Big Pictures – one of the world?s biggest celebrity picture agencies – has launched an amateur paparazzi service. However, the agency does not believe that the scheme will heighten the danger of a UK privacy law. aims to make it easier for the public to submit digital images for a share of the commission.

The service allows members of the public to submit images taken on mobile phone or digital camera – the commission depending on the value the agency places on the image.

Darryn Lyons, chairman of the London-based agency, told AP yesterday: ?We don?t make the decision until they come in. It all depends on what the picture is? we might say that it is worth £100, we might say that it is worth £20,000. It is all down to what the situation may be.?

The Mr Paparazzi service is free to register and the public can submit images by MMS text message.

Photographers can expect to earn 50% of all licensing fees.

The agency is also launching a service through which the public can receive texts alerting them to celebrity sightings.

However, Lyons brushes aside any suggestion that the new venture will increase the danger of a UK privacy law asserting: ?Everyone?s got mobile phones these days. The fact of the matter is that this is not new. We have been getting people to bring pictures into this office over the past 18 months on the back of the Paparazzi TV series.? And he points out that newspapers and TV companies ? such as Sky TV – also urge the public to submit pictures.

On its website the agency warns the public to respect the privacy of celebrities. ?Always make sure you use your common sense when getting a photo. There is no point sending us pics that abuse or invade another person?s privacy and which are unlawful, offensive, hateful or inflammatory in any way – they won?t get printed and you could get into serious trouble.?

Lyons believes that his agency is better placed to negotiate a deal with a newspaper or a magazine than would be possible by going direct to pictures desks. ?We are the biggest celebrity picture agency in the world and we know what the pictures are worth,? he claimed. ?Someone might have a goldmine sitting in their camera, video camera or mobile phone so why shouldn?t they make some money? They might sell it to a newspaper for £250 when it?s worth £250,000.?

Lyons continued: ?There are plenty of great freelance photographers out there who I?m sure come across these pictures from time to time and don?t know what to do with them. Now were are offering a service where they can do something with them.?

Big Pictures also accepts images by amateurs and freelance photographers sent in by email to the agency?s picture desk at The pictures must be of a well?known celebrity (preferably A-list), current, well exposed, in focus and ?of printable quality?, says the agency, adding: ?We are looking for picture exclusives where you were the only photographer present, or where you have a completely different angle on the shot. You should aim to get information about the photograph or series over to us as soon as possible.?

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The second series of Paparazzi – which follows Big Pictures photographers – is now being screened on BBC1 on Wednesdays at 10.40pm.