he doesn’t like the simple truth of the matter.
Consider the Herald website’s terms and conditions of use:
“No part of the Site can be reproduced on, transmitted to or stored on any other web site or other form of electronic retrieval system, nor may any part of the site be accessed in such manner as to make it appear part of any third parties web site without our prior written consent.”
It couldn’t be any clearer.
Storing Herald stories using Archive.is is a breach of the Heralds terms and conditions (T&Cs) and thus a breach of contract over which the Scottish courts have exclusive jurisdiction.
Section 25 of the T&Cs also states:
“Framing or other techniques to enclose any part of the heraldscotland website are not permitted”
These terms and conditions are explicitly agreed to if you use the site.
Breaching them, at best, could be seen as an accident. Continually flaunting them goes beyond mere “procedural errors” and becomes something much more serious.
Effectively, Campbell’s site with its alleged readership of 233,296 individuals and 3,647,300 page views, is denying not inconsiderable chunks of revenue from Scottish newspapers.
And just like Tesco says, every little helps.
What Campbell’s ‘trusting’ and profligate readership have to understand is that they are paying him to “steal”, in their name.
High ranking acolytes such as Scott Minto aka @sneekyboy at least display an awareness of the malice aforethought behind what Campbell is up to.
Consider the following Twitter exchange:
Declining circulation is affecting newspapers worldwide, not just the Scottish press.
Campbell’s making himself rich at the expense of other journalists work – at a time when it can be least afforded.
Irony doesn’t come into it. Hypocrisy and thievery does.
For someone who so tenaciously pursued a third party for the ‘copyright infringement’ of his own work, Campbell seems pathologically unsympathetic to the wilful copyright infringement of others intellectual property.
Astonishingly, Wee Stuarty, with his impressively ‘BIG’ stats is happy to continue his relentless thievery to the commercial detriment of Scotland’s newspapers.
It’s unlikely to happen, but AhDinnaeKen implores the likes of the Scotsman, the Herald and the other newspapers whose websites Campbell routinely steals from, to make an example of his site.
He’s got the money available to pay adequate compensation, so, the legal beaks should be set on him. Ensure you get your rightful share of his ill gotten gains.
Wings claimed some time ago to have a readership, “bigger than the sales of the Herald and Scotsman put together”.
Therefore, the site has absolutely no business stealing content from either of those sites – or any sites – whatever the alleged justificiation.
As his sojourn against Future Publishing proved, he’s more than aware of what constitutes copyright infringement.
And he’s equally aware that such infringement should be fiscally compensated for by the infringer.
What he seems less aware of is how this rank hypocrisy and wanton thievery looks to the wider world out there.
For the sake of any defamation challenge from Campbell, AhDinnaeKen would like to point out that we’re not calling him a “thief” in the strictly Scottish legal term, we*’re calling him a “thief” in the strictly, morally justifiable, term.
And we* believe that we’re fully justified in saying so.
Campbell’s previous actions have clearly demonstrated that he is, among other things, a thieving hypocrite.
AhDinnaeKen is calling him out on that. Sue us* Wingsy boy, if you can prove we*’re wrong.