Thursday, December 10, 2009

HT Brunch lifts Mridula's photograph

It happened in India again. Hindustan Times Sunday supplement, Brunch, carefully lifted one of Mridula Dwivedi’s photos, brilliantly cropped off "(c) Mridula D" from the image and published in last week’s Brunch edition. HT and brunch editors were probably convinced that that’s the way they conduct their business and lone individuals who become victims of their plagiarism activities will give up after sometime, if at all they notice their photo/content being lifted.

It feels good to see your name/article/photo in print. But certainly not when something is published without your knowledge, without any credit. Mridula was naturally shocked to see her coffee cup photo on page 12 of Bruch’s Dec 6 2009 edition. Mridula is a popular blogger and a very good photographer-she’s already experienced similar incidents of her photographs being lifted by Air Deccan’s in-flight magazine once.

Mridula is currently battling it out with Hindustan Times to get her due credit and apologies from the newspaper. As expected initial responses were very dismissive, no one owning up the responsibility or caring to address her concerns. As if copying her photograph is not enough, what is more disturbing was newspaper’s editing the photograph to get rid of copyright symbol, which is highly condemnable activity.

In her updates Mridula said she’s realized the power of twitter after this. She’s been using twitter very aggressively to chase this matter, drawing support, tips and causing awareness on plagiarism. She’s been marking @WSJ (Wall street Journal, HT’ is WSJ's India Partner), Vir Sanghvi (@virsanghvi, Hindustan Times Editorial Director) on her tweets to drive home her point, #brunchphotodispute

With timely intervention of Sidin Vidukut (Popular Delhi based blogger and Mint Columnist) and others, I understand that current status of this matter is that Editor of Brunch has offered to meet her. We need to wait and watch how this reaches to a conclusion and see if Hindustan Times (and other newspapers too) care to learn a lesson from it. You can stay tuned to Mridula’s blog or follow Mridula on twitter to know more on this

I am wondering if other photos in the article are lifted from internet too (and of course any copyright lines nicely cropped off). This also made me recall my face to face with Times of India last year, over the police car photo issue. I was not that aggressive and settled for a clarification. Arun Bhat had similar issue with NDTV website (details). Mint did a detailed article on this issue subsequently, but mainstream media continues its disrespect for IPR and more shamefully, they try to cover up/ignore the complaints, instead of opting for an unconditional apology and compensation. Most of them do not have a policy on plagiarism or a process to deal with it. Content lifting is routine and once in a while when detected, attempts are made to suppress it or ignore it.

Update: I'm given to understand that this matter is resolved to the satisfaction of content owner


Saithilak said...

Time and again issues like this are propping up. Is there any effective mechanism to crub these kind of issues apart from fighting back?

Perhaps we are in peculiar times, where traditional media trying to learn & adapt rules of new media. Might take some more time before a new understanding to sink in.

Mridula said...

Shrinidhi many many thanks for your thorough post.

Shaheen said...

I absolutely abhor how unprofessional these media big wigs can be. I have had my photos lifted a few times - have ben successful in getting them off when they're published most of the times, but dealing with the print folks is a whole 'nother ball game. Awfully frustrating.

hari said...

We must take the issue to a legal level and file a civil suit to show how seriously we take it.

We need the legal profession to wake up to this problem and the judiciary to be active in condemning copyright and IPR issues. Otherwise our media will continue with their shameless and abhorrent plagiarism.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

One is to not to upload high resolution photos to web. If the photo is not of high resolution, newspapers will be discouraged from picking it as their print quality will suffer.

Other option is to fight it out collectively and drill into the heads of media companies that this is not acceptable.

You're welcome. All the best

Yes. Good to know you managed to get them take off the pirated contents.

Let us see if this can be resorted without Legal intervention. I guess Mridula has a meeting with Editor tomorrow.

thanks all

Tarun Mitra said...


I have read that TOI Article that lifted your photograph and that the Mint one taking up the issue.

Law must always catch up with the technology, one thing that doesn't always happens in India, that is why most of laws in India still have ridiculously low fines and jail terms.

IPR in developing countries are not properly enforced and seldom there is any awareness campaign for it. A simple visit to Nai Sarak or Patri Bazar(on Sundays only) in Old Delhi gives enough idea how contents are lifted printed and sold.

But I have one question, if a photoblogger uploads a low resolution photograph, can his blog be seen or liked by many?

Shrinidhi Hande said...


Thanks for your detailed comment. I've not visited the Patri bazaar.. need to visit once...

Regarding photo resolution, what I meant to say was, webpages do not need a 10megapixel image of 3-4MB size. A much smaller resolution image will be adequate for webpages. How much to reduce is upto the blogger to decide

Gyanban said...

Lethargic journalism is giving rise to these situations.!
A collective awareness would go a long away in alerting people of such anomalies.We have to also keep in mind what is deliberate and what is ignorance.