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Who owns the copyright?

Who owns the copyright?

A story from Amalgamated Press to Fleetway to Mirror Group to IPC.

From a modern viewpoint IPC are the predominant copyright owners of football magazines. This is based on the past companies that amalgamated and the modern efforts since IPC launched in 1963.Pinpointing exactly how far IPC's roots stretch back into the midst of publishing history is a complicated business. The International Publishing Corporation Ltd was formed in 1963 following the merger of the UK's three leading magazine publishers – George Newnes, Odhams Press and Fleetway Publications – who came together with the Mirror Group to form the International Publishing Corporation (IPC). And IPC Magazines was created five years later, in 1968. But those three original magazine businesses each had their own illustrious history, having been established in 1881, 1890 and 1880 respectively, with a number of the titles they launched in the late 19th Century still being published today under the IPC umbrella.

IPC nowadays owns the copyright to Sport Budget, Football Weekly, Soccer Star, World Soccer, Goal, Shoot, 90 minutes and Goal Monthly. To understand the current position you have to understand the history.

In 1888 a Victorian gentleman called Alfred Charles William Harmsworth launched a magazine called Answers, which, while having nothing to do with comics, made him enough money to start a new title called Comic Cuts (17 May 1890). Comic Cuts was the first halfpenny comic paper, and included cartoons and strips mainly taken from American humour papers: so popular was it, that by 1892 Harmsworth could boast a readership of two and half million a week!

In 1901, Harmsworth's many publishing businesses were brought together and called The Amalgamated Press (AP). Harmsworth was an early pioneer of tabloid journalism. He bought several failing newspapers and made them into an enormously profitable chain, primarily by appealing to the popular taste. He began with The Evening News in 1894, and then merged two Edinburgh papers to form the Edinburgh Daily Record. On 4 May 1896, he began publishing the Daily Mail in London, which was a hit, holding the world record for daily circulation until Harmsworth's death; taglines of The Daily Mail included "the busy man's daily journal" and "the penny newspaper for one halfpenny". Prime Minister Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, said it was "written by office boys for office boys".<Actinic:Variable Name = '2'/> Harmsworth then transformed a Sunday newspaper, the Weekly Dispatch, into the Sunday Dispatch, then the highest circulation Sunday newspaper in Britain. Harmsworth also founded The Daily Mirror in 1903, and rescued the financially desperate Observer and The Times in 1905 and 1908, respectively. In 1908, he also acquired The Sunday Times. He was later knighted becoming Lord Northcliffe.

On his death in 1922, The Amalgamated Press was one of the largest publishers in the world, and they remained faithful to their original tenet: they were also the largest publishers of children’s comics.

Amalgamated Press (AP) was based in Fleetway House, Farringdon Street, London, and it was from there that their many products were created.

AP was bought up by the Mirror Group in 1959 - and in the same year AP's rival publishing company, Hulton (publisher of Dan Dare's flagship Eagle) was taken over by Odhams Press. One year later Odhams was renamed Longacre Press (1960). One year further on (1961) the Mirror Group (which now included AP) took over Longacre Press and with it the title Eagle and ownership of Dan Dare.

In 1963 the Mirror Group was renamed International Publishing Corporation Ltd (IPC. The name of Fleetway was still used to identify the comic’s magazine publishing arm of IPC, although some comics were published in IPC's name.

In 1987 all comics were collected into the Fleetway arm and sold to Robert Maxwell. In 1991, the Fleetway Division was bought from Maxwell by Egmont , who merged it with their own British based comic publishing division, London Editions, to create Fleetway Editions. At some point after 2002 the name of Fleetway Editions ceased to be used by Egmont on its publications. Fleetway House was re-named Fleetway Egmont House.

Current football copyright owners


Sport Budget, Football Weekly, Soccer Star, World Soccer, Goal, Shoot, 90 minutes and Goal Monthly. In 2020 Kelsey Media took over World Soccer.



DC Thomson

Topical Times


Match Weekly


Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, Four Four Two, and When Saturday Comes.