Monthly Archives: September 2008


DBM#25- a meet for delhi bloggers and microbloggers – a roundup 9

On 20th, Delhi witnessed its second twitter meet. Unlike the previous twitter meet, which was held in a cafe, this meet was sponsored by Incube Business centre. The meet started at 5pm. I got there by about 5:20pm thanks to the traffic. There were already some twitter enthusiasts who had introduced themselves to each other. Kumar Rahul was fully prepared with a laptop, ready to just start. We had another round of introductions during which we noted down the twitter id’s or mail id’s (of those who were not on twitter). During the intro round, Gautam Ghosh walked in and I quickly put the onus of kickstarting a session, onto him. Gautam talked about what twitter really meant for him. Conversations are what matter – at the end of the day, whichever platform you are on.

This was followed by a talk on kwippy.com by co-founder – Mayank dhingra, who also got caught in the traffic and arrived midway Gautam’s session.

By the time this session ended, we had already overshot a lot of time and quickly rushed to the refreshment part of our agenda.

Some tasty grub later, we came back in, to discuss the TOI case of plagiarism that I had faced. I was also carrying the copy of What’s hot with the corrigendum in it. Everyone seemed amused by the whole sequence of events. This was followed by a talk on “Bill of rights” by Kumar Rahul. This is a collection of points he plans to take up with @scobleizer.

We followed this with another round of some rather tasty sandwiches, samosas, tea & coffee. Just before we all were leaving, someone suggested we click a group picture, so we did with about 1/4th of the participants. All pictures would be uploaded soon and a post shall be here to keep you all updated. Tune into the rss feed of this blog :).

There were about 40 participants, even though the confirmations were more than double. A lot of names may not have been noted down, so if your name is missing, please do drop in a comment. A list of attendees, in no particular order. Those not on twitter have had their mail id’s mentioned.

Twilight Fairy : @twilightfairy

Sanjay: @mojosanjay

Gautam: @gautamghosh

Kumar Rahul: @kumar_rahul

Vishal Singhal: @vishalsinghal

Ashutosh: @xyzashu

Divya: @dichakravarty (all the way from bangalore)

Sameer: @sameergupta

Mayank Gupta: @mayankgupta

Krisnair: @krisnair

Nikhil: freakynikh at gmail dot com

Amrita: kumar dot amrita at gmail dot com

Rajbir: @rajjo19

Nitin: @ndhawan

Niraj: imniraj at gmail dot com

Vidhi: @vidhithakur

Vimoh: @vimoh

Dipankar: @dipankarsarkar

Maitrayee: maitrayee.rcy at gmail dot com

Ketu Desai: swetaketu79 at gmail dot com

Aionava: myspeedpost at gmail dot com

Abhijit: @jeetblog

Abhishek: @abhishek

Arun: @simplyarun

Pankaj: @pjain

Rohit: rohit.sharma3 at wipro dot com

Gurudatt : @prolificd

Mayank Dhingra: @mayankdhingra

Arjun : @arjunghosh

Gayatri : @grath

Sanjay Jha

Manik

Monica : @jasuja

Check some of the tweets from that day. Here are the posts on this event written by Gautam, Mayank. If anyone else has written anything about the event, please leave a comment here and it will be added in the roundup.



Send twitter DM to non-followers 73

A lot of times I have seen twitter users wondering how to send DM’s (direct messages) to ppl who are not following them. Since I have had the pleasure of explaining it so many times on twitter, I thought I would just write it once and for all and share the link from now on. So here goes.

To send a DM to anyone who’s not following you, just “derive” their URL to create a DM message.
The URL would be http://twitter.com/direct_messages/create/ where you need to replace the with the twitter id. for eg. to send a DM to me, you would use the following link

Hope this makes your twitter communication quick and easy!

UPDATE:

Since twitter has updated its interface since last night, this hack now shows an error message. However it STILL works. Please ignore the error message.

UPDATE 2:

Following this post, twitter.com has suddenly realised some sort of a “loophole”, treated this thing as a “bug” and fixed it as well. Now this hack would not work in any circumstances. You simply can not DM anyone who’s not following you. As a policy or design decision I dont quite agree with it. People can send orkut messages, facebook messages, flickr messages to anyone at all. Why can twitter messages not be enabled? It’s very much required as a feature going by the number of hits this post received in the short time that this hack was working.



TOI believes – Flickr is for flicking 190

TOI thinks flickr is for flickingThis is shocking but unfortunately true. Our leading dailies make a business out of the photographs clicked by many of us. And they have the audacity to use them without permission , credit or compensation as well, even if they are against the copyright license. One of my pictures got “flicked” from my Flickr stream and got published in a weekly supplement of TOI’s called, “What’s Hot”, dated 18th July’08. I happened to take a look at this supplement quite by chance because it was lying around and I had nothing better to do.

 I immediately called up the editor of this supplement – a lady called Poonam singh – who said she will look into the issue. I wrote about 3 mails in all, asking for (a very meagre) compensation for the damages done as well as credit. For one, I never got a response in written – but of course that would mean acknowledging the theft. When I called up, I was told that it is common practice to “use” free images from the net! Flabbergasted at the audacity of this all, I clearly asked whether TOI staff was blind or illiterate to not be able to make out the clearly written statement on my flickr stream and my copyright license, both of which stated that my images can NOT be used without my explicit permission – ALL rights reserved. This is plagiarism in its full glory. Not only this, on asking for compensation, Ms. Poonam singh clearly told me that as a next step I could even go to lawyers and that this case will then be forwarded to the legal department of TOI. Huh? Was this a threat? Or a challenge? They actually go ahead, use an image with “all rights reserved” clearly mentioned on my page, have the audacity to state that this happens all the time – the “graphics designer may not know” and that I could go take the legal route?

Well, I clearly understand that it was not the editor herself stealing my image, but some downtrodden employee. But then undoubtedly, Ms. Poonam Singh, who represents the Times of India, is not performing her job of being an editor, if her employees are violating copyrights! Who is responsible for educating employees about copyright violation and the legal ramifications of it? How come the Indian publishing industry takes this so lightly, whereas the Indian IT industry (of which I am a part) takes IPR’s, patents and copyright violations so seriously that they throw out employees who download pirated mp3’s on their machines? I have undergone trainings on ethics a zillion times in my career. We have had several instances of audits, policies stuffed down our throats and what not. Why? Because the Indian IT industry takes this matter seriously. On the other hand, nauseatingly so, the Indian publishing industry takes this as its birthright!

The Indian Copyright Act, 1957; Section 63 – states that copyright infringement, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to three years and with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to two lakh rupees.
The law is on our side, the proof is in our hands and YET victims like us, do not do anything about this. After I shared my story on flickr, I shockingly realised that this practice is so rampant! I now know of many more cases like me, all of us bleeding because our creation has been stolen and used for a commercial purpose and we could do nothing but helplessly watch.

When I asked TOI for compensation, I was told that they will pay what they pay to their own photographers, which is a grand sum of 250 INR. I am tired of using this word repeatedly, but yet again, I was shocked and told the editor to keep this princely sum with herself. I was then offered 1500 INR as a “last offer” since this picture had been taken and used without my permission (such euphemism for THEFT). Just who the hell is TOI to decide compensation for MY piece of work? I do not exactly shout this from the top of trees, but like hell they need to realise a couple of things. That photography is not just a passion with me, it’s also a road to an alternate career for me. That I take it seriously, I spend money in equipment, in attaining knowledge, I spend time, effort and my resources to make a “creation”, which later I SELL. That I am at this juncture of being somewhat known in the Delhi Photography circuit (not just amateur but professional as well). That I co-administer a rather active group of Delhi based photographers, which consists of the likes of Dinesh Khanna and Pablo Bartholomew. That I also sell my prints to well known connoisseurs in the same field. Just how the hell can the Time of India value my piece of work? That’s like stealing my Mercedes and paying me for a Maruti, mind you, only because they happened to get caught red handed? Yes, I am expensive, but did TOI care? They just stole my picture without asking me how costly I am.

I have no idea, how many such images are being used on a daily basis – they could be anyones, but I do know that this nefarious practice is increasing day by day. I also plan to start a “morcha” against this kind of theft. I know of a lot of cases already and if you know of any, please get in touch. All readers of this post, I would request you to please share it widely, so that we can attack this disease as a people and not as an individual. The next stolen picture could be yours. I will certainly take legal action against Time of India. Even if it proves futile, I would not like to be in a state where I am doomed to wonder for the rest of my life – what if.

UPDATE – this issue has been resolved, thanks to all of you for your support. I have received the desired compensation, corrigendum as well as a written apology. I’ll be updating about the details in a separate post.