Thieving from the thieves

I had to laugh today. I saw that one of the Formula 1 websites is complaining that someone has made an unauthorised copy of the entire website, using what was described as “grabbing” technology, and is stealing all of its precious information.

“Needless to say, the hard work of those who contribute is being utilised to fuel someone else’s efforts,” they complained.

The website in question is one of customers of a much-detested F1 “news syndication agency” which pumps out endless F1 news, all of which is “acquired” from original sources. I did some research the other day into this organisation and discovered that its only apparent link to F1 is that it is located 25 miles from a city where there used to be a Grand Prix 15 years ago. It is headquartered in a three-bedroom bungalow on a leafy street near the town centre, but nonetheless offers “between 10 and 20 original, highly researched and professionally compiled Formula 1 news articles for publication every day”.

Copyright laws being as they are one can do nothing, except explain to the world that these people do not know what they are talking about. The news is collected from websites that are supplied by the hard working people who actually go to the races and source the information and is simply repackaged as “original”?

Note to self: Look into Australian laws regarding false advertising.

PS: Since I wrote this article I have been sent a Twitter feed which is alleged to come from the people in question. I don’t think it does, but it is rather funny. Have a look here.

118 thoughts on “Thieving from the thieves

  1. Hmm 25 miles from Adelaide is kinda in the sticks. Do they even have broadband there now?! 🙂

    Thankfully, most people know anything bearing GMM/CAPSIS worth zero.

    Most people hit (whether they agree with the commentary or not, the news is solid), Autosport (great, but sadly getting worse), or the German sites, AMuS and Motorsport Aktuell.

    Anything else is a waste of time.

  2. Sounds like some rude bugger (substitute individual for publication if you want) is sitting in the wine district near Adelaide having a lovely time playing computers. I guess that’s how they fund their Shiraz.

    I don’t object to aggregators who provide original source headlines and links to the original source (that way you get click-throughs), but lifting and repackaging is pp.

  3. There are a number of blogs that exist solely as “aggregte sites” that colate articles from other sites, with a brief outline, and some commentary. They then link back to the source article.

    In the world of video games one such site is

    Some of the linked sites don’t like these blogs as they don’t get the benefit of the traffic as most users are happy to read the outline on the aggregate blog without following through to the original source.

    I’m surprised that there hasn’t been one created for F1. Maybe there has and I’m not aware of it.

  4. That is very funny. I managed to find the offending websites by typing in your quote to google (incase anyone else is interested).
    Keep up the good work Joe.

  5. If we’re getting into first computers, mine was an IBM 1620 in 1964, when real racing drivers still roamed the planet

  6. Among the more detestable practices of this ‘agency’ is to issue any subsequent official rebuttals of its quote-based non-news items as a separate story (thus counting towards the 10-a-day target), rather than following the tradition of responsible news writers and weaving the claim-and-counter-claim into the thread of one story. It’s not just quote-based journalism; it’s quota-based journalism.

    I also don’t buy the ethic that simply because somebody is reporting that someone has said something, it is somehow inherently newsworthy – especially when most of the time the ‘somebody’ and ‘something’ has been run through Google Translate and then further bent into shape to suit the resulting non-story.

    The egregious proprietor of said ‘agency’ made a half-hearted attempt to defend his methods during a discussion on Sidepodcast some months ago. It was utter cant, especially his claim that the indiscriminate publication of mistranslated and out-of-context quotes was simply “part of F1’s rich tapestry”. What a twerp.

  7. Never heard of either of them… do sites of that type get much traffic though really?

    What about you others who are reading here? Can we comfort Joe that people don’t read those derivative sites?

    For instance, the F1 sites on my bookmark toolbar are Joe’s blog, James Allen’s blog, Autosport, F1 Fanatic and the Run Off Area. What about the rest of you?

  8. Are copyright laws really that feeble? Where I live, anything written, or any image created, is automatically the intellectual property of the creator from the moment of creation. I know that crossing international boundaries make this more complicated, but I think most Western countries have similar laws. Some holders of copyrighted material certainly seem to watch places like Youtube very closely, for example – and they are successful at having things removed.

    Part of the problem, I think, is perception. This might have started with the music file sharing phenomenon: an astonishing number of people seem to think that because they want to do it, and because it’s so easy to do, it must be legal. Moreover, they even manage to persuade themselves that it is ethical. This cavalier attitude is very common: I’ve heard someone claim that any photograph on the internet is “in the public domain”, simply by virtue of being on the internet. Where they get these notions I do not know, although I guess the notions are so convenient to them that they choose not to question them.

    When it comes to copyright violations on the www, there is plenty of ignorance; there are innocent mistakes and misunderstandings; there is also the rather nebulous legal notion of “fair use”. But what you describe, Joe, is none of these – it’s calculated theft of another’s intellectual property. Thanks for alerting us to it.

  9. oh the irony!! The website which was first accused of copying (f1-daily) by the other (updatef1) has produced a word for word verbatim reproduction of even the complaint against them and just replaced the website name in the article from updatef1 to f1-daily!! It did not occur to them that the headline has their name!! Or it is the ultimate proof that they are using “grabbing” technology and have a program in place to replace keywords like their website name in place of the other.

    Its amusing that even the date and time registered on both are exactly identical!!

  10. Stuart C, Autosport isn’t much better these days. They’ve cut back so much on their staff writers that all you get is ‘abc bemoans xyz’ or ‘xyz will only get stronger’.

  11. 🙂 I had no idea either of these websites existed. Thanks to Uppili for putting their names up. The only differences between the two sites are:

    1) The original (updatef1) has adverts and a properly designed logo

    2) The copy has blank spots where the adverts were on the original and a badly out of focus logo. Yuck.

    It should be straightforward for the original to block the copier. There can only be a few search engine robots and the copier that scour every page on the site. Identify it and block it.

    As for both of them, they look awful. I do wonder why people bother to put stuff together and then don’t give a toss about its appearance.

    I won’t be going back. Its a diet of Joe Saward, James Allen,, itv-f1 and bbc-f1 for me. Oh and the RunOff area and occasional F1 badger.

    Jame’s site seems to have lots of problems with Firefox, failing to show pages etc (doesn’t matter what I do with cookies/cache etc)

  12. The obvious question, if the offended site (updatesport) is such crap and all their content comes from one single news syndication agency, why were you reading it?

  13. Sidepodcast ran a campaign against GMM stories about a year ago and eventually Mr Andrew Maitland its proprietor popped into the comments to say that while he welcomed robust debate he felt the treatment he received there was unfair. He also offered to answer any questions people had. I can only assume he was overcome by the volume of response he received and was just too overwhelmed to deal with it.

    Several months later after sidepodcast’s comedic take off of GMM appeared he started issuing cease and desist threats from his lawyer. Unfortunately the lawyer refered to Mr Maitland as the principle(sic) of the company. Once we pointed out that his mother (sorry lawyer) couldn’t spell and gave hime more stick than he had previously he asked the good people at sidepodcast to remove the copy of that letter from their site and to the best of my knowledge he has never darkened their doorstep again.

    He sees himself and his grandiosely titled business as a threat to journalists in the paddock. It was pointed out to him that without journalists on the inside he would have no-one to rip off but that seems to be beyond his comprehension.

    This week Stuart C pointed out that GMM stories are appearing on the BBC website’s F1 gossip column. Lord Reith will be spinning faster than a Williams flywheel at the thought.

  14. Thanks for making us aware of this Joe, it is a bit disappointing for me as a reader of a website that is associated with ESPN to find out where some of their news comes from.

  15. The agency in question moved from a central-Adelaide location a few years ago. They used to be within a stone’s throw of Adelaide track, but have moved on for some reason. I can’t ever remember going to the site in question to read a story. It’s so rare you see original content on these kinds of sites.

  16. @willthef1journo He’ll never go to a race. He told me that he travels to races, then when I found out he didn’t, be backtracked and told me he travels to the race ‘locations’ all the time. He can’t even get his own story straight. What a joke!

  17. Twitter is first, then blogs ..on the end services.

    My hobby is searching and my trust sources is Joe, Twitter, several websites and The Google Trinity..

  18. As an f1 site author myself, I am aware of this practice and have been repeatedly approached by the agency to publish their news for not much money really.

    What is most interesting is that apart from some less known sites, f1live is also using them. As far as I know they are the biggest f1 site out there, so lots of people read these things.

    On the other hand, their price tag makes it interesting for smaller sites to use their service, as sure not everybody has the luck to be able to join every race and every test. With only a website, it is incredibly hard to get access to an f1 event.

  19. Joe, how did you run into that story then? I am not building up for an attack on you, it is a genuine question. You seem to have some interest on the matter of that site since you say you researched them a while ago. Give us the whole story (my syndicated source hasn’t covered it). You seem a bit too involved in this for it to be just a “someone sent me a note and I figured I would share it with you guys”.

    1. Clearly your syndicated source is not good enough. The original thing came up on a news-clipping website that I refer to.
      After that someone really did send me a note… I have a rant about this about once a year and that is that.

  20. A bit catty there, aren’t you Joe? I can’t speak for the GMM agency sourcing the stories, and indeed find some of their stories rather banal but I do find the site you mention to be often quite good. I have no interest in it but via another forum I have had correspondence with one of their editors and find him to be a good bloke who tries to filter the worst agency stories and when he has the chance (as it is essentially a hobby for him rather than a 24/7 carreer) put in generally fairly well-informed (in my experience) content where he can. The site in question is far from the worst culprit so I think it’s a bit unfair to single it out, especially when it is apparently popular enough to attract a fairly obvious fraud attempt. A lot of them out there seen just to be outlets for press releases, at least the site you mention has some original content, opinion and comment here and there. Along with, Autosport and your section, I find it to be a reasonable source for F1 news and gossip. Sometimes it’s accurate, sometimes its not – just like every other site.

    No offence, I think you all do a good job. But just because you are lucky enough to be doing what must be for many people a dream job, I don’t think its very fair to belittle guys who aren’t doing anything illegal and are trying to do as good a job as possible without the means and privileges of Haymarket Group and so on!

    1. ForzaMinardi,

      Read the explanation for Diogenes if you wish to understand. This “good bloke” in Australia is not Robin Hood. He is claiming to produce original stories (Click here). It is there in black and white – and it is just not true. He is a con man.

      I (and I do not mean some vast corporation) spend $50,000 a year on travel costs – and I don’t travel up the front or stay in fancy hotels – so in order to live a comfortable life I need to make a lot more than double that amount. It is getting harder and harder to achieve that because the market is being flooded by cheap crap.

      When push comes to shove, the travelling F1 correspondents will stop. Then you will get less quality reporting. There is no magic involved. It is pure economics.

      I do what I love to do and I love to do it well. If I can no longer do it then I will do something else.

  21. Oh, and another wee thing – it was the chap behind the site you are talking about who recommended I take a look at this site a few months back! Even as a long-time fan I’d never visited before.

  22. Joe,
    Is it your belief that any Formula 1 website, who utilize the experience of ‘journalists’ who do not travel, are robbing you of content?

    I empathize with your position, however, I do not find many parallels with mainstream current affair news agencies. For example, does one need to be in Gaza to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

    In addition, Joe, have you considered the danger that, by excluding all third-party journalists you greatly reduce the quantity of voices in Formula 1? With time, is it easy to foresee a situation where these same voices will become stale, and these same journalists burnt out?

    Furthermore, the absence of these websites (many of whom do not profit from your hard work, financially or otherwise) will stifle the next generation of Formula 1 journalists. Where else will the gifted young writers find the opportunity to hone their skills?

    I fully support your cause Joe, I just wonder how you wrestle with the above situations.

    Are there any benefits to these sorts of sites?

    1. Diogenes,

      Your post makes some interesting points. Journalism differs from sphere to sphere but the principles are the same. As far as I can tell there is a very small group of reporters (mainly TV men and women) who go from war to war. They are generally employed (and funded) by one organisation. A lot of the reporting is done with “embedded” journalists who travel with one military unit. Others are local “foreign correspondents” who do not travel and so are experts in specific wars, with the big news agencies like Reuters, AP and AFP. They are the experts with suitable contacts and so on. These are folk like Robert Fisk, who has been Beirut-based for 30-odd years. There is some “parachute journalism” with established writers arriving with little knowledge and experience. This is dangerous because no matter how good they are they do not have time to understand complex situations. We see the same in Formula 1 with celebrated sports writers arriving in F1, expounding their views and departing to tennis competitions. One or two of them have a decent understanding of F1 but most have no idea at all and what they write reflects that.

      The difference in F1 is that the “local expert” group travels with the sport. A lot are funded by specialist magazines although these tend to be be the younger and less experienced people, who are learning the business. The newspaper men tend to work in more than one sport, covering F1 and doing soccer, tennis, golf or rugby between the races. Others, who spend some years on the road and make the necessary contacts, settle into desk jobs and can do a decent job without needing to travel to all the races, but they tend to feel out of it because F1 moves so fast.

      There are probably 10-15 guys who are the real experts who have outgrown the magazines and work as freelances. This group generally finds the news in F1 and after they publish it, it spreads like ripples on a pond with everyone else picking it up, adding their own take on a story. This is fine. I have no problem with anyone who does that. News is news and once it is out there it is fair game. The quality of reporting gets worse as the ripples spread around the world. What is wrong is that at the far reaches of the pond (notably out in the sticks of Australia) there are people who are collecting the news and dressing themselves up as experts and selling it as originally-sourced information. They are conning their customers, who either do not know better or do not care because it is cheap. If there are enough cheap deals one can create an income. It is hard work but if they generate enough they can employ other web surfers to augment create 24 hour service. The travelling correspondents (off whom these people are feeding) cannot compete with this because of the time and the costs involved. The result is that as time goes by the experts will have to stop travelling and the quality of all the F1 news will be weakened as a result.

      Many of the travelling correspondents are very supportive of new talent, but only if the talent proves itself. No-one has a right to be a motor racing reporter. You make it happen. Much has changed in the last 25 years but not this. However, when we see people who are keen enough to try, they are generally supported, because it is daunting to try to break into F1 as a newcomer. Naoise Holohan of ManipeF1 (who I see made some remarks on this blog recently) arrived in F1 this year at a couple of races. He had somehow managed to get a credential, he had no money, but he was there and doing the job in the right way. Let’s ask him whether he feel he was given support by people in the game…

  23. Note to Joe:

    Section 53 of the Australian Trade Practices Act 1974:

    False or misleading representations

    A corporation shall not, in trade or commerce, in connexion with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or in connexion with the promotion by any means of the supply or use of goods or services:

    (a) falsely represent that goods are of a particular standard, quality, value, grade, composition, style or model or have had a particular history or particular previous use;

    (aa) falsely represent that services are of a particular standard, quality, value or grade;

    (b) falsely represent that goods are new;

    (bb) falsely represent that a particular person has agreed to acquire goods or services;

    (c) represent that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, uses or benefits they do not have;

    (d) represent that the corporation has a sponsorship, approval or affiliation it does not have;

    (e) make a false or misleading representation with respect to the price of goods or services;

    (ea) make a false or misleading representation concerning the availability of facilities for the repair of goods or of spare parts for goods;

    (eb) make a false or misleading representation concerning the place of origin of goods;

    (f) make a false or misleading representation concerning the need for any goods or services; or

    (g) make a false or misleading representation concerning the existence, exclusion or effect of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy.

  24. @Smeehee. I second that. I think it might be the sort of thing they’re are interested in.

    I was surprised when I Googled said “Journalist” to find his work also on (a prominent independent news/current affairs website in Australian), spouting on about where telling the truth as an F1 Journalist can be “career suicide.”

    To their credit Crikey haven’t distanced themselves from this bloke, he hasn’t had his work published on their site in almost 18 months.

  25. Its a day for ironies, first this, which hs just had me giggling like a loon at the copiers not noticing whatthey were grabbing. Then that was followed by the FIA bemoaning the leaking of docs in the Briatore case against….hmmm…Pot, may we introduce you to our good friend, Kettle.

    Nothing like the closed season to do the looking for less well coered stories, hoping Joe can keep us amused ;-D

  26. The major drawcards of updatef1 are not the syndicated news, of which no-one barely reads, but the editorials (Full Throttle Mag), the live commentary on races and the lively forum. Yes, you’ve probably guessed I’m a regular viewer, but don’t dismiss it too fast. It’s got its place in the F1 landscape, even if you’re not happy with the methods of the news source company.

  27. Well well, all this free publicity from one of my favourite writers!

    Thanks for the comments Joe, and for running the story, and for those who don’t know me i’m the editor of – not, I must add, the fake and rather annoying F1-daily.

    Regards GMM – a lot of their stories are, as Joe and others say, rather lacklustre; I don’t publish them. Like Joe’s site I don’t peddle ‘Driver X is having a Baby’ or ‘Niki Lauda says’ stories – I’m not interested in them, and neither are my readers. The stories I publish may come from a ‘disreputable’ source – in the eyes of some – yet I don’t have the luxury of being able to follow the F1 circus around the world and to get stories from the horses mouth (much as I would love to). Nor can I afford to buy stories from a more respectable agency (it has been investigated). UpdateF1 is an independent site run by volunteers – fans, people who love the sport – for fans, it is not backed up by a major publishing house (neither is, before Joe adds, and we do not have a 24 hour staff researching stories. We do have dedicated and interested writers who write from a fans point of view, and who are read by a loyal and very knowledgeable bunch of members.

    I must say that Joe’s original piece was not directed at, but at GMM; fair do’s, but the implications are rather irritating. We do publish our own stories, we do not rely entirely on agency fluff, but clearly this has passed the commentator by.

    There are a number of small, independent, fan-led websites that mirror the sort of product we provide; if Mr Saward is averse to them, that’s up to him. I will, however, continue to provide the service I provide as there are many who appreciate it.

    I would also like to add thanks to those who answered in support.

    For the record, I have endless respect for Joe and his work; perhaps he would care to recognise that not all of us can afford the luxury of following F1 full time.

    Steve Turnbull
    Editor –

    1. Steve,

      I am not knocking beyond the fact that you are paying towards keeping GMM in business, which I consider to be a very bad idea.

      It does annoy me when I see all these references to the “luxury” life that I am supposed to have. As I have written elsewhere I pay the bills, not some big faceless corporation with endless revenues. I sometimes question my sanity, because it is not a very profitable business. But it is what I have done for the last 26 years and it is what I like to do. If you want a life like that you have to make sacrifices and make it happen. When I started out I travelled across Europe fulltime by train with a tent and a typewriter. It was a struggle, but I did enough to catch the attention of Autosport and I was hired to work there 15 months later No-one is going to come to you and say “Hey, would you like to be an F1 reporter?” That does not happen. If you want to be seen to be serious you have to find a way to break into the business. In recent years Will Buxton has done it and Adam Hay-Nichols as well. You just have to make it happen. Websites are never going to generate the kind of money needed to pay for it. I do them because I hope to make something to add to the pot and because these are where the numbers are these days. If you do not have the reader numbers you do not get the access.

  28. Bonjour Joe,

    I don’t know if you expected so many replies to your topic. Apart from the original issue that you raised, it seems to me that the discussion is now turning around the legitimacy and the form of the information given by the non reporters on formula one (to extend to all forms of motorsport).

    I am more than aware of the quality of the reports that you and a few others bring to all individuals who have formula one as one of their passions.
    You guys all see the same thing, and it’s up to you to make it public, in your own styles, and therefore gain credibility from the public. You must know how rewarding this can be.

    Let aside some non scrupulous merchants who will copy/paste the news from each other, with no originality. Most of your customers are able to choose their sources, and make the difference between the original and the copy(ies). Most of them remain critical towards their readings, they will know what to expect when they read Joe Saward or James Allen, Autosport and other numerous medias.

    I would like to have your input on the non professional sites or blogs. What is your opinion about them? What advise would you give to their owners? More specifically, it seems that formula one rarely gives access to its sources. As an example, there is no formula one channel on YouTube (unlike WRC). When a video is being posted, it is removed quickly (copyrights!) and what’s left is the opportunity for these bloggers to embed some news feeds, in order to provide their readers with a few headlines. I am not aware of any way images available at no cost, and it is always pleasant to illustrate in colors what will be discussed in forums.

    These blogs will make their own success thanks to their originality, and depending upon some features that they will be able to develop. However they will have to battle against a monopoly from the owners of the sport, and this despite making it even more popular. And I don’t think nor expect that they will “stop the F1 correspondents from traveling”.

    Thank you.

  29. Joe,

    I wasn’t talking about the guy in Australia (who I assume is the GMM geezer). I don’t have an opinion one way or another on GMM; at the end of the day I don’t condone ripping off other people’s work and I’m no philosopher, but isn’t any form of journalism ultimately plagiarism if viewed from a particular perspective?

    I was talking about the guy who edits the site you referred to, who is some English geezer running an F1 news site as far as I can see not for profit but for the pleasure of it. As “The Doc” says, it has its fair share of nonsense, as does every site (even yours!) but there are some great parts to it (just like yours!). While you may have just been using the instance of their site being grabbed to make the point versus GMM, I thought it was unfair to criticise the site itself. Reading between the lines, it seems GMM are a bunch of chancers, and by all means say so, but please bear in mind that merely running some GMM stories as filler does not automatically a bad website make.


  30. slightly offtopic, but interesting to see some people list their f1 bookmarks and not one mentioned ’tis a quality site and everyone who enjoys joe’s writing style i am sure would appreciate the works of one of their feature contributors, mike lawrence. always makes me chuckle with his historical anecdotes!

  31. Joe,

    Thanks for your reply and I did acknowledge that you are not directing your comments at UpdateF1. I doubt that what we pay them keeps them in business, however, for it wouldn’t keep me in socks.

    I am well aware you have no luxury lifestyle, I am well aware that it is a difficult job that takes some doing (for the record my father was a writer on GP motorcycle racing) and I have no desire to do what you do.

    I write on F1, a sport I have followed for thirty five years, as I enjoy writing on F1, and my readers enjoy reading what I have to say.

    If I could afford to ditch GMM I would – with no hesitation – for I am one who is critical of the content they supply.

    Had I taken a different career path when younger I may well have followed you in your passionate reporting of the sport, and in hindsight training as an accountant was not the right move.

    We don’t publish the fluff, we weed it out, and we do write our own material.

    Furthermore, the ‘hard work’ I referred to – and which you somewhat glibly mentioned – is in getting the right stories to the page, in editing nonsense out, and in writing our own pieces; my ire was raised by F1-Daily simply replicating our content word for word (even down to the forum posts!).

    Steve Turnbull

  32. Wouldn’t it be fair to say that Bernie and/or the FIA’s granting of official media passes and the export of F1 to increasingly difficult- and expensive-to-get-to locations is more the problem then? i very much appreciate you have sacrificed a lot in the past to get to your current position and equally I am sure you will not retire as a millionaire as a result of your chosen career. On the other hand, neither will most people so that doesn’t make you unique, and indeed most people would be happy to spend their life doing a job they love, which presumably you do. At the end of the day every business has to cut its cloth according to its means, and if the costs of covering F1 as a travelling reporter makes doing such uneconomical, then perhaps the problem lies in the result of F1’s wider business model.

    This is where I wonder if had FOTA’s rebel championship happened, would there have been an impact for the media? Reading between the lines, much as FOTA threatened to be highly corporate, given that their main aim was to put on a good show to make people buy cars, I wonder if they would made it a bit easier for the media to get in about F1. It strikes me that the FIA is extraordinarily short-sighted in terms of overly controlling media access to and fan diffusion (e.g. via youtube) of the sport.

    In short, if the likes of Steve and others could actually reasonably attend the odd race or two on a professional basis, then perhaps there would be no need for the GMMs of this world? Or perhaps that might upset the ‘old guard’ of iconic F1 journalists…. 😉

  33. I’m surprised no-one’s mentioned the US DMCA, or the strict rulings in the High Court UK which are increasingly common.

    Mr Saward, as a journalist, may hold strong ethical beliefs concerning use of laws which are most frequently used to suppress the press, but since he is not the sole victim of this scraping – scam, surely even the most concerned over such laws as create “chilling effects” might be forgiven for using what tools exist to protect their work, and act collectively.

    Mr Saward has the solution, when he points out that [sic] such firms survive because they have no overheards. (sorry, i’m leaving that typo as the mistake is equally true of their reportage) . . . I believe a touch of pre – trial litigation costs would constitute a fairly effective de-facto estoppel, even if immediate legal remedy were not granted, in contest or default.

    I see no reason why relief would not be granted in the UK, and that would be sufficient to enforce ISP takedowns, permit costs recovery from beneficiaries and so on. A smarty-pants counsel might be able to argue ridiculous penalties under the Computer Misuse Act, which would scare the daylights out of any rational citizen.

    That all said, there is a unfortunate and in my view unsolveable equation wherein, in such actions, the balance between legal threats and portent of whack-a-mole continuing enforcement, is unsettled by the draconian aspects of the applicable law, which leads most litigants, even when they are clearly hurt and defending basic rights, to risk bi-polar public perception. Using bad laws to do good is a sticky place to be.

    Ultimately, the rational reaction to this immoral morass, is to support real authors, in this case i guess it’s a sub. to GP+. That’s the plan i’ve made, in preference to trying to recall often intractible arguments I’ve had to use myself in the area of copyright.

    Ultimately, whilst of no religious persuasion, i believe in business karma. If i ever wrote a book, it would be based heavily on rogues who stiffed me in business, got away with it, but in the end blew themselves up. Oh, and a theme would undoubtedly be the glacial patience required between first shriek of “theif!” and finally drawing a wry grin of dissapointment at humanity when such scamsters see their little empires demise.

    Posting this, which probably will be a singular comment on this blog, because i feel a obligation to at least lend moral support. However the cynic in me wonders if some injured parties whose reports are rehashed would rather not have anyone argue in public as to the novelty of their own “news” reportage. I’m sure i recall, e.g., some surprisingly high double digit percentage of reworked press release text in a major financial newspaper.

    I wonder also, with a queasy feeling in my belly, whether attempted grey-area but illicit faux – syndication is not equally at once a benefit to the few authors who genuinely create novel quality work, and an undermining curent needed to unsettle publications whose definition of news quality appears to have permanently slipped.

    Finally, to Mr Saward directly: Thank You for the most readable insight into a sport i still try to love, and sometimes can only love because of the heartfelt and genuine care which comprises literary efforts as yours.

    That’s quite enough of my thoughts for one blog 🙂

  34. “I don’t have the luxury of being able to follow the F1 circus around the world and to get stories from the horses mouth”.

    To be honest, reading the ‘on the road stories’ from the likes of Joe, Ed Gorman, et al who pound around the world during the season, I’m not sure ‘luxury’ is a word I’d use to describe their job.

    And they don’t exactly get paid much either. I think I heard Matt Bishop was on about £70k at F1 Racing. And he’d have been one of highest paid. That’s not a lot of money, and especially not for the hours they have to put in. And people like Joe who are effectively freelancers have to cover their travel and accommodation costs too!

    So when you say you don’t have the luxury to be able to follow the F1 circus (and it’s called a circus for a reason), I think it’s more down to ‘I don’t want to make the sacrifices to be able to follow the F1 circus around the world’.

  35. Thanks Joe for naming a few reporters to look out for, new names to me. A good thing about Twitter is I can go direct to them. I would never recommend a whole site on the strength of one writer.

  36. @Steve Turnbull

    I dont really see how you can argue you use GMM simply because you cant travel the world following F1 around. This is a poor excuse, and simply notr true. You use GMM because you are too lazy to read the news yourself and write about it and your thoughts.

    People dont really go to fan blogs and forums to get the latest F1 news, they go to places like here or Autosport to find that out then move onto fan sites to discuss and inevitably argue about it.

    What you are doing is pretending your site is something its not, its all well and good saying you are a newspaper, but your not, you are simply paying to pretend you are, and taking up shelf space. Its not that hard to write a daily summary of the f1 news from a bloggers perspective, with some options thrown in there, nor is it hard to link back to the original stories of the Journos who wrote them. Plenty of sites/blogs and forums do it.

  37. The major drawcards of updatef1 are not the syndicated news, of which no-one barely reads, but the editorials…

    doc, if your statement were true, updatef1 wouldn’t bother to run syndicated news stories, would they? someone must be reading them because GMM do not provide their regurgitated tosh for free.

    updatef1’s advertising income must, at minimum, be covering the cost of paying for the service or the editor is more daft than i’d considered.

    Thanks for the comments Joe, and for running the story, and for those who don’t know me i’m the editor of

    a-ha, talk of the devil. steve, once upon a time another blogger (who shall remain nameless), once tried to use exactly the same argument you put forward here. he too claimed he would love to work in f1 full-time, but couldn’t afford to. he too claimed he tried to filter out the ‘worst’ of GMM.

    i guess it must be the token self-defence of a busted blogger.

    truth is, no-one is forcing you run a website, just like no-one is forcing you to fill pages and pages worth of content with unvalidated ‘stories’. apparently people only come to your site for the editorials anyhow… go figure.

    i doff my cap to those behind “daily-f1”. you’ve got the copycat website you deserve.

  38. Aaron,

    I’ve already corrected the misuse of the word ‘luxury’ in my reply to Joe, admitting that his lifestyle would hardly be ‘luxury’. He does what he does because he wants to, and so do I. I also pointed out that I went down a completely different career path, hence my not being on Joe’s tail at each race. I, too, enjoy his writing, and that of others, and will continue to do so.

    Nick-f1 wrote: “You use GMM because you are too lazy to read the news yourself and write about it and your thoughts.”

    I use GMM because that is what the sites owners pay for, quite simply. I do read the news myself, and I do write about it and add my thoughts. Perhaps you should read some of UpdateF1’s content?

    I noted in Mr C’s comments:

    “doc, if your statement were true, updatef1 wouldn’t bother to run syndicated news stories, would they?”

    We have no option but to run syndicated news stories, for as previously explained we are a volunteer run site. Neither I, nor my other contributors, have enough time to dedciate to the site to dismiss the syndicated news.


    “….he too claimed he would love to work in f1 full-time, but couldn’t afford to. he too claimed he tried to filter out the ‘worst’ of GMM…..”

    I didn’t claim I can;t afford to work in F1 full time, but that I came to the game far too late. I couldn’t possibly find a full time writing job in the sport now, as there are others – such as Mr Saward – who do an excellent job and have been doing for some time.

    I do filter out the dross; again, perhaps you would care to read some of UpdateF1’s content?

    And more:

    “no-one is forcing you run a website”

    No-one said they were! If you read what I have already said I make it quite clear I do it for the love of it.

    Oh, and….

    “people only come to your site for the editorials anyhow”

    I never said that, but Doc is clearly drawn by exactly that.


    “…’ve got the copycat website you deserve…..”

    What have we done to deserve it (although they say something about imitation and flattery……)?

    I provide a website with news and ‘gossip’ admittedly, and I do so because people read it, enjoy it, and take part in lively discussion.

    I take on board, fully, Joe’s distaste with the GMM content, which is why I publish around 25% – if that – of what we are given daily. We write our own stories, and add our own content, and we get some favourable responses. I’m not going to do Joe Saward out of a job, after all.

    I’m interested in the way this debate has continued as it would seem that it has raised some interesting points. It’s also raised our traffic quite considerably!

    As it happens, I’m a great fan of for the attitude it takes in that if there is no news, they don’t publish anything. There are readers, however, who want a daily fix of gossip and rumour – log on to any forum and confirmation of that is immediately evident.


    Steve Turnbull

  39. As Joe mentioned above, I travelled to two races as a member of the F1 media for the first time this year. Within 60 minutes of arriving in the paddock, it became crystal clear to me why journalists like Joe are so far ahead of all other websites – because he’s there at the races, mixing it with the people who know what’s going on. You may not believe me, but the vast majority of F1 websites out there (including GMM and the website being discussed) have no clue whatsoever about the inner workings of Formula One. You need to be there to find out what’s really going on.

    GMM sells content by conning its subscribers into thinking they know what is going on in the inner circles of Formula One. The Editor of the agency has never been at a Formula One race, and I strongly doubt he ever will be. He lied to me for over three years that he travelled to the races. I’ve had eight days in the F1 paddock to his zero, but no-one is lining up to pay me silly sums of money to write about the sport, because I’m honest. I know only an infinitesimal amount about F1 compared to Joe, but I’m confident that I will continue to learn in the years ahead. It’s not cheap, and it’s not easy, but I think it’s worth it in the end.

    And to answer Joe’s question, the reception I got from all members of the Formula One community when I went to the two races was phenomenal. I showed I was serious about being an F1 journalist by travelling, and they acknowledged that. Not one person I spoke to (and I spoke to countless people, of the media, the teams and the FIA) looked down their noses at me, despite the terrible reputation the Internet has as a direct result of GMM. Everyone was warm and welcoming, willing to tell me what they knew, and willing to hear what I had to say. I didn’t quite believe it, but that’s just the way F1 works I suppose. Most people are open, so long as you show a proper interest. It felt like a home from home by Sunday, and I can only imagine that it’s like when you get to know everyone!

    Sometimes I take what Joe writes with a pinch of salt, as any good journalist should, but on this occasion he’s bang on target. I just hope people listen and act on what he has to say. Only people who travel to the races really know what’s going on in the F1 world, and Joe is one of them. Not GMM. Never

  40. I guess the little backpedaling you have done after announcing your exit from this thread is as close as you will come to an apology but I hope you can see the disconnect between “thieving from the thieves” and “I am not knocking beyond the fact that you are paying towards keeping GMM in business, which I consider to be a very bad idea.”.

    There is a bit of a gap from calling someone a thief and laughing at their misfortune and just stating that sponsoring a crappy news source is a bad idea.

    Because, as a creator of content, I hope you do realize that no matter what quality of content you put out and how little make up you apply to your crappy source, having someone straight out xerox your work and try to make a buck out of it is a bit of a misfortune. Right?

  41. arepera,

    What exit from this discussion? I am still here. This is a point of great importance and discussion is good as it spreads the word about some of the sharp practices that are going on at the moment and the effects they are having.

    I have nothing against fans blogs and F1 fan social networking sites and I am happy to support them if it makes sense for me to get involved, but I do get irritated by people pretending to be what they are not. The other day I was contacted by a guy who had a website on which it was clearly stated that he worked in F1 and had the inside stories. So I did some investigation and then challenged him: what was the connection? He admitted that it was a lie but that he would change it but then got angry and said that F1 people were keeping out bloggers and bla-di-bla-di-bla…

    F1 has no such attitudes. The sport has been slow to embrace the Internet but gradually things are happening but the market is so cluttered with crappy websites that it is hard to see the wood from the trees. My view has been that it would all filter out eventually as people not making money dropped out but this process is taking too long. The dream that websites will make millions and allow those involved to travel to F1 races is still out there. Being realistic, it is not going to happen.

    The only reason I do all the electronic stuff is to augment traditional incomes, which are waning because information (reliable or otherwise) is readily available elsewhere. The web has destroyed the ability of the freelances to sell the same stories in different national markets. In the old days one would regularly sell a story four or five times in different countries. That is no longer possible. Enterprises like GP+ will eventually make money but building the audience will take years. The Business of Motorsport newsletter costs more and thus rewards more but the numbers are still relatively low as it is really beyond the price of fans and is only really for the industry.

    Paying websites will probably never work because of the speed at which information moves these days. And besides, the minute any of these “F1” websites becomes a success you will find that the Formula One group lawyers will be on your back.


  42. I find it incredible that anyone can claim that they can’t afford to ditch GMM. I don’t read the site in question but if putting the kind of garbage GMM put out is vital to the existence of the site then the site in question should be put out of its misery.

    You may claim to filter GMM stories but that is impossible unless you can tell which are true and which are not. According to his website Andy sorry (Global Motorsport Media) produces

    between 8 and 25 original, highly researched and professionally compiled Formula 1 news articles for publication every day.

    In truth he filters the web for any mention of F1 and cuts and pastes it with no attempt made to find out if it is true or not. He uses sources in languages he has no knowledge of and uses online translation. This resulted in him putting out a story earlier this year that Hockenheim were naming a grandstand after Vettel. It turned out that in its original German a ticket company was offering a package deal named Vettel in that grandstand. That story cannot be filtered without finding the original source and having a German speaker translate.

    Any news provider is as good as its sources and GMM regularly uses the likes of Bild and Diario A/S which produce vast numbers of inaccurate stories in their own language before being passed through an online translator.

    Despite having personally pointed this out to Mr Maitland he still uses them. He has no interest in whether his stories are accurate. Indeed during one of his visits to Sidepodcast he said that it didn’t matter if they were true or not as long as the provoked conversation. His original comment can still be found on the site but he claimed from memory that 50% of his stories were false, 30% were dubious and 20% were true.

    Any website that uses GMM when its proprietor claims 20% accuracy is not worth a cursory visit from me let alone a regular read.

    Steve may claim that what he gives GMM may not keep him in socks but all the Steves together are clearly paying him enough to make it worth his while to continue.

    I saw a mention of Pitpass earlier. I and many others have boycotted that site after the ridiculous over the top racist attack on Sir Jackie Stewart. Clearly one of that sites writers does not like Scotsmen. I assumed after I read the original article that I was having the usual Scottish response to Sassenach criticism but was delighted to find people of many nationalities agreed with me.

  43. Aaron James: £70k salary isn’t a lot of money? Bloody hell, where do you live? OK, compared to Jenson Button it’s not a lot but it’s a HELL of a lot more than the average journalist, let alone the average British person earns. Similarly, Joe, if you spend $50k per year following F1, and you make double that back thanks to your efforts, that means you’re on $50k a year? I don’t want to go into your personal finances obviously but with all due respect that’s a pretty good salary to most people, especially if you are earning it by doing something which you clearly love doing.

    All that aside, I think a few are missing the point here. Again, let me point out that I have no interest in GMM, indeed I wasn’t consciously aware that they existed until yesterday although I had noticed their byline here and there. My occupation means that I have a degree of insight to intellectual property law and issues of plagiarism. From looking at a few GMM articles, I’m not sure a prosecution would stand up: they don’t appear to directly rip off from other articles without citing the source, be it “Timo Glock said in Auto und Motor” or whatever. So whatever they claim in their sales patter, the fact is they don’t rip off other articles and present it as “we say XYZ” in the article itself.

    As for UpdateF1, if the excuse of “Websites don’t get media passes” isn’t valid and is made up by people who can’t afford to buy them then who I am I to argue? But it ignores the fact that the editor of UpdateF1 is the editor of UpdateF1 as a sideline to his main occupation. He doesn’t make any particular claim to be the ultimate authority on anything and I doubt sees himself as truely competing with you. UpdateF1 to me is basically a fan forum with more news content than the average. Like any free website, it lives and dies by its ability to generate interest and traffic – and while I’m not a big contributor to its forum, it seems to have quite a nice tight little community of people who like it and who seem also to have time for your own site(s).

    I honestly don’t want to demean what you do, Joe, because it is fabulous, but if you believe GMM or websites which use their stories undermine your work then you should have the confidence to charge for access to your writing or the faith in your audience’s ability to differentiate between cr*p and quality. I appreciate all that you write and respect your insight and knowledge but equally we all earn a living from the value that the market places on our skills, insight or knowledge. Things like the internet make all of our positions subject to more competition, be it simply by making our work more publicly accessible and therefore liable to be ripped off or by giving some guy who apparently lives near Adelaide the opportunity to make some money by bending ethics. The internet is the ultimate free market in so far as such a thing is possible. Autosport can charge for content because their brand position makes people think it is worthwhile paying for such. On balance, I’d probably rather pay for access to your stories than I would Autosport’s – perhaps that’s something to consider? (Bearing in mind that I don’t pay for Autosport access now because such sites as your own offer superior quality for free!)

    Meanwhile, as I implied before if any enterprise is made economically unviable, it made so for basically one of two reasons: either there is no market willing to buy into your product to make the product viable in terms of a product price / customer quantity ratio; or there is a wider dimension to the business environment itself which makes your product uncompetitive. In the case of F1, and from whatever specific task you are examining the ‘sport’, my default position is that the powers-that-be have made F1 unviable for all but the big boys.

    1. Forza,

      Autosport tried charging for access. It was a complete disaster. They went back to free access with a paid sub-division for more info and features. I doubt this works to a larger percentage. I have been selling things on the Web for 14 years now and I know how many people sign up be that at $299 a year or at $40. The answer is not enough…

      You may just talk me into giving up and becoming a book writer if we go on too long with this conversation.

  44. And @ Mr. C.

    Again, I don’t know “Steve Turnbull” beyond his name and identity on another F1 forum (which is purely fan gossip, but with a strong social element, and which I’ll not name here other than to say “Global”, “F1” and “dot net”). But to condemn him for saying ‘he can’t afford to work in F1’ (which I don’t think he did, anyway) surely is pretty much condemning Joe’s argument that such as GMM and UpdateF1 are undermining his honest toil? Who do we believe, Steve for allegedly saying he can’t afford the travel and media credentials (because he’s a cheatskate, and/or not good enough to make it pay) or Joe for saying he struggles to make a profit having paid for said travel and credentials. Ultimately, aren’t they saying the same thing – that access to the personalities and the structures of the sport is either so exclusive and/or prohibitively priced that even an esteemed and brilliant professional journalist such as Joe (and Steve, who knows?) struggles to make it pay?

    Meanwhile, while no one is forcing Steve to run a website, equally no one is forcing you to read it, or Joe’s or Autosport’s. As I said, the market is free, you can read what you like and pay for what you like. It seems to me plenty of people like UpdateF1 and plenty of people like this site, so who ultimately cares – each feeds off the others online anyway! Mr. C., they aren’t directed to me so I’m not bothered, but looking on, I would describe your comments as slightly offensive.

  45. Aaron – £70k may not sound like a lot of money to you, but it would be a hell of a pay increase for most of us!

    That said, I’ve a friend who did go into F1 journalism for a while, working on the ITV-F1 site (he too was earning a lot less than £70k) and he said that one of the things he found got to him was that reporting on F1 meant being surrounded by so many people earning so much money that it warps your own perspective of what is a reasonable income and can leave you feeling very hard done by.

  46. Wow, hmmm this is all quite overwhelming. I went away for a day and all this turns up. I am kinda happy to hear all this in the naked wild, as I am a young, motivated and slightly insane f1 fan who wants to breath the sport. I have 1 month left in my university education and desire a direction in life there after. I am a political science major and have noticed an interesting power politics dynamic in f1 for many years. It has always intrigued me as a student of politics to see f1 as the ideal closed experiment of power politics. Every maneuvering of Max or Bernie had the intent of direct results and I welcomed the (sometimes) veiled efforts of these crafty men.
    I have had the idea for a few years to actually become an F1 journo and was curiously contemplating how and who I needed to know to get ‘in’. My ideas started at first by asking an established journo to be a mentor, and knowing this to be unlikely (unless he was approaching retirement) maybe some pity would be doled out to my green fingers.
    I have not direct connection to the sport per se, but know of a channel through which I might start my efforts though this has not begun to be worked.
    I have at times feared my ideas as being too biased and always questioned their place in the order of things. I have read the GMM sourced articles via f1-live and always found them horrible. Likewise the F1 related news in esteemed newspapers such as Globe and Mail have left me wanting (usually Associated Press sourced). Frankly I enjoy job opinionated information, in that a Lauda comment seems like unnecessary fluff added to make the story 200 words when its really just a rumour necessitating 100 words (which should always be identified as simply rumour). Finally being in university has instilled a need to cite sources as proof and when something is produced from thin air without any basis or corroboration it does cause me to question what I am reading.

    All this has made me reflect. I am not disenchanted about the way this has gone, but it has bolstered my opinion that the real information comes from the journo traveling rather than those who stay at home. Now I need to decide if it is indeed the direction for me.

    Finally I must respond to someone’s comment about Pitpass, while generally a well organize site, with detailed information, up to date news pieces and a variety of viewpoints. I tend to find their malicious rants indicative of a bias that makes me uncomfortable. Indeed i visit it everyday, along with my other f1 staple sites, but tend to take some of its editorials with a few grains of salt.

  47. I think it is understandable that Joe is annoyed at sites like Updatef1 (and, more specifically GMM).

    It is true that sites like the aforementioned do so for little or no profit, and do so with the noble intention of giving a fresh voice to a sometimes stale sport. But, by supporting such organizations as GMM (as Updatef1 does) the amount of money that companies are prepared to pay the ‘real’ reporters (the ones with the huge overheads) drastically dwindles away. This will inevitably mean that the financial pressures to continue to commentate on the sport grows, whilst the amount of sponsorship money available shrinks. Financially, being a Formula 1 reporter who travels with the circus becomes less and less economical to the point that many will simply stop going. This, of course, will have a trickle on effect as without these men and woman GMM will not have as many stories to paraphrase, and the noble intentioned smaller websites will find it harder and harder to find stories of merit to comment on.

    There is a paradox, of course, that ForzaMinardi has touched on albeit briefly. With the drastic overheads involved, younger journalists find it impossible to make a name for themselves without first taking advantage of companies like GMM. It (rehashing GMM stories) is a very simple and effective way of refining your skills as a journalist.

    The problems discussed in this thread will play a major role in Formula 1 (and journalism) in the ongoing future.

    1. Diognenes

      As I say to all young F1 aspiring journalists who ask me: “Send me work. If it is good I will publish it and give you exposure. I cannot pay you, but at this point in your career exposure is worth more than money.”

      The sad thing is that so few have the enthusiasm to follow through…

      Mad-Elph, the offer is there for you.

  48. I think you are all being too hard on UpdateF1, i personnally like hte ‘family atmospher’ they have, based on the fact that they are a small fan site, run by fans for fans

    They do not have hundards of thousands of dollars to spend on a fully paid up professional team of jernos to visit every F1 event around the world.

    You have to take the good with the bad, they have volenteer service any yet still manage to produce loads of original articles in their magazine and news services every year.

    I am of couse talking about their unique coverage of GP2, GP2 Aisa and the F2 championship – three vital steps on the ladder to F1 that most F1 sites ignore. THeir junior motorsport coverage is in my opinion second to none. Where else can you find extensive weekend reports from those three champiosnhips as well as a annual top 10 countdown of the most promising drivers in Formula Three and below, while their staff are balancing full time jobs, morgages, families, etc

    I personally cannot think of one. So before critizing updatesport for what they dont do, please praise them for what they do do

    1. Dear Norma,

      Do they send people to these junior races or are they feeding off Autosport?

      I would love to be able to cover more championships but I cannot afford it…


  49. Joe,

    A great point you raise. When possible we have people – fans, paying race goers – at the races, but as you rightly point out it’s expensive. I would cover the club meetings I regularly attend but this is not what my readers want!

    I would like to point something out that is a little off topic, and it involves us having given young prospective writers ‘a chance’. You state you would publish work that you considered good enough, and would point out you cannot pay, but that is precisely what I do!

    To the extent that one of our correspondents was, just this year, a finalist in the Bridgestone E-reporter competition. He got his chance by writing for us – this is the trying and working hard at it to get the breaks (which he has now got, thanks in no small part to us.)

    Some good, then, comes from a ‘crappy’ website.

    Steve Turnbull

  50. Diogenes,

    The tack I am taking here though, is that if we accept (as all do) GMM isn’t much snuff compared to the words of the likes Joe and a few select others, then surely there is a premium to be placed on Joe’s work?

    Are Kia and Hyundai putting BMW and Mercedes out of business? No, for while they make essentially the same things (cars), we appreciate that a BMW or Mercedes is a better quality of car than a Kia or Hyundai and hence we are more willing to pay extra for it. If we regard Joe as being the Bentley Continenetal of F1 journalists, for that he is, then how is it that the Kia Rio of F1 journalism (GMM) is putting him out of business? I doesn’t take Shakespearian appreciation of linguistics to discern the superior work written by Joe and co; being knowledgable fans, we all have enough experience of GMM’s nonsense to know when we are having the p*ss taken out of us.

    Joe says he can’t make enough money by offering a subscription service and I guess if Haymarket and Autosport with the biggest brand in the business can’t either, then there’s not much hope for anyone else. But doesn’t that simply make the point – either there simply isn’t the market for such a service, or the costs of managing such a service makes it unviable? I’d suggest there IS a market, given the enthusiastic comments of support seen all over Joe and his fellow ‘high-end’ journalists’ sites – but the cost of maintaining the exclusivity or access to the sport to keep the product in demand is too steep.

  51. I’ll chip in, given that Joe has kindly referenced me in his argument.

    Joe gave me my first break in journalism when I was still at University, and I ended up writing features for for him for about a year. Sure I didn’t get paid, but I’ll never forget the first time I attended an F1 launch as a journalist a few years later, when a number of writers said they recognised my name from and had enjoyed reading my work. It was a huge break for me… like a small band starting out and laying free gigs at local pubs. It was my very first outlet and I will always have people like Joe and David Tremayne to thank for taking a chance on me.

    I’ve been very fortunate to land a job doing something I love, but when you look at the current landscape there are few opportunities. Haymarket have the magazine side sewn up, and the major newspapers have, for the most part, well-respected writers who have been covering the sport for decades.

    Recently, I managed to land a job as Editor of GPWeek which came to life at the start of 2008. But the costs are still the same. I don’t have a Haymarket or a News Internaional to pick up the bills. I pay my own way. There are still the bills for flights to 17 (or more) races, hotel bills, food, rental cars, etc, which as Joe says means you can pretty much wave goodbye to a hefty chunk of money before the year has even begun.

    I’m not complaining, I’m just stating fact.

    Joe’s GP+ magazine and my own GPWeek are similar concepts, but Joe’s mag relies on subscriptions and mine does not. As such, my mag makes money through advertising revenue. We need this revenue to survive and to continue providing content to our readers for free.

    Thus a sudden influx of websites taking GMM rehashed news and taking advertising revenue for publishing GMM’s work, takes potential revenue away from the likes of our publication and makes our jobs in actually attending the races and reporting from the inside, that much harder.

    I want my readers to get something individual when they read my magazine, not a simply rehash of an article they have read elsewhere. To do that I have to be in the paddock, talking to the drivers, to the teams, to my sources at teams. I need to be talking to fellow journalists from all nations, to hear what they have heard and to bring my readers a wide range of opinions.

    If I do not attend races, I cannot do this.

    I don’t want to slag any particular websites off, but I will slag off GMM. Joe is right to make the point that the longer GMM makes money off the back of what we do, the higher the prospect that a day will arrive when we can no longer afford to go racing… and then where will GMM get their news? Because it’s not as though they’re on the ground getting it themselves.

    At the races, I often sit near Joe. He is a friend and a colleague, and yet, given that we both write the majority of our copy online, we are also rivals for the same readers. But, at the same time, we discuss things, we debate, we argue, we call each other silly tossers from time to time, but we are there. We may take different opinions on what is going on, but ultimately the stories that we write will have been thought through and will be as close to the truth as we can get.

    What worries me, and I think Joe also, about GMM, is that our work is often then taken and twisted to support a completely different story, and one based not in reality. And that ultimately can lead to our reputations being dented.

    I hope this doesn’t sound like a whining rant. Because that is not what this is about. I hope that the readers of Joe’s brilliant blog will understand that we are simply concerned about our futures.

    Imagine, for a moment, that you have just spent your whole weekend on a presentation for work on Monday. You save it on your work server. Come Monday morning you go into the meeting and some weasily tossbag has gone onto the server, nicked your work, gives the presentation of your work and then gets a promotion.

    Would you be happy?

    Bet your ass you wouldn’t.

    And that’s why we, as an online community of serious writers, dislike GMM.

    Will Buxton
    Editor – GPWeek:

  52. I think this is a really valuable discussion. Technology has made it so easy to steal intellectual property, and I think most people have no idea of the consequences of such theft.

    I haven’t even heard of, much less visited, the offending sites discussed here. Having read what’s been posted, I will keep it that way. They are parasitical. There is an universal law at work here: if you support the parasite, then eventually the host dies – the “host” in this case being the serious journalists whose work is being siphoned off.

    Finally, a word to those who believe that the life of a freelancer is some sort of unearned privilege: try it yourself. It’s out there; you don’t have to wait for anyone to hire you. You’ll probably love the freedom and autonomy of being your own boss. You may even find that it outweighs the lack of job security, the absence of paid holidays and a benefit plan, the nonexistent expense accounts, and the long, grinding hours for which you cannot bill. And after a few years of unflinching discipline and commitment, you may even meet your expenses.

  53. Joe, I am confused perhaps you can clarify.

    Do you consider editorial pieces about the nature of Formula 1 to be of value even if the said editors do not actually attend the races? Or, are you of the belief that unless you are in the paddock, you should not write about what you don’t know.

    I do not really understand where the line in the sand is drawn.

    P.S: Recently you conducted an experiment trying to find a hook in which to lure more hits to your website (see: I blame the Dutch…), I would have to say that this thread will continue that experiment!

    1. Diogenes,

      Much to my amazement this thread is causing comment but not a huge hike in numbers. i think the people reading it feel strongly. The line in the sand is simple. I think that there is nothing wrong with websites writing news as long as they are not claiming to be what they are not. I see no point in people running websites when they do not have original stories. Who is going to read it? Is it really ever going to be successful? What is the point? You can have interesting opinions and if you want to use your energy to do that then I guess that is fine but I do not see the logic in running in a straight news website if you have nothing that differentiates you from the crowd. I think it is people dreaming that one day it might give them the chance to be in F1. And it is not going to work. This does not mean I have a problem with websites having opinions about news. That is different. Pitpass has no paddock involvement that I am aware of. I do not recall ever seeing Mike Lawrence or Chris Balfe at a Grand Prix (apologies if I am doing them a disservice but they are not in any way, shape or form to be considered regulars. However, the site is interesting because it is has opinions. I do not agree with all of them but that is not the point. It has a readership because it is different. The financial writing they have is the same. Christian Sylt does not go to Grands Prix, but he reads a lot of company returns. He talks to some of the right people and comes up with some interesting stories. He doesthings that others have not had the time or the interest in finding. He is trying to build himself a niche. He has had a tendency to be far too negative in his stories and so has upset a lot of people and I think that is why Bernie has taken him under his wing: to try to limit the damage by flatting Christian and to lead him where he wants him to go. But you have to take your hat off to him, he is creating original news. Where I draw the line is when you are calling yourself an insider when you are not an insider. Saying that your news is original when you are stealing it. Using such people to supply you with news when you know this is wrong. To my mind it is knowingly receiving stolen goods.

      Beyond that I have no problem with social F1 websites or people commenting on forums. There is nothing wrong with having opinions, even if they are not in the least bit sensible nor based on any kind of reality. If that is what turns you on, then that is fine. But that is not journalism…

  54. Joe, thanks again for the response. I apologize for saying you had announced your exit from this discussion. I would have sworn I read a post saying you had lost interest in it. Then again, I read this on my phone while trying to stay awake on a minimum wage night job reading dozens of other sites. My brain does bad things to me on occasion.

    At any rate, I still hope you pay attention to the main point of my previous post. That you as a content producer should be a bit more sensitive to the plight of a fellow content producer that is being a victim of piracy. No matter how much lower that other guy is and how little you think of his work, he is still someone putting some effort into doing something he believes in. Just like you.

    A PALATR blog entry about a minnow website is in very poor form for someone of your stature.

    And calling them thieves… Note to self: Look into British laws regarding libel.

    Don’t get me wrong, just yesterday I didn’t know you from Adam and after seeing your blog I have bookmarked it and plan to continue reading and maybe even commenting on it (there goes the neighborhood, I know, sorry). No axe to grind here, I just think you are doing updatesport and yourself a great disservice by letting this entry’s title stand uncorrected. Specially since you already claimed to have nothing against them which is somewhat at odds with calling them thieves and celebrating the misfortune. Which is it?

  55. Steven Roy is full of it. I think the motives of those who hate GMM should be clearer.

    Roy said the GMM guy claimed “that 50% of his stories were false, 30% were dubious and 20% were true.”

    I’ve just checked the sidepodcast post and Mr GMM said this in relation to criticism of ‘highly speculative’ stories: “Let’s imagine that the pieces that I would classify as ‘highly speculative’ turn out to be totally untrue 6 times out of 10, partially true 3 times out of 10, and completely true 1 time out of 10. Don’t you still want the media to be presenting the ‘highly speculative’ claims of other professional outlets? Don’t you want to wonder ahead of time if there’s fire where there’s smoke?”

    Let’s at least all be honest.

  56. Maybe I’m not that crazy.

    The email notifications for this thread reads somewhat differently from what is now on this page. There are some posts that don’t match. I have no idea why.

    Here is the post I had read as it appears on the notification email I received:

    There is a new comment on the post ‘Thieving from the thieves’.

    Author: joesaward

    Anyway. I am now officially bored by this thread. And am not going to add more comments to it. The points have been made and there is no need to say more.

    Which you can see how I interpreted as you announcing your exit from this thread. I don’t know what it means that I received this email but this post is not on this thread.

  57. I really don’t understand why so many sites want to syndicate to GMM regardless of the quality of the output.

    -They’re not offering something that isn’t on dozens of other GMM syndicated sites
    – There is no search engine benefit because again the same return is on dozens of other sites and sorry but it’s always the same two or three getting the top hit
    – Steve Turnbull even says the newsfeed isn’t what his site users come for, I mean why would it when they can read the same stuff elsewhere?

    So the question is, why waste your money on a service with such minimal benefits to your site? It’s cheap but not THAT cheap!

    As shocking as it is that the BBC are now peddling GMM as news as part of their gossip column (and personally I think this is far worse than a small site looking for a cheap news feed) at least they have the common sense not to pay for it. Afterall, GMM themselves don’t.

  58. @Kryonite

    If you read my original comment I said ‘from memory’. I didn’t go back and check the precise comment or any of the exchanges I have had with Mr Maitland. Since he is often reporting stories in languages he doesn’t speak you have to question how he assesses their veracity or the degree of speculation involved. This man has no more idea of what is really going on than any serious enthusiast and indeed he has less than many people I know.

    My motives are very simple. I am not a journalist. I don’t run a website. Despite many people pushing me to do so I do not have a blog. I am a motor sport fan and that is all. I comment on F1 on a number sites although of late that number has decreased but I hope only temporarily.

    My objection to GMM is very simple. I am totally and utterly fed up reading things that turn out to be complete bull. Some people believe those stories and use them as the basis of an opinion that turns out to be completely false.

    To me sites run by fans should not be reporting news as fans have no ability to say what is true or false. Fan run sites should be about opinion, history and when discussing the news should link to proper authoritative sources. I have wasted hours discussing stories in the past that turned out to be baseless.

    At the start of this year I was involved in a discussion about a statement supposedly made by the Mercedes board which GMM had translated from the utterly unreliable Bild. Needless to say all the sites who finance GMM carried this story and it gained legs as a result. Eventually someone commented on James Allen’s site asking why he was so far behind on this when everyone knew it was true. He picked up his phone and called Mercedes who said it was complete bull and killed the story stone dead.

    All the people in any way involved in the discussion of that topic which spread round many sites just wasted their time because someone in the vicinity of Adelaide has convinced gullible people to donate money to him in return for a pile of magic beans.

    It’s funny when GMM is discussed there is always one person who turns up to defend them. Use your own name Andy. Don’t hide behind a pseudonym.

    Let’s imagine that the pieces that I would classify as ‘highly speculative’ turn out to be totally untrue 6 times out of 10,

    You have to wonder why someone running a news service doesn’t know how often his highly speculative stories prove to be accurate and is not trying to find ways to improve it. It’s called quality control and is a staple aspect of all -well nearly all- businesses.

    It is the easiest thing in the world to calculate the percentages but that needs effort and Andy is not keen on that beyond ctrl+c followed by ctrl+v with the possible inclusion of a bit of online translation.

    I wonder how Andy decides to classify a story as highly speculative. Is a story in a language he does not speak highly speculative or just complete bull. According to his website Andy provides

    between 8 and 25 original, highly researched and professionally compiled Formula 1 news articles for publication every day.

    There is no mention surprisingly of highly speculative stories or complete bull.

    It makes no difference financially to me whether people give their hard earned money to this shyster. You have to ask what it is you are paying for when you can link for free to stories on reputable sites. If you are paying for GMM stories run your own statistics on him. Work out the accuracy of the stories he supplies and the stories that pass your own filtering process. Please do not support GMM as it will only encourage copycats and make it harder to find the truth from the bull.

    I ran my own stats when GMM was first pointed out to me. I started reading his stories and on first read saying whether I thought they were true or false. Guess what. I turned out to be more accurate than him and I have no inside information. Try it for yourself.

  59. “Copyright laws being as they are one can do nothing”. Are you sure about that Joe? Perhaps you meant to write, “legal fees as they are, one can do nothing…?”

    Send the dude a letter of demand and see what happens.

    Regarding false or misleading representations under Australian law, see the Trade Practices Act.

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is the federal agency administering the Trade Practice Act. Call ’em and they’ll most probably be able to advise where you stand from that point of view: +612 6243 1305,

  60. Krytonite

    While Steven Roy is getting at the issues about what is wrong with GMM you are attacking him over the percentages? And calling Steven “Full of It?”

    Granted, Steven was generous to GMM in his percentages of GMM stories being accurate by a relative percetnage of 100%. (From GMM’s 10% truthful stoires to Steven’s gift of 20%) but that’s not the issue, nor where the spread in the percentages big enough to make it the issue.

    The facts are that whichever set of percentages you use here, if my local newspaper where 20% accurate in its news reporting I would not use it as my puppy’s washroom area. I should hold other news collection agencies to the same standard. I believe that’s a part of Steven’s argument, not the percentages. I can not believe that people are actually paying for 80% mis- and dis-information.

    The real agrument has been mentioned elsewhere, that the Joe Saward’s of this world are fully entitled to profit from their own labours, and not have it swiped by weasels like GMM for their own profit.

  61. joe, while i can’t speak for many of the websites using GMM’s stories, i do think you are mistaken about updatef1 never writing original stories- they do have a magazine section which has original (and in my opinion thought provoking) opinions from steve turnbull, it has helped a young up-and-comer going by the name of Fil to get his stories picked up by Bridgestone, and it regularly publishes stories on GP2, A1GP, Indy and the fortunes of some of the promising young drivers coming up through the ranks of the sport thanks to one PaulCrossling.

    I should know these last ones are original and not just rip offs of Autosport and the like as, being a regular contibutor of the forum on the site, I requested them specifically being from a country and doing a course that doesn’t allow me the capabilities nor the time to follow ‘feeder series’ into f1 in great detail- and was amazed and gratified when a community member took it upon himself to actually answer that call. sure he doesn’t attend all the races, but i dont think i’m mistaken in thinking this is not an unusual practice even in f1.

    i’m not a fan of GMM and I think it’s a shame that updatef1 has to rely on those stories to stay alive, but I do believe steve when he says he has tried other options without success. it is on the way to carving out a niche as you describe, and i think it is only a matter of time before it weans itself off GMM entirely- i know i will continue supporting it and encouraging progress on that path.

    in the meantime, i dont believe an attempt to take the mickey out of updatef1 for being ripped off by another website by labelling it some form of street justice is very fair to the hardwork of Steve and guys like Paul & Fil who are trying to crack the market the right way- writing original, interesting stories and having them read by an interested audience. personally i love your work and regard it as one of the main reasons i’m as hooked onto f1 as i am, but this is just poor form.

  62. Oh dear you do seem to have opened up quite a can of worms! Perhaps you should remember that you are a journalist, not a brain surgeon – you don’t save lives, you write about racing cars.

    Did your parents never teach you that it is very unseemly to talk about money in public? You earn more than most ordinary people and to whinge about your privileged life, luxury or not, is very unattractive. Asking for money on a blog so that you can perpetuate this life is even more unsavoury.

    If you can’t afford to do what you do, don’t see enough of your family or whatever, than maybe it’s time to think about doing something else! Or if it is what you want to do, then do what you do best, write about cars and politics and get down from your pompous pedestal.

    1. Dear Sage,

      I know exactly what I am and what I do. I do not care one jot about your opinions with regard to how I was brought up and what I do. There is no pleasure all in providing free and informed content to people who do not appreciate it. You are right. Why would I bother?

      So on that note I am stopping this thread. My point has been made.

  63. Krytonite
    You are claiming that Steven Roy is full of it, because he underestimated how much of GMM’s output is rubbish by Mr GMM’s own admittance?

    Steven said he thought the split was 50% of his stories were false, 30% were dubious and 20% were true. The quote you found show that it is in fact “totally untrue 6 times out of 10, partially true 3 times out of 10, and completely true 1 time out of 10”.

    I’d contend only that Steven was slightly generous in his estimate, and no, I have no desire to read the same untrue rumour rehashed in four different forms over three days to meet his quota of ‘original journalism’. And then a couple of denials of the never-true story to make up another couple of articles.

    It’s even sadder to note that the BBC’s F1 gossip column is now referencing some of these sites, which is truly inexcusable.

  64. ForzaMinardi,
    Your analogy is rather ill-thought through to the point that I am unsure how to respond to it.

    There are a number of examples where your theory falls down: Firstly, Shijiazhuang Shuanghuan Automobile Co (Shuanghuan), operating out of China, is the closest applicable example that can be applied to this situation. Since 1988, Shuanghuan has turned quite a reasonable profit by stealing the Intellectual Property (almost verbatum) of BMW and Mercedes (see: One can argue that this is a very unqiue case that is unlikely to make a dent in the coffers of the big manufactures, that however, is a fairly short-sited perspective. Other companies, including, Chery Automobile (see: Chery QQ), Geely Motors (see: Geely Merrie 300) and Derways Automotive (see: Dadi Shuttle) are demonstrating exactly how ineffective modern international Intellectual Property laws are.

    Back to the point, however, it is obvious by the success of these companies that when consumers are presented with two options, one of a slightly less quality, they will gravitate towards the cheaper yet not as well conceived option.
    I feel we are getting gravely off course here, however.
    For those of you who are savvy media junkies you will know that Murdoch, Jnr has heavily criticized news aggregators over the last few months. His point, like Joe’s, is that good journalism depends upon a steady stream of revenue, and, without that revenue there will not be good journalism.
    Unlike Joe, however, I am unsure how to approach this problem: I am well aware of it, and understand the vast importance it represents, but I cannot see a practical solution.

    It is very refreshing, by the way, to see Mr C (From SidePodcast), Steve (from UpdateF1), Joe Saward and a flock of other contributors discussing such an important problem.

    P.S I respect Steve (from Updatef1) highly for the work he has done with Updatef1: from his young writer support to his very precise editorials. I hope you do not feel attacked by my contributions, Steve.

  65. Note to Joe: forget the Australian laws regarding false advertising and look into the basic principles of laws regarding libel.

  66. I have been following this discussion with some interest. I thin Steve Turnball has made some gerat arguments for the cause of UpdateF1 and have since visited the site and read a number of the Magazine pieces and found them to be of exceptional standards. I have actually bookmarked the site and will continue to visit in future for these insites.

    I’m not sure that blaming a website of effectivly “recieving slolen goods” is either fair nor called for and would say borders on Liabous…not a fact more a opinion. and I would also say that having enjoyed reading a lot of your perivious work I have found this blog entery somewhat bitter and more of a personal ventetta as a informed and enjoyable read.

    Having spoken to a friend of mine I have also found out that Updatef1 (a site he already new of and followed) had a number of articals relating to the breakaway threat that where not published on other websites until quite some time after they where published on Updatef1…. he mentioned that he has noticed that the GMM stories are always clearly marked as GMM and he remembers noticing that there have been a number of well informed stories publised in the past with no metion to GMM, so perhaps there is some investigative journalism happining there even if it is in the lower percentile of the number of stories being published on a monthly basis.

    but I do feel you’ve been a bit harsh on this occasion, attack GMM sure thing but not Updatef1.

  67. Agreeing with the line in the sand, noted above, and the futility of many epi-journalistic efforts.

    That ignores that the network effects on advertising pricing change much faster than they ever did when we had copy dates to imposition. Algorithmic keyword advertising merely automates the dilution. Having worked on numerous print first-issue magazines, i learned the hard way how lack of real editorial connexion with the sport or business you deal in costs sales. (and amusingly, in transit, the commision earnable if you could make a sale for a nonentity) In contrast, i still boggle at how easy it is to shift ad impressions on the web, but yet so hard to realize decent rates, for the obverse reasons.

    Bluntly, this is no different from selling naked short commodity contracts without having to deliver either the underlying commodity, nor even the contract price difference. The whole world is short advertising. I see this as a genuine medium term threat to journalism.

    I have no data pertinent to the effect of copy-cat-regurgitation-sites on front of house ad sales at name magazine titles. Presently the battle is piece by piece reverse engineering of the effects of a closed – auction system run by a rent – seeking intermediary. In other words, the financial effects of rip-offs are temporarily economically less significant in local, domain – specific terms, (taken aggregate) than the careful inefficiency of bid-offer mechanisms, which are near monopoly (compared at least before every ad agency went multi – initial :-))

    I am still unsure as to my motives to post here – whether they are in support of Mr Saward per se, or out of self interest in the debate. In terms of how just a few are interested, (no wider traffic to this page) and the idea that problems as the subject here surely will all straighten out in due course, whilst the Hunt Brothers failed, fortunes are made by markets being slow to catch on widely. Sometimes they superannuate careers.

    To understand better my comments, consider you publish the Financial Times, offer it for free, with free delivery. That is much of the internet today. (and i worked on profitable magazines which, in very limited ways achieved that tripos, but within cycles) So where is the expense, and where is the benefit? Certainly not in the old author – sub – editor – layout – impression – 4up mechanism. By placing that in the putative control of individual authors, there has been a collective bypass of business managers attuned to the lossage / inefficiencies. Divide and rule, you have to love it. That this blog is a experiment as well as an excellent read piques my interest at levels beyond F1 intrigue 🙂

    kind regards to all – v. interesting thread all around,

    – j

  68. FAO (especially): Allan Walsh,

    you’ve quoted general trade passing – off and trade dress rules, which would be a real stretch here, and usually not even admitted to court by the Master (legal bouncer if you like, for the UK)

    when you draft a claim, hit the main points, use fuzzy stuff like trade dress (which can include product appearance, deception etc but is laborious to say the least to prove) as run-arounds, diversions. You’re quite a bit off target.

    Key points in copyright: substantiality, originality, similarity.

    Expanding that:

    substantiality: how much is the same, word for word, similar phrase for similar phrase? (or even typography, in limited case)

    originality: what says the claimed infringing work is derivative AND must have to be derivative, without actual originality?

    similarity: this is about the whole body of work. across however much is entered into evidence (ref above this is why trade dress etc. tends to be poor in trial, over years of output e.g.) you ask the question ~ is the *effect* to replicate?

    now, if you get prima facie evidence of intent, you’ve got them by the balls. Point above i made was that generally, punitive damage does not arise anymore from statutory criminal intent to abuse and profit, is awarded anyway. That’s the kind of judement short-hand which leads to potential censorship via penalty – threat.

    You cite AUS code. Not far from the tree because of Privy Council etc.

    Now, these arguments are just why certain parties can mess about as de facto advertising agents now. Too simple to just say i’ll make a sub to a magazine. Drop in the ocean. Same as citing law ~ instead it’s necessary to see the progressions from oversight to societal forgiveness of misdemeanor bordering on the criminal.

    all best to all, even if the ROW isn’t exactly listening 🙂


    – john

  69. Good to see Will Buxton getting a word in – I am a great fan of GPWeek and will continue to be so.

    Just to reiterate, I make no claims for the soundness and viability of GMM and have made that clear, but I do believe that the original copy at is of a standard that I, and my readers, are happy with.

    Yes, we peddle f1 ‘gossip’ as supplied by GMM, but it is always put in a section entitled exactly that – ‘F1 Gossip’.

    I respect Joe’s arguments on the point of regurgitated news, and Will’s view too, but I have always made clear that I write from a fans perspective (a very, very dedicated fan as my readers know, one who has been to many races – F1 and otherwise – and who simply loves motor racing.

    To be fair, I investigated using AFP and reuters for their agency news, and found little difference in the quality provided.

    I will always read Joe’s work for I consider him a fan like myself, but acknowledge that he is closer to the real thing than I will ever be. My readers know that – I don;t make claims otherwise.

    This has become an interesting discussion, and I have taken on board some of the comments made and acknolwedge that they come from people I respect; I hope, however, that the comment about ‘Thieving from the thieves’ – we do, after all, pay – is not taken to heart.

    Unlike many sites that utilise GMM material we have, in the past (and will in the future) carried original interviews – more correctly Q&A sessions – with drivers and personnel who were more than happy to talk to us. Unlike many of the rival sites (and I note one that changed its name to one very similar to ours, presumably to grab some of our traffic) we don’t simply publish, verbatim, everything GMM supply.

  70. I don’t understand what’s going on. I read F1 news every day of my life and there are some prominent sources. Today I saw Franck Montagny said some things to a Canadian radio, I saw Mercedes confirm some talks with Heidfeld, I heard that Rossi is going to test a Ferrari again. They all emanated from the agency in question. And I don’t see what these stories have to do with being in the paddock or not. News is news.

    Methinks Mr Saward is guilty of sour grapes (not to mention libel): in all the articles I refer to, the third party source was clearly identified. In all instances, said agency was as far as I could see the only source of said news in English (so far). Do you want English-speaking readers to not know about this news asap? And how could telling readers about this news be illegal if the actual sources are identified? I don’t see them trying to hide the sources. Criticising quality is one thing, but they are being accused of doing things that are not legal. I think that is absolutely wrong.

    If said agency is making it difficult for you to survive financially, I think that is a real shame. But I don’t hear you telling us about Montagny/Heidfeld/Rossi today. There are some people who just want to know and don’t care about all this noise.

  71. Well, you can believe what you wish to believe. We will see what comes true and what does not come true. I am completely fed up with being insulted by people who come to this blog for free insight and give me nothing but criticism. If you don’t like it, go read something else. if GMM is your thing, then feel free to read it.

    I am sufficiently disenchanted with the feedback today that I may simply shut down the blog.

    Why should I bother to waste my time?

  72. Joe, you are not wasting your time. The great majority of readers and posters appreciate what you do enormously – that’s why we keep coming back.

    That said, I admit I am astonished at the ignorance and rudeness shown by a small few. And I’m sure it’s those few that will stick in your memory rather than the many messages of support, because for some reason we humans are like that. I would very much regret to see you pull the plug. But I wouldn’t blame you.

    The great thing about the internet is that it’s a party to which everyone is invited. The problem with the internet is that it’s a party to which everyone is invited.

  73. Joe,

    Don’t let this debate impact the good work you do here. Those that don’t like it will go elsewhere.

    To risk a summary of the debate so far:

    * There is a lot of antipathy towards GMM, though some don’t care.
    * UpdateF1 has probably come out of this quite well, the point about the good work there balancing one’s view of the value of their GMM content. My guess is Joe recognizes the good work part of it.
    * This is just a microcosm of the whole “internet is free, we are all journalists, journalism as we know it will vanish” debate.
    * It’s impossible to say what the future model of all of this will be, but if there is a demand for quality work, at some point a way will be found for it to be achieved.
    * A lot of good people, businesses and business models will fall by the wayside before that new model emerges. We may be unhappy with what we get in the meantime.

    My hope is that others will support me in supporting Joe (and others like him).



  74. Once again another great post, theres so much rubbish news out there that just isn’t news and it makes people such as yourself suffer which just isn’t acceptable. Journalists such as yourself are the heart of the Formula 1 paddock and if someone in some room somewhere is just making things up means that we loose the informed news sources and opinions such as yourself, then a part of Motorsport dies.

    If you don’t believe what Joe is saying, write down each GMM news article you find, and see how many actually are true (using proper news sources).

    Any more of this rubbish, uninformed, (I refuse to call it news) and it ruins everyones enjoyment.

  75. @ michael E

    The problem is that you have to pay that agency if you want those shiny news stories on your page but that agency keeps all the money to itself without reimbursing their sources.

    And on a side-note: On quite a few articles they got the translation from the foreign source wrong at least the ones from German and Finnish sources.
    Another thing is if you read an article and you see the source is The Sun or another tabloid you won’t take it to seriously (at least I hope you won’t) but do you know if for example Iltasanomat is a reliable newspaper? So ‘news’ from this Finnish tabloid suddenly gets spread all over the world and taken as fact when in reality it was just something someone made up to see his name printed.

  76. 1. Buying and selling stolen goods is wrong; it promotes stealing.
    2. Saying your product is what it is not is also wrong: it promotes stealing and lying.
    3. Using another’s product and not acknowledging that it belongs to them is wrong; it promotes cheating

    The GMM and UpdateF1 brigade has come out to protect their own – which unfortunately is a weakness of free speech on the internet, but bottom line is that Joe Saward is right and the other side is wrong – this is a choice that any moral person must always make. A murderer can have reasons for murder but that doesn’t make murder moral, right or legal.

  77. Joe, I am saddened that my last post didn’t make it past moderation. I am trying to like you and your site as you come highly recommended. I have also been nothing but respectful and thoughtful about this whole issue.

    My point, for one last time, remains the same. No matter how little you like updatesport, they are not thieves in any commonly accepted use of the word. And making fun of someone’s misfortune is not only inappropriate because of your stature but also because there is nothing preventing you from being the next victim.

    I hope you continue your good work now that I have just discovered you. Do not be discouraged by a couple of loud mouths. They will always be there, no matter what you chose to do.

    I do not think anyone has been terribly rude or antagonistic in what has made it past moderation (and have no way of knowing what is it that hasn’t). It just has come to a point where it is clear that in your original post you were wrong about a couple of details. Apologize and carry on. No big deal.

  78. Wasting your time, joe? Where are you wasting your time? You took a well aimed shot at gmm and, to a lesser and …in my opinion…undeserved extent at updatef1, and because some fail to agree with you that is wasting your time? I have colossal respect for you, as you, roebuck and my father are the reasons I started to write, but to be this upset by such an insignificant bunch of comments? Keep writing, and keep ranting.

    1. Steve,

      It was just two or three of these people in a row on a grumpy kind of day. This afternoon I went for a long walk in the woods with my son and I am sure that when I have a glass in my hand and a fire in the hearth in a bit I will feel less irritable about it. I am touched by your words and I am sorry if you feel I was too tough. Maybe I was but I do have real trouble with people paying GMM. We can all do what he does. It is not rocket science. But some of us have to earn use the time we have to earn more to break even…

  79. I am utterly appalled by the attitudes of many in this thread.

    It beggars belief that people feel it appropriate to take such a disrespectful tone towards Joe Saward.

    As Steve has quite rightly pointed out, Joe Saward is an incredibly gifted writer who does far more for his readership than one should expect.

    Not only do we, the readership, get an insiders understanding of the F1 circus but we get unfettered access to query, ponder and comment on his articles. A quick glance at his blog will demonstrate that when relevant Joe even responds to these queries and comments.

    Joe, if you feel it wise to charge for this blog, or, entrench it within GrandPrix+ I will most definitely pay for the privilege.

    It is not important whether or not we accept Joe’s attack as justified, nor is it necessarily important if you are personally hurt by it.

    I am utterly bewildered that one or two of you are reveling in Joe’s frustration to the point that you celebrate the (potential) closing of his blog.(1)

    Joe, a personal note that I hope you take to heart: I, and I am sure hundreds if not thousands of others take great pleasure reading your blog. If you feel that the vocal minority represent the larger readership than I urge you to either charge for this content, or, let them bathe in their own misery as you continue to enrich the lives of many many others.

    (1) Reference made to a forum post.

  80. Might I belatedly weigh in with the suggestion that those – like me – who genuinely look forward to a new post on this blog express their gratitude and enthusiasm by clicking on the PayPal button in the top right corner of the page. Others here have said they would pay for this content. I feel the same, and so I did pay. 🙂

    As the Tesco lady says, every little helps!

    One other question Joe – are page impression counts of any relevance to you here or on I have all advertising hidden, so have no idea if you have ads on this site. I normally read your RSS feeds, but could visit “in person” if it makes any difference.

  81. Intellectual property theft may involve the intangible, but it’s still theft. The argument that it’s OK for an entity to copy someone’s work and then publish it verbatim for the world to see – without getting permission from the author – fails to recognise that there are commercial and moral rights bound up in any “creative work”. In essence, the author is supposed to be in control of what happens to his or her work unless he or she voluntarily passes those rights on. Publication on the internet – even for free – does not renege or diminish those rights in any way, shape or form.

    The situation is somewhat analogous to someone who has a CD containing a track they like, converting it into MP3 format and then sticking the track on a file-sharing website – without checking to see if this is OK with the creators of the track. The debate has had some controversies, but by now I think most people accept that file-sharing without the permission of whoever created said file is wrong.

    For an entity to then bill a customer for the privilege, with the idea of profiting from the act, not giving the originating talent any contribution and not even bothering to ask compounds the crime. That’s like charging for the downloading of someone else’s track on a file-sharing site without getting permission from the creators of said track or even suggesting that they should receive any money from it.

    From the evidence we have seen, the latter is the closest analogy to what GMM is doing – and several of us have caught it in the act, aided by the near-impossibility of removing anything permanently from the internet. This is why describing GMM as a thief is not an act of libel. I do not think Joe ever intended to suggest UpdateF1 was a thief, only that it had received stolen goods and in turn had had them stolen by Daily-F1. Whether UpdateF1 knew they were stolen before this entry was posted is another question (I suspect not, given the tone of some of Steve Turnbull’s responses, which makes me feel better about them).

    Reuters and AFP may not be any more accurate, but to the best of my knowledge they do at least source their information in an ethical and legal fashion.

    To me, the right course of action would be for UpdateF1 to either switch news supplier or persuade GMM to provide it with legally-compliant stuff ASAP. In the latter case, it would get the additional benefit of receiving better-quality material because the sort of people who are bothered about legal compliance also tend to pay more attention to quality than those who give such matters little attention.

    As for Joe, keep up the good work. With this thread, you’ve already set straight several people’s ideas regarding journalism and information handling. You’ve helped spread the message far and wide that news should have standards and we need to be honest about what we are. Respect also for being honest for trying to do something about these problems by bringing them into the light (and how honest, accurate summations constitute libel remains a mystery).

    You’re an absolute treasure to the F1 blogosphere 🙂 .

    PS: I’m not sure if WordPress has the facility, but if there’s a “Disable Replies to Entry” function, that could come in useful in case of future undesired flame wars.

  82. Wow! I too have been away for a few days and am up reading all this when I should have gone to bed an hour ago.

    Bottom line is, keep up the good work Joe and “don’t let the b*****rds drag you down.”

  83. Thanks to Jordan and Lisa for leaping to my defence.
    However you are both slightly inaccurate in your response.

    What Krytonite quoted and what Mr Maitland said originally was that 10% of his “highly speculative” stories turn out to be true. He did not say 10% of his entire content is true. I assume from this he labels the content he supplies as “factual”, “speculative” or “highly speculative” so that the people receiving the feed know how accurate an item is likely to be.

    No. I don’t believe that either although I would be happy for one of his customers to tell me I am wrong. I assume his highly speculative stories are only classed as such after the fact.

    I would suggest that anyone who uses GMM gossip to attract traffic would find it a lot more fun to make up their own and ask commenters on their site to make up their own. You will get a lot more interaction from your commenters as a result. Twitter regulalry has items marked #GMM which are far more entertaining than anything supplied by the original.

  84. Joe: Don’t get disheartened by the negative comments. You aren’t going to change this with a short blog post now and then, this was always going to need a lengthy and at times empassioned debate and I thank you for holding it here.
    Looking at the names it seems to me that many people agree with you and a vocal minority are kicking up a fuss. Hopefully it will be enough to convince some site owners to change their ways, drop the agency and either get news from elsewhere or create more original content. I have a feeling we aren’t going to convince the owner of the agency.

    Personally I’ve never seen the attraction of a hundred websites saying the same thing. I get my news from and, and if we want the press releases they are available on

    Steven and Alianora: Those were stunning responses, brilliant stuff.

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