Have Taxpayers Alliance paid for using HMRC copyright?

2:26 pm - February 26th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    

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As we all know, the Taxpayers’ Alliance are a very well-funded organisation. They have a lot of researchers and employees, though curiously won’t go into detail of who gives them their money.

Anyway, you would also think they’d do everything by the book.

So they have a new campaign, launched today, against the Beer Tax. I’m sure they were for deficit reduction, but it looks like they may be confused. Or they would rather that benefits for disabled people be cut than taxes rise on beer.

Here is one of the images they’ve been using in their promotional material.

I believe that’s their chief executive Matt Sinclair.

So I called them about half-an-hour ago to ask if they’d paid to license the image of the taxman from the HMRC. Hector the Taxman was the ‘advertising figurehead’ of the Inland Revenue under the Labour government.

I’ve not heard back yet from the TPA. A simple yes or no will do guys!

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments

I suspect they’d argue fair dealing, on the grounds that this is non-commercial research/education and that it has no commercial impact on the copyright holder (since Hector was ‘retired’ in 2001, and his image is no longer used by HMRC).

If you’re interested (and clearly you are!) in the ins and outs of copyright law, then have a look at the underlying act.

It is funny when the deficit fetishists drop their masks. It’s all about tax cuts for their rich donors. They don’t really care about the deficit. Tax cuts for the rich is their real agenda. Hence why they are so ashamed of revealing who funds them.

Just another astro turf billionaire funded bullshit outfit.

You’ve republished the image yourself so presumably (a) you’ve got permission yourself, or (b) you understand the concept of fair use but think it applies only to yourself.

4. Richard Carey

@ 2

“It’s all about tax cuts for their rich donors.”

Yeah, because only rich people drink beer, right?

@ 3


“I believe that’s their chief executive Matt Sinclair.”

Which one?

I think it says a lot about Labour’s mindset that they thought ‘Hector’ was a friendly-sounding name for the tax man – much like ‘Pester’ the Alcohol Abstention Advisor, ‘Nosey’ the CCTV Operative and ‘Aggro’ the Defence Consultant.

7. Simon Whitten

Sunny, are you suggestion that those using government copyrights for the purposes of satire or protest are doing something wrong? Really?


A much better point of course had it not been introduced in 1995.

Taxdodgers Alliance – Accurate Name

The really interesting thing about Hector is that it was a marketing stroke of genius. Developed in-house for virtually nothing, it had instant brand recognition (to the extent that the the TPA are using it now, 12 years after it was canned, and everyone knows what it means).

And then it was cancelled and replaced by endless celebrities at vastly more expense, and much less impact. Even when Government gets it right, it gets it wrong.

You know, a thought occurs. Wouldn’t HMRC taking action to enforce copyright be a HUGE blow against peaceful protest?

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