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A major newspaper steals a blogger’s photograph!!

May 30, 2008

One hears of bloggers infringing copyright but have you ever heard of a major “reputed” publication stealing a blogger’s work? Well, here is an instance. I got a shock to see that a reputed newspaper like the Hindustan Times had stolen a photograph of mine. I say stole because I have not been given any credit for the same. This newspaper is a commercial entity and therefore has no right to publish anyone’s work without payment and acknowledgment. If this photograph had been used with acknowledgment and for non-commercial use I would have said nothing. But this paper with so many photographers at its beck and call has the temerity to steal a photograph of a blogger who makes no money from her work!

Here it is as it appeared on the middle page of the newspaper below Rajdeep Sardesai’s column. The headline of the article caught my eye as I am interested in the subject and in fact have written on tuitions. I wanted to check if the writer has stolen my work…I have come across some such instances…and well, I discovered that the article is original, but the photo is mine! I took it out near my house and have used it on this blog. The only reason I saw this picture is because I subscribe to Hindustan Times. Did they think that because I am a Mumbai blogger I wouldn’t find out? Here is the article in which the photograph taken by me appeared – in today’s Mumbai edition:

copyright violation

copyright violation2

copyright infringement3

I have used this photo in this article of mine titled Impact of coaching classes on a nation’s psyche. And I can easily prove that the picture is mine because I had cropped the picture. I have the original picture with me which is much larger…and well the larger picture also means a high resolution one. There is no way they can try to cheat me!! Well, I am writing to them too…but my past experience with newspapers is not leaving me hopeful. There is a newspaper I used to write for which stole my ideas but when I protested (I even met the editor) she gave me sweet talk but no compensation. I let it go as I had been writing for the newspaper (as a freelancer) for 2 years. So I know that big newspapers do this kind of thing, but it’s difficult to prove it.

Added Later: After Amit’s comment I realised that the best way to publicize this is other bloggers write about this. I would really appreciate if they did. Thanks.

Update, 8th September 08: The stealing from bloggers goes on unabated. Here are 3 recent examples.
1. Hindustan Times, for a  Ganpati festival story, stole a beautiful photograph from Archana and you can read about it here. She might be suing the Hindustan Times.
2. Just a little earlier, Times of India stole a picture from Twilight Fairy and you can read about it here.
3. And there is Meeta who had a picture plus article stolen by the Times of India. You can read about it here.
4. Srinidhi Hande had a photograph stolen by the Times of India which you can read about here.

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155 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2008 5:13 pm

    hi!
    wow! maybe u should contact them
    and tell them u discovered this!!!!!!!

    Francina, I am doing that and in fact added that in my post. Thank you!! – Nita.

  2. May 30, 2008 5:18 pm

    You must tell them Nita. Now I think I should post a copyright notice whenever I post a photo.

    hi Francina 🙂

    Cheers
    Suda

    I just wrote to them in as controlled manner as possible at this email. letters@hindustantimes.com and this is what I wrote:

    Dear sirs/madam,
    This is to bring to you notice that in today’s Hindustan times on the middle page in the article titled Towards Getting it Write you have used a photograph which I have taken myself. As your newspaper is a commerical venture you have no right to steal my photo which I have used on my blog. This photo is taken near my house and the original (which I have with me) is much larger and also of a higher resolution. It is easy to prove that you guys have stolen my picture. I want an immediate apology and also please send me a cheque for the photograph. I have already written about this on my blog so if you think you can ignore this letter, sorry. You can’t get away.
    Thanks but no regards for whoever has done this to a writer and photographer who makes absolutely no money from her work.
    Nita.

  3. May 30, 2008 5:26 pm

    Hi

    I’d suggest you take some real actions against these guys and make sure they give credit / compensation to your work.

    It’s unethical use of material. Guess you are sending them a notice.

    Ram N

    A legal notice you mean? Hadn’t thought of that but now you mention it maybe I think I should do that. Thanks. – Nita.

    Later: I found out that first one has to write to the editor and if he/she doesn’t respond one has to complain to the press council of India.

  4. May 30, 2008 6:11 pm

    Nita, this is really shameful. I remember when some Indian web portal plagiarised some recipes from an Indian food blogger’s blog, the whole community of food bloggers was up in arms and kept the pressure up. Maybe it’s time to make use of the Indian Bloggers groups – DesiPundit, BlogBharati etc. to publicize this and spread the news. That may put some pressure on HT.

    That’s a good idea Amit. I was hoping for bloggers to support me. I think I shall write to desipundit. Thanks. – Nita.

  5. May 30, 2008 6:27 pm

    Ah this is just a hilarious, as it’s ridicilious as it’s outragous. Keep your stance and don’t let them get away with. It says a whole lot about their views on journalism I think. (Not that I’m a saint – at least they can spell… sigh poor me)

    Get it out there! Oh and as a good soldier I will be doing my part and blog about it. It’s the least we fellow bloggies can do.

    Good Luck!

    Thanks Purnima! 🙂 – Nita.

  6. May 30, 2008 6:28 pm

    Unbelievable, but not surprised, Nita. Who would expect a single blogger to take on the might HT, eh?

    So sorry to see this. How petty 😦 I can imagine poor bloggers borrowing pictures from mainstream media. But we always make it a point to credit them. At least give credit.

    Is this ignorance about how the Net works? Or just smugness?

    Very eager to know what happens next. Please update us.
    Waiting…waiting…

    SS

    Snigdha, I was surprised initially but am not now. I guess I have been a little naive to think that bollywood is a major culprit. Our media is not better! I think it is laziness and a stinginess on the part of newspapers. I have worked closely with publications and know how they operate. They want to steal ideas from unknown freelancers and have their own staffers write the articles. And they pay celebrity journalists huge amounts to write crap. – Nita.

  7. May 30, 2008 6:30 pm

    I am unsure of International Copyright but in the United States I copyrighht register all of my images with teh Copyright Office in Washington DC. This allows me a firm legal stance when requesting compensation. I would look into your copyright options and pursue it from there.

    I guess I haven’t bothered to protect my pictures. I should have, but never thought they were good enough to copy! In fact even this picture which the newspaper stole is nothing great, its a trifle blurred as I took it from a moving car. But if they stole this it shows how desperate they are – Nita.

  8. May 30, 2008 6:37 pm

    Sure, I will also write about it! I am always waiting for a chance to shame one of those notorious “mainstream media” scoundrels! 😡

    Thanks Raj. 🙂 – Nita.

  9. May 30, 2008 6:56 pm

    they gotta be sued..how can they do this..this is the second instance of plagiarism I am reading today, and this is absolutely intolerable

    Intolerable is the word. I am very disturbed about this as I am a journalist myself. – Nita.

  10. May 30, 2008 7:03 pm

    Hey it’s because I don’t have the time and the lack of creativity – but maybe somebody (or you) can pick up on this, make a blogging tag about the whole ordeal – it will spread a lot faster.

    Good luck again!

  11. May 30, 2008 7:14 pm

    Nita, I just blogged about it, as you can see from the pingback. At first, I titled the article, “Major Newspaper….” but then it occurred to me that by naming the paper in the title it might get more attention. So, I’m urging everyone to please name the paper in the titles of your posts on this.

    Thanks for your support Paul. You are a good friend. – Nita.

  12. May 30, 2008 7:31 pm

    Nita,

    Can I use the third photograph? 😉 🙂

    And by the way, where is that toilet paper published from?

    Ofcourse you need to use the photo!! And you are welcome. And it’s a Delhi newspaper. 🙂 – Nita.

  13. May 30, 2008 7:35 pm

    Thanks Paul. I found out from the HT site that the paper makes a lot of money. Here it is from their own site:

    HT Media reported 2007 annual revenue of $245 million. For the fiscal third quarter ended December 31, 2007, the company reported a 13% increase in revenue to $82 million and a 10% increase of profit after tax (PAT) to $9 million from the year-ago quarter.

    And more:

    HT Media has also launched a national business newspaper, Mint, with an exclusive agreement with Wall Street Journal to publish Journal branded news and information in India.

    They want to aim high….Wall Street Journal!!

  14. May 30, 2008 7:46 pm

    Nita, they are not only stealing from you, but in doing so, they are also depriving their own photographers of work. And with a $9 million profit for the quarter?!?!? Methinks they can afford to pay for their photos!

    Yeah, they are a rich newspaper aren’t they! I agree they are depriving their own photographers of work…or look at it this way…they need to hire fewer photographers if they steal a few photos once in a while! – Nita.

  15. May 30, 2008 7:52 pm

    FWIW, add a Creative Commons 3.0 license link in your blog which specifies that you do not agree to commercial uses of your photos. That won’t deter sploggers but is legally binding against someone like HT.

    But write to the CEO and the Editor and everyone in HT. If that doesn’t work, you may try writing to ToI 😉

    Lekhni, I had that on my blog in the first year but when I read that there is no need for it I took it away. As per copyright laws nothing can be copied, whether that is said or not. I am sure about this. After that I put a Do Not Copy sign on my blog…and according to the press council of India rules HT has done something unethical and even without the notice on my blog I can sue them if I wish to. In any case it’s written in my about page that my images are copyrighted. – Nita.

  16. May 30, 2008 8:20 pm

    This is a totally unethical act on the part of someone like the mighty HT. I fully support you in this “war” (well thats what it seems to be brewing into 🙂

    Thanks for your support Kiran! – Nita.

  17. May 30, 2008 9:44 pm

    OH ! a national newspaper ???? where are their ethics??????
    This is outrageous.Fight til you get justice !

    Thanks Xylene! I intend to fight, but first I’ll give them a chance to make amends. Let me wait till monday or tuesday – Nita.

  18. May 30, 2008 9:59 pm

    In my experience – offices, newspapers and the whole lot respond if you send them a fax instead of an email. Get hold of the fax numbers (esp those of the editor etc) and send them a few. Thing is, once it’s printed on paper, and they have received it they can’t pretend not to notice it. For some reason, they don’t take email seriously…

    Neha, I agree. I have noticed this as well. I think most people in Indian offices are not net savvy..! well, what other reason can there be! But anyway in this case if they don’t respond I plan to approach more blogger groups and also complain to the Press Council of India. -Nita.

  19. May 30, 2008 10:07 pm

    Nita,

    The little regard I held for our mainstream media has just gone up in smoke. Perhaps it’s ignorance of the way the internet works. Perhaps it’s simply arrogance because they think a single blogger can’t do a thing against them. Whatever it is, it sucks. Will surely do my bit…

    Amrutha

  20. May 30, 2008 10:09 pm

    btw…i think your should put up that Creative Commons notice…that won’t stop the determined stealer, but at least there is some sort of legal value to it…

    Amrutha, I had it on my blog for a year or so and then I read some negative things about it. I also read some blog posts…this was quite sometime back and I am not clear exactly why I was convinced that I should remove that. Anyway, I think I should re-think it now. I’ll do more research on it and ask a few more people. Thanks. – Nita.

  21. May 30, 2008 10:30 pm

    this is shocking ! once i get back to chennai ,i will write about it in YU(if others don’t do it before me ) ..

    Vishesh, thanks. Enjoy your holiday and blog about it when you come back. – Nita.

  22. vangelist permalink
    May 30, 2008 11:16 pm

    you should totally give them a notice and sue them for this if they do not comply with your notice!

  23. May 31, 2008 1:41 am

    Hi Nita
    That is beyond just stealing. Like you mentioned in your blog, journlists are more aware of copywright rules and such stuff. When they start pilfering like this, it questions their morality as well as their education. For every one that is caught, I wonder how many go un noticed and unclaimed. I will write about it in my blog too. My support goes to you.

    Hi and thanks. Thanks for writing about it on your blog. Every post is of help. – Nita.

  24. May 31, 2008 2:09 am

    Nita: I’ve also posted a link at my blog about this incident. I’ve bookmarked at del.cio.us and linked at Stumbleupon. Let us know what happens.

    Thanks Paul. Every post has helps and I appreciate your support. – Nita.

  25. manujarch permalink
    May 31, 2008 2:53 am

    My architectural designs are copied and i find those elevations dangling on other houses. People take work from the market. But all these make me famous because it’s they who are advertising me. Till they do it, i think something more original and copy proof.

    manujarch, I guess one should be flattered if someone steals one’s work. But maybe that feeling will come later for me. Right now I am too indignant – Nita.

  26. May 31, 2008 3:54 am

    well plagiarism is rampant, ive seen times almost cut past an article from a foreign online journal

    Prax, you are right, it’s rampant. It was sheer luck that I discovered this. I wonder how many other photos HT has stolen. – Nita.

  27. May 31, 2008 3:55 am

    sadly is is a minor offense

  28. Ravi permalink
    May 31, 2008 6:56 am

    Nita

    I think Its time for you to take a stronger stance towards these theifs. It is pathetic to see a journalist from a reputed newspaper steal your work. She could have given credit to our work sayin either she doesnt care for her job or didnt have that ability to think novel. Unlike science and technology, work done in media and arts is more like an intellectual property and private. You must take this seriously and look up for proper channel so that your work wont go in vain or at least you end up gettin good compensation.

    Plagiarism is forbidden and I wish we could have good judicial system to deal with copyright infringment and solve those cases in good time. If u approach the court I doubt any response in near future. Its sad to see this disease of plagiarisin spread from movies to media. Some one has to alarm the authorities on people who wanna make it big without talent and skills. I wish you wont let it go this time cause this isnt just stealing your work.

    Ravi, thanks. Plagiarism has become easier with the spread of the internet and we need strong laws to check it. In India we don’t even have that…so there is no question of even implementing them. The only way is to shame these people. That’s a good point you brought about Bollywood. I think we were all being naive to think that only bollywood steals. bollywood is after all made up of people and such people will be there in all professions. I wonder how many photos HT has stolen up till now. – Nita.

  29. May 31, 2008 8:22 am

    This is quite shameful. Would it really been that hard to give credit where it was due…

    I hope you get a hold of them, Nita, and give ’em a piece of your mind. Teach them a thing or two about copyright infringement and it’s shaming consequences. Good Luck.

    Thanks Raatkiranii. Shameful it is and I do hope they learn from this mistake. – Nita.

  30. lallopallo permalink
    May 31, 2008 8:26 am

    I think you should sue them.

    I would love to if I had any hope of winning! But this is India! 🙂 – Nita.

  31. Karma-Doc permalink
    May 31, 2008 8:30 am

    Nita, Sorry this happened, but I’m not surprised. Let me know how this turns out.
    word_smith@writeme.com
    b.

    Karma-Doc – thanks. will keep you in the picture. – Nita.

  32. May 31, 2008 8:31 am

    Am I dreaming?? 😆
    This takes the cake. I guess they very well use their photographers instead of stealing from blogs. Now that is what the world has come to? Newspapers stealing from Blogs!!!!!
    And by looking at this photo stealing, I won’t be surprised if I find bits and pieces of your posts also on newspapers.
    And have you sent the letter to the editor online?? There is a link on their site to send letters to the editor.

    Amit, thanks. Yes, I sent a letter. But you have used the exact word to describe my feelings. Am I dreaming! That is what I felt exactly for a few minutes after discovering it. – Nita.

  33. Harsh permalink
    May 31, 2008 9:40 am

    That’s more than shameful for a leading leading national daily. I have never had real good respect for the HT, and after this act of plagiarism, as a blogger and advocate of originality in Media, I would be hesitant trusting the HT.

    Harsh

  34. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    May 31, 2008 11:06 am

    Way back when I was a kid in Delhi, the Hindustan Times was just a local rag. Its competition comprised the Delhi (i.e. “upcountry”) editions of

    The Statesman (fantastic for its print quality on unbleached, unglazed newsprint of Raghu Rai’s breathtaking B&W photographs);

    The Times of India;

    The Hindustan Standard (no longer published); and

    The Indian Express.

    HT’s greatest claim to fame was the matrimonial ads that used to appear in the Sunday edition, printed verbatim as submitted by the advertiser and leading to a lot of unintended hilarity (“wheatish complexion”; “homely”; “convented virgin”; “mangalik”, “slight dosham” — refers to horoscope, not anything else you might imagine 😉 ; “decent marriage” — means dowry expected; “innocent divorcee” — this, I later learnt, refers to a divorce that happened before cohabitation or consummation of the marriage).

    They did have a really good music critic, though.

    Much later, after I ceased to be a Delhiwallah, I suddenly found HT being referred to as a “national” daily — because it was being published from the capital, I suppose.

    Still later, when I got to occasionally see it on trips to Delhi, I found it had actually improved (unfortunately they had also started cleaning up those matrimonials, depriving me of considerable humour).

    Now that they have out-of-Delhi editions, I suppose it is fair enough to call it “national”, but I guess it is difficult to shake off deep rooted habits.

  35. May 31, 2008 12:03 pm

    Nita,

    I posted a long comment in the English medium post but it just disappeared 😐

    I don’t know if HT has any links with NDTV, but there is a good program on blogs and popular blogging topics of the day, I think it is called the X factor and it is aired on NDTV 24×7 every weekday. I’m not sure if they accept suggestions on that program, but this topic would interest them if they have a business rivalry with the HT media group, and we could use that to advance the cause of the truly free media 😉 😀

    Viveksaheb,

    You have a great sense of humour! 🙂

    Raj, your comment is not in the spam folder either. I don’t know what happened. I do know that wordpress maintenance was going in the morning and when I was replying to a comment I got the message that don’t touch your browser and then only will the comment go through as before. – Nita.

  36. May 31, 2008 12:35 pm

    Time to buy a “Hindustan Times Stole my DATA” T-shirt. 😉

    & you might win, but in more than 4-5 or even more years, the good way to fight this is virally(viral protests) only.

  37. May 31, 2008 12:55 pm

    What is the big deal, pictures can not be anyones property, they are only a record of the things as they were, anyone else could have seen them and the HT has shown it to people.
    Mimicry is a great form of flattery, put peace lady.

  38. May 31, 2008 12:58 pm

    I can’t believe that people are buying into this, like it is some great injustice to Nita. I mean it is a picture only right?

  39. May 31, 2008 2:13 pm

    A picture is worth a thousand words! And every word is worth a thousand thoughts! So they stole not just a photo, but a million (1000×1000) thoughts! 😡

    😀

  40. May 31, 2008 2:16 pm

    Hi Nita

    I was so shocked that these people could do something like this.

    Have you got any response from their side?

    Aathira, not yet. I hope they have at least read the email I sent to them. I guess its too soon to expect them to respond. I am just hoping that someone from HT reads this post and hurries it up. So far nothing. – Nita.

  41. May 31, 2008 4:28 pm

    Nita

    What in the world is happening these days? The weekly publications uses photos flicked off Flickr, a book uses my photo on their cover without permission, some Malayalam bloggers contents stolen by a Kerala portal that operates from US and they threatened some of those who compained, my Malayalam podcast has been used in a Las Vegas Malayali website without any credits given to me and now this!!

    Please do post updates on this and take legal actions accordingly. Also can you try to contact Akshay Mahajan at http://trivialmatters.blogspot.com? I think he used to work for HT and might be able to help you. Not sure, but just try.

    hats off to you for fighting a battle against that person who stole your photo off flickr and winning! But me too am thinking that stealing from bloggers is becoming common. I can understand a blogger being ignorant of the word copyright but there is no excuse for a journalist. I will drop Akshay a line on monday. I am hoping that the HT themselves might reply to me. Maybe these hopes will be dashed! – Nita.

  42. May 31, 2008 4:46 pm

    Nita- commiserations but I am not at all surprised . My blog has been plagiarised so many times by the TOI. The latest incident on the 28 May 2008. Their way of dealing with it is to get the offending journo to call up and make a lame verbal apology. Thats it!
    I’d love to start a group that can post each incident on a site with links to the plagiarised photo, blog, post etc with names of the cut and paste journalists, the paper and all such details. Eventually to get enough people who can file a suit against the media company. Most lawyers advise people not to go to court against such giants (pygmies?) on their own. If people got together something might happen .How about it?

    Jyotsna, I am with you. Let us start a group. I’ll write to you. – Nita

  43. BubbleOnFire permalink
    May 31, 2008 4:55 pm

    If the picture is taken by you then you have every right to fight.

  44. May 31, 2008 5:20 pm

    Vivek,
    Wasn’t Sudhir Dar with HT, till he was fired for a “controversial” cartoon? I think one of the major reasons for getting HT was to enjoy Mr. Dhar’s excellent cartoons.

  45. May 31, 2008 5:48 pm

    It is great to see the kind of support you have been receiving. This should teach these big newspapers not to take bloggers and their material for granted. All the best.

  46. May 31, 2008 5:57 pm

    What is more annoying than the actual act of plagiarism is the reaction or the lack of it by the concerned people within the Newspaper.

  47. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    May 31, 2008 6:31 pm

    Amit,

    You’re right. He was there for a while. But I was never a regular reader of HT, so he slipped my mind. Sorry.

    Incidentally, Jug Suraiya in real life looks rather as if he was a Sudhir Dar sketch come alive, don’t you think? 🙂

  48. May 31, 2008 7:06 pm

    Nita – so sorry this has happened to you. This seems to be becoming common practice – to steal images and text off people’s blogs, and here too in Canada. A blogging friend, over coffee a couple of weeks ago, told me that one photo she had used to illustrate one of her blog entries was taken wholesale and used for the cover of a Leisure activity magazine in one of our smaller provincial towns. She was not contacted for permission- the image was simply appropriated. It is a form of intellectual laziness, and a desire to save money at all costs to bypass permission from authors, drafting them a cheque by way of compensation. Not a huge thing for publishers to do, as they have ample staff to perform such small housekeeping chores. The practice leaves a bad feeling all around, of being ill used and not appreciated. Quite angering, actually.
    i hope you receive a reply to your e-mail to the publisher. It is good you have taken them to task. Maybe using the power of the internet to give the Hindustani Times bad press is the way to go! G

  49. cutlu permalink
    May 31, 2008 7:21 pm

    I don’t like HT. There is some kind of sleaze floating around there. A while back their website was harboring some virus even a year after a software patch was available to fix the problem. A simple fix would have prevented hapless visitors to their site from getting the virus. Seems to me that they have this don’t-care-screw-you attitude in their culture.

  50. May 31, 2008 8:01 pm

    Unbelievable! With all those resources available to them HT needs to do a thing like that. You can try writing a mail to Vir Sanghvi. He seems to be a genuine person.

  51. May 31, 2008 10:11 pm

    Nita,
    Sorry to hear it. But looks like it’s a routine thing. Google was sued and is being asked to cough up !

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Google-Asked-to-Pay-77-Million-for-Publishing-News-without-Permission-86695.shtml

    Food for thought : Uncopyright is a trend, like open source that’s catching on. I will definitely be on that bandwagon. A recent star blogger has gotten rave reviews for relinquishing all copyrights whatsoever ; per him, since it was for public consumption, with or without credits is immaterial…

    Caveat : Eventually, it is the prerogative of the author and whatever are the set copyright terms are to be respected. The uncopyright is a topic germane to this discussion and is gaining popularity in the west ..

    Vivek,
    I was laughing out loud over your comment on Jug Suraiya . Spot on ..!

    Great idea but I object to anyone making money from my work. Simple. – Nita.

  52. Lilja permalink
    May 31, 2008 11:15 pm

    Hi Nita
    I can’t but think how easy it would have been for the newspaper to ask for permission and of course pay for the use of the picture. Don’t they have some policy – I’m just wondering!
    Anyway it would be great to learn of some similar matters and the results. Maybe if some photographers could inform how they go about – –
    I think it’s unfair if a person has to put a lot of work in something that is definitely someone else’s fault.
    Hope you’ll receive an answer from the Hindustan Times very soon, with apology and a check.

    • Vinod permalink
      August 20, 2009 6:31 am

      Uncopyright is an idea that is meant to attack the unscrupulous litigation practices of large corporations that are copyright owners. They sue or threaten to sue even if there is a remote similarity to their work crushing all budding artists. Copyright is a double edged sword – it started out to encourage authors and artists but it has often been co-opted by large corporations for profit purposes. Uncopyright is against the latter trend. In the grip of that, one shouldn’t lose sight of the good side of copyright law.

  53. June 1, 2008 12:40 am

    It’s just really presumptuous of these people to just think that they can just life the photograph without your permission. What were they thinking? That no one would find out? They shuda known that the blogosphere wud be up in arms.

    Best of luck!! … 🙂

    Also, if you sue them, you should also charge them for emotional damage for having to see your work appear in a rag like that.

  54. June 1, 2008 2:45 am

    Vivek, I haven’t seen Jug Suraiya’s mug so don’t know. 🙂

  55. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    June 1, 2008 5:41 am

    INDIMAG:

    //Uncopyright is a trend, like open source that’s catching on. I will definitely be on that bandwagon.//

    “Uncopyright”, as you call it, has a long and venerable history, and I’d even happily join you on that bandwagon.

    But that is not the point here. There is a difference between the voluntarily free sharing (or giving away) of a creative work, information, knowledge etc. by its rightful “owner”, and that work being appropriated by someone without the owner’s knowledge or consent, and without acknowledging its source or authorship. Such action becomes all the more despicable when it involves pecuniary benefits for the unauthorised user.

    Putting a monetary value on creative work, information, knowledge etc. also has a long history. But modern capitalism, with its often phoney championship of “Intellectual Property Rights” has given it an ugly face. Therefore, more than anyone else, the capitalists must play the game by the rules they themselves have made. And if they don’t, then just because they are so high and mighty, their noses must be bloodied so badly that they will regret that they even thought of doing it.

    So, although I am with you in spirit, I entirely support Nita in her campaign against (though she will not see it in those terms) the high-handedness of a predatory corporate capitalist.

  56. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    June 1, 2008 5:58 am

    Amit:

    “Jug’s mug!” Good one!

  57. June 1, 2008 7:01 am

    Thank you for your support. Suburban, cutlu, Prerna, Vivek, Usha, Mambalam, lilja, bubbleonfire, Over Rated – all those whom I have not answered within the comment itself.
    Sakshi, I think if you read the other comments you will get an answer to your question.

  58. June 1, 2008 7:05 am

    Hello Nita,

    Greetings from your namesake from Sydney, Australia. First of all, I’m so sorry to hear of this outrageous act committed by one of India’s leading news publication. We must all collectively lodge a protest and name and shame these copy-cats.

    I would also humbly advice that you take all necessary measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again. I’m speaking tech-speak at the moment as there are scripts that would deny people from using the mouse right-click “Save as” option.

  59. June 1, 2008 1:40 pm

    Vivek,

    I agree with you! 😉 😀

    Nita,

    Nita C’s idea is a good one 💡 and maybe you can try it out. But even then, it is not exactly difficult for someone to steal your photographs 😦

  60. Espèra permalink
    June 1, 2008 4:00 pm

    Nita C’s idea might work. But if some is really really really desperate, they can take a screenshot of your computer and use the photo.

    I guess Nita C’s idea would, however, cut down on those who are just vela.

  61. June 1, 2008 8:04 pm

    I think that most news channels and tabloids in india, just search google for pictures, and don’t care about the copyright of that pic……………….

  62. June 1, 2008 10:21 pm

    Saakshi, if you read Vivek’s comment at “Vivek Khadpekar, on June 1st, 2008 at 5:41 am” that should give you the reason for this post. The other reason is supporting one’s blogger friends, which as a blogger yourself, you probably should be appreciative of. 🙂
    I’m also a bit unsure why would you think that plagiarism is not an issue worth writing about. Could you please explain?

  63. June 1, 2008 10:21 pm

    Just read this post… quite a bit later than everyone else, it seems. Wanted to point out that, if at all you do choose to take legal action as some people have suggested, from what I understand, CR infringement suits can be filed at the place where the plaintiff resides which means that it wouldn’t be be as much of a hassle for you although that being said, pursuing any form of legal action is a royal pain in the neck.

    I’m curious — has HT replied?

    Also, this might interest you: Konomark Project: http://lawmatters.in/content/konomark-435.html. Pl. excuse the link — I’m not aware of any other place which has a super-short write up about the project and I think that it’s worth letting you know of if you don’t.

    Using the mark works for me because while it is about sharing, unlike CC licences, it doesn’t actually require me to give up any of my rights or license anything to anyone.

    P.S.: The usual ‘the content contained herein does not constitute legal advice’ disclaimer applies. 😉

  64. wishtobeanon permalink
    June 2, 2008 6:32 am

    Good luck, Nita. I also hope that this will serve as a warning to all plagiarists.

  65. June 2, 2008 8:53 am

    Nita, Check this cartoon

    I sent a trackback, but it ain’t showing coz. of some reason I don’t know.

  66. June 2, 2008 11:00 am

    I will write about it. but did HT respond to you?

    thanks Poonam, I’ll really appreciate that. We bloggers need to stick together otheriwise newspapers and magazine which make a tidy profit from their businesses will start to simply take work off blogs…in fact from the comments you must have realised that this is common. But what is shocking is that a national newspaper has stooped to this. They have not yet replied to me, I’ll wait for another day or two before I complain to the press council. – Nita.

  67. June 2, 2008 11:25 am

    Nita C, Espèra, Raj, coying is not very difficult because of the ability to take screenshots. However that script will certain send a clear message to whoever is copying! For some reason people don’t get the message otherwise!

    Perx, wishtobeanon, Anshul, Poonam, thanks for your support.

    Amit, I think it is possible that saakshi is not aware what plagiarism is. I know a lot of new bloggers who take photos and don’t bother to attribute it to the source. In fact even then I would excuse them (as long as they attribute after being reminded!) but I can’t excuse the HT or any commercial entity.

    Nandita, thanks for the link. And you are right, suing is a pain! They haven’t replied but I have now found out that an old friend of my husband’s works in the HT in a very senior position…we are planning to talk to him.

  68. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    June 2, 2008 12:20 pm

    Nita,

    //I think it is possible that saakshi is not aware what plagiarism is. I know a lot of new bloggers who take photos and don’t bother to attribute it to the source.//

    Why just them, even a lot of aspiring PhD’s and serious scholars sending papers for publication do not seem to be aware of the serious misdemeanour that plagiarism amounts to. I do a fair amount of editing in (mainly) the social sciences area, and it’s shocking to see the amount of lift-offs one finds. I am not paid to point out such things, but I do. It’s so easy, even without being well-read in the subject at hand, to spot plagiarism, at least in “scholarly” writing. Maybe it is not that easy with a photograph.

  69. June 2, 2008 12:33 pm

    aww.. that’s sad..
    luckily i’ve been acknowledged whenever any media has taken my work.. Even a TV channel, NDTV asked if they could show my blog on TV about an article i had written!

  70. June 2, 2008 4:01 pm

    its shocking !!! paper like Hindustan times can do somthing like this ..
    now that u have a copyrighted it ..why dont u sue them…
    i hope u can legally challenge them to give some kind of recognition and compensation..

  71. megcloud9 permalink
    June 2, 2008 5:18 pm

    @sandeep

    Recently his article was on Bangalore Mirror without his knowledge 🙂 but they acknowledged the source…
    @Nita
    In your case,its amusing that a biggie like HT has resolved to such antics ! and they brag on “power of media ” n blah !
    two faced completely 😦

    and i agree sometimes even we post a lot of pictures on our blogs without acknowledging the source !

  72. June 2, 2008 6:53 pm

    i thought u were a freelancer and wrote in papers like these… so you can always contact your publisher and get the mistake rectified

  73. June 3, 2008 2:53 am

    Nita,
    Whether you get reply from HT or not, take it to television , rediff, msn india , mid -dayetc. TV /internet channels are always looking for interesting news.I mean use all the media out there to expose this biggie
    shy

  74. June 3, 2008 9:33 am

    Sandeep R, well, you are lucky. Even though I have been blogging for one and a half years and I think my blog isn’t bad at all, no newspaper or magazine has ever written about me. Maybe it is because I criticize the media!

    Arvind, it’s shocking alright. I am not going to give up. Lets see what happens.

    megcloud9, yes it’s the fact that it was Hindustan Times. That is what made me really angry!

    Ankur, I have never written for the HT. In any case this is no mistake. It’s plagiarism.

    Shy,
    I have no idea how to do that. In any case media has a way of sticking together on these issues. I think the reason is that they all do it, and they think that one day they might be in the dock and might need the other’s support.

  75. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    June 3, 2008 12:57 pm

    Hi folks!

    Please see what this link leads to:

    http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/MM/navigator.asp?Daily=MMIR&login=default
    Go to the colum of topics on the left and click “sci-tech”.
    Note in particular the byline given — “Mumbai Mirror Bureau”. The same piece is carried in today’s Ahmedabad Mirror (which does not seem to have its own website), identical in every detail except the byline — “Ahmedabad Mirror Bureau”.

    Now see this:

    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=111596&org=GEO

    More than 95% of the Mirror piece is the same. The remaining less than 5% consists of minor tinkering with a few words, phrases and sentences from the latter.

    Admittedly a Press Release, which is what the NSF material is, is MEANT to be used by the press, whether as is or with editorial modifications. But does that, I wonder, justify a newspaper claiming credit for it, without mentioning the fact that it is based on a Press Release issued by the concerned organization?

    This may or may not technically count as plagiarism, but I certainly find the claiming of credit, without citing the source, very unethical journalism.

  76. June 3, 2008 6:16 pm

    Check this service, its paid though. But its good one. Although it cannot keep a check over print media.

    “http://www.attributor.com/”

  77. June 4, 2008 3:31 am

    A major paper like that should at least give you credit and paymen for that photograph. Not to do so is petty on their part!

  78. June 4, 2008 9:48 am

    Nevertheless, I am happy to see this. Blogging medium has started having impact on main stream media. It is perhaps mile stone in Indian blog sphere and Indian media. Kudos to you.

  79. June 4, 2008 11:38 am

    This is definitely a frustrating case. I’ll be following it and seeing what comes of it. if there is anyone else wrestling with issues like this on the Web, please let me know and I will do what I can to help.

    My thoughts go out during this time and if I can help in any way, please feel free to write me.

  80. parthwalunjkar permalink
    June 4, 2008 3:44 pm

    Its a shame in the case of the newspaper……and these newspapers talk about piracy and all others ways of thefts regarding them as a wrong thing to do!!…..shame on them…..
    I don’t know what there photographers are doing if they can’t get a good photo and have to theft!!!!
    SHAME !!

  81. June 6, 2008 11:11 am

    Vivek, Anshul, Dave, parthwalunjkar, Nova, thanks.

    JV, I am too upset to be flattered. If they had asked for permission and paid me, yes I would have been flattered.

    Jonathan, thanks for your support and sorry for replying late. So far no progress. Even the press council of India has not bothered to acknowledge my letter and as for Hindustan Times, they are ignoring me.

  82. parthwalunjkar permalink
    June 7, 2008 1:25 am

    if the HT is ignoring….I think you should give them a legal notice or something like that……may be it would work out….

  83. June 7, 2008 1:40 am

    Hi Nita,
    Did you hear from them? I hope they admit their mistake and acknowledge your work.
    This is pure plagiarism. It looks like the content that gets on to the papers doesn’t go through rigorous screening. They may still be going through old screening process. At this rate i am sure our news papers will cease to exist in few years from now as they have nothing to offer.
    Bloogers will take over media atleast this will become a fact in India.
    –Sri

  84. June 7, 2008 12:45 pm

    Hey Nita, there is another one reported about a big website… I have posted details

    Dinsan, I read that. Sad to hear it! We have a website called Bloggers Against Theft and your friend is welcome to post his post here too! We want posts of this kind. – Nita.

  85. June 8, 2008 5:14 am

    @ Vivek Khadpekar
    I work for Bangalore Mirror. You mentioned a similarity in news published in Ahmedabad Mirror and Mumbai Mirror. There is nothing strange in it. Stories carried in one city edition of mirror is taken up by other cities quite often. This trend is common among national dailies too. Nothing wrong in it. And abt taking credit for press release. It is wrong if a particular reporter takes credit for a release but nothing wrong in giving bureau byline. All papers do it though their bylines are not as eye catching as in mirror..

  86. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    June 8, 2008 6:46 am

    Balu,

    I did not say “similar”, I said “identical”. And I have been around for a while.

    Reporting based on agency sources (Reuters, AP etc.) always acknowledges the source. So, too, must it acknowledge the press releases by organisations.

    What was specially annoying in this particular case was the way the piece offended the intelligence of the reader. A tabloid that is basically all page 3 — cheap, popular “phillums”, cricket, glamour, who’s-sleeping-with-whom, sensational news, and trivia about local nobodies who seem like they pay the newspapers for a place in the pages (Pinky’s birthday party; Barbershop Founded by Famous Faggot from Fashion World; and some token civic issues that offer room for eyeball-grabbing photographs (no doubt plagiarised) — should stick to its stock-in-trade.

    .

Trackbacks

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