September 1, 2008

TOI believes – Flickr is for flicking

Filed under: Customer grievances,personal,photography — Twilight Fairy @ 3:00 am
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.

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  1. I feel the frustration, TF. I’m taking down my Flikr photostream today. But what about all the stuff posted on my blog? (I normally post only the Grade B stuff there, but I have got carried away on occasion)

    Moral – if it’s of value to you, do NOT put it on the Net.


    Comment by J. Alfred Prufrock — September 1, 2008 @ 7:22 am

  2. They can’t take you for a ride like this.

    Good luck.

    Would posting only low res pics with a watermark be an alternative?

    Comment by austere — September 1, 2008 @ 11:09 am

  3. That is ridiculous! Top guns are so openly violating laws!

    Comment by Rohit — September 1, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

  4. I appreciate you contacting me – I too am effected by these thiefs stealing my picture and publishing it in their trashy paper. TF – it is frustrating to no ends. I hope that this action against them will rattle them out of their ignorant arrogance!

    Comment by Meeta — September 1, 2008 @ 1:13 pm

  5. I know such practice has been carried out at many media organizations, ad agencies and other places. Sad but no killer Law had been passed for this.

    Comment by shadez — September 1, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  6. Recommend writing an open mail to her and CC the head honchos. see if ms poonam dares to do anything sneaky. and contact indian express :) they will highlight this happily

    Comment by Aditya — September 1, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

  7. It’s really sad to find TOI stooping down so low. Wonder what their response would be if one of their photographs was stolen. The irony here is they are disrespecting their own trade.

    It’s shocking how most people don’t respect creative arts. Copy-paste is becoming common and people manage to get away with it.

    I really appreciate you pursuing this and not just giving up.

    Comment by Arun — September 1, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

  8. JAP – taking down the flickr stream wouldnt help! Certainly not in my case since I want to showcase my work. But yes, they need to be taught a lesson, no doubt.

    Austere – watermarking doesnt help. That’s why I never ventured there so far.. most ppl photoshop the watermark out or crop the picture and use the picture anyway.

    Rohit – and that’s the attitude we need to change, because it happens so much and we sit and do nothing whenever it happens.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 1, 2008 @ 3:05 pm

  9. Meeta – you and I have discovered one picture each, it could be many more.. it’s just pure luck I spotted my picture being used like this!

    Shadez – the Indian copyright act is there.. and even if it is not, this is a cybercrime. They stole my property from my site without my permission.

    Aditya – as I wrote in the post, I wrote mails first. It didnt help. But I’ll write it again with a CC to higher honchos.

    Arun – that is exactly the problem! It’s so easy to copy/paste and ppl just take it for granted. Most ppl who suffer, just give up because they cant stand against the system. We all need to get together.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 1, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

  10. In my case the mails were left unanswered and there was no reaction whatsoever, so that will not bring much. Maybe you will have more luck getting a reaction as you live in India. The ideas here simply do not help. I watermark my photos and have a copyright statement on my blog and images – it did not stop them. Like TF said they cropped them out or Photoshop them away! We need to do more to get their attention!

    Comment by Meeta — September 1, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

  11. Unfortunate, we do not have implementation in law, neither the time in our courts to fight this issue as ordinary citizens and to take on the “empty” morals of a newspaper such as Times of India. However, as a small token of my solidarity to a fellow creative person, I can do one thing. Stop taking TOI as my daily newspaper. Keep up the fight.

    Comment by Mojosanjay — September 1, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  12. Why don’t you take this case to the court? Gather the people you know who have been violated against too – and start a class action case.

    TOI will then do everything it has to – to not let a judge decide the case. And you will get paid the price you want. Plus your lawyer fees.

    You need a stronger stick to get paid what you demand. Or else nothing will come off your case except mild awareness by a few people who read your posts.

    Comment by Ankesh Kothari — September 1, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  13. Mojosanjay – not buying their newspaper would hardly cause them a dent. Getting this published in another Mainstream newspaper would hurt more.

    Ankesh – that’s exactly what I plan to do. The legal route, as I wrote. Looking around for a suitable lawyer.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 1, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

  14. Absolutely shocking news ! You’re right you saw just one of your pics. Going by what you click, I wonder how many of them have been put up not just here but at other places too.

    I’m forwarding your blog-post to a lawyer friend of mine.

    Comment by daksh — September 1, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

  15. Hi

    I know of a case where this photographer is negotiating a compensation… why don’t you get in touch with him for ideas.

    Comment by Susheel Chandradhas — September 1, 2008 @ 5:24 pm

  16. I thought ‘Times Of India’ was the best newspaper in India, but it was before I read this! I don’t know why people lose their minds just to earn money! I think you should go and ask other competent newspapers to publish this. (But don’t be surprised if they don’t maybe even they do it)

    Seriously, people will stop publishing anything original on the internet if organizations are just simply going to copy it and not even going to type an e-mail seeking permission, especially when it is mentioned that ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED. This is the height of illiteracy in India.LOL!

    Comment by Saniya — September 1, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

  17. Well, HT guys have not reverted to my mail and I am not surprised at all.

    I am sending them a legal notice soon. Let’s see what happens…

    Yes…when you start the morcha I am there!!


    Comment by Arch — September 1, 2008 @ 6:49 pm

  18. You ought to understand the problems associated with your
    internet facility. How can you be so surprised at what
    has taken place. When you expose yourself to the likelihood of plagiarism, you should know enough to not act like a victim. Methinks thou doth protest too much.
    Learn your lesson and change how you do things. Murphys law has bitten you in the ass. Give me a break and quit being a crybaby.——Doug Rosbury

    Comment by Doug Rosbury — September 1, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

  19. The law professors of the law college in bangalore may only be keen to help.

    Comment by anrosh — September 1, 2008 @ 11:17 pm

  20. Whats the current status of this. I received a payment of several hundred dollars from my party. Call me when you get time, i have some info i would like to share. You need to get this moving fast or you will lose interest in it and they will evade.

    Comment by Dilip Muralidaran — September 2, 2008 @ 1:26 am

  21. Why on earth do people put their pictures on the web? They can get stolen (as this story shows). Just keep the pics on your desktop and email to close friends or print it and hang it up!

    Comment by jeffj — September 2, 2008 @ 5:22 am

  22. Thanks for forwarding it Daksh. I also dont know how many pictures would have been used already.

    Thanks for the info Susheel – yes I know about Dilip’s case and am in touch with him.

    Saniya – TOI was never the best. Search for “slimes of india” on google and see what u get. And yes, many publishing houses refuse to publish such stuff, because obv they may have fingers raised at them as well.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 2, 2008 @ 12:26 pm

  23. Arch – am sure they will NOT get back. At max if you have a phone number mentioned in the mail, you might get a call. Also you could fax it, you will need it as proof of communication. Your case gets stronger.

    Doug – it’s strange that you talk about a law – Murphy’s or otherwise, when it’s amply clear that you just did not get the point of this post. It is the LAW that has been broken and that is what needs to be addressed. I am not surprised that this has happened, I am more surprised by their disregard for law. Your comment is like saying – someone out there might shoot you, so why are you being foolish enough to get out of your house at all. It is because of this attitude like yours that someone has to “cry out” in order to put an end to it. I am not saying that my creating a fuss will surely change something, but if many of us do NOT take it lying down and do NOT think that the only way to avoid getting murdered is to sit in hiding, rather than taking the perpetrators to task, it may just start the beginning of the end to such casual plagiarism.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 2, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

  24. Thanks Anrosh – please share it with them.

    Dilip – I wrote to 1-2 lawyers, who are yet to get back. Will call you surely.

    Jeffj – why dont you ask that from a zillion flickr users? There’s something called “photosharing” which is one of the best ways a person can get to a serious level in photography. Like any other form of art, people “share” pictures in order to get feedback, learn, create! What use would it be if one just clicks for ones eyes only? What TOI has done is akin to them walking inside my house, taking a picture from the wall without my permission and using it commercially. NOT legal and NOT ethical.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 2, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  25. TOI sucks…
    theres anyways nothing newsworthy anyways… its just ads and celebrity shit anyways.

    Comment by Behzad — September 2, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

  26. […] in point – the great Times of India using Twilight Fairy’s picture without her permission. And when she brings this up with the editor no apology is forthcoming, the discussion about […]

    Pingback by Times of India flicks from Twilight Fairy’s Flickr stream | Varun Nair’s Personal Blog — September 2, 2008 @ 4:38 pm

  27. Oh, great.

    You’ve added to the constantly growing list of “why I hate TOI”.

    Thanks :D

    Comment by abhas1 — September 2, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

  28. Let us publicize this on the blogs and internet as much as we can. If they think they are media and they can get away with it, they will now realize that there is an alternative media now.

    Let us digg this story here:

    Comment by tarun upadhyay — September 3, 2008 @ 7:58 am

  29. […] a photograph from her Flickr stream appearing in a Times of India supplement. Needless to say, the editorial team is unimpressed and quite unapologetic about her case. I was told that it is common practice to “use” free images from the net! Flabbergasted at the […]

    Pingback by Times Of India Steals From Blogger | DesiPundit — September 3, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

  30. Why dont you write into flickr and see if that helps? I’m sure they wont appreciate it if stuff is filched ( check that link out. and make a fuss.

    Comment by A Cynic in Wonderland — September 3, 2008 @ 1:01 pm

  31. Hindustan Times used a photo of mine without permission for one of their Hindi supplements.

    [Link to scan]

    Looks like the highest amount of “research” their minions do is performing a google image search and then whacking off whatever’s available.

    I dont upload at full resolution, but they didnt mind. They printed a low res photo anyway.

    I’ve been thinking of doing something about it. Seems like a lot of other people are thinking the same too. I’ll be interested in this if you take some action.

    I mean this attitude is totally wrong. If you want to use a photo, ask. I’ve given away photos for free to thousands of sources (online and offline) who have asked first.

    And this is a personal photograph, shot by me, on my property, and you used it without a:Photographer’s permission, and b:Model release. You Sir, are guilty as hell.

    And it’s offensive when they offer something like 200 rupees. By all means, give 200 rupees to your photographers. But when you use our photos without asking us, then we dictate the price. I’ll try to keep track of this page and see what’s happening…

    Comment by Saad Akhtar — September 3, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

  32. The TOI (Toilet Paper of India) SHOULD be brought to court. They not only steal photos but also articles and intellectual content. Shame one them that they have little respect for creativity despite being a publishing house. This acts definitely warrants more publicity.

    Comment by Krish — September 3, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

  33. […] mentions here how TOI (the self-proclaimed protector of India) “flicked” the pics from her flickr […]

    Pingback by Plagiarism and Times Of India - Are They Synonyms? | Never Knew I Was Living In The World — September 3, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

  34. Out of curiousity, how meagre was the compensation you asked for?

    Comment by Curiosity — September 3, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

  35. It is ridiculous how they (TOI) “proclaim” that they strive to protect the rights of Indian citizen in every sphere and then go out and do such a thing. What even amazed me more was the way they behaved even after coming to know about the issue otherwise one could have given them the benefit of doubt or ignorance (which, however, they should not bank upon being such a huge name in mainstream media, and should know about these nuances of the trade)

    Comment by Shantanu Goel — September 3, 2008 @ 6:24 pm

  36. This is downright unacceptable. Being ‘big’ does not give them the rights to filch content like this, and with such arrogance.

    Why don’t you publish the e-mail id of the people responsible, then maybe the whole lot of us can in turn communicate our displeasure at this?

    Comment by Anil — September 3, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

  37. I wish you luck in sorting this out. My only experience of this kind was with Rediff, but it was a pleasant one. Although the image in question was Creative Commons Attribution Only lincensed, they asked for my permission before using the image.

    Comment by Ambuj Saxena — September 3, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

  38. Too bad!But does having a copyright statement on a blog or photostream mean anything?I have it in my blog too. But am not sure I can do anything if anyone copies my stuff. I mean does it have any legal standing?Good luck with your case, would like to know if anything happens.

    Comment by Sheba Kunhimohammed — September 3, 2008 @ 8:07 pm

  39. Hi,

    In my case the editor was a little more sensible and they could pin the violation on a freelancer. But then they offered me 1000 bucks that I took because I was in no mood to chase then to court.

    Another case I know of is of Jo and he too got 1000 rupees as compensation after getting a lawyer issuing them a notice.

    Don’t give up.

    Comment by Mridula — September 3, 2008 @ 8:07 pm

  40. This is a cowardly and shameful act from TOI. My fear is how do we find a photo is flicked or not other than chancing upon it. Say if Michael from Australia put a picture in Flickr and if TOI Stole it how the hell would Mike know? People like TOI are trying to take advantage of this. Non-creative warthogs. All the best for your fight. Meanwhile, I would advice you to post your pictures are private listing in Flickr and share the link only to your friends. I don’t put a lot of my pictures for public display, only a few.

    Comment by Dinesh — September 3, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

  41. I wish the media in India was more responsible..and laws were considered something to be scared of,,..For u going thru the legal route would be spending effort and money,,and for TOI, its just another small thing for their legal department. Legal dept happy as they get work to justify their existence..might is right is still what is practiced in India…

    Comment by Ankur Gupta — September 3, 2008 @ 11:55 pm

  42. Make sure you get this published wherever possible. It’s sad TOI is being blatant bout the plagiarism. Make sure u get heard. All the best.

    Comment by Sneha — September 4, 2008 @ 10:42 am

  43. VERY sorry to hear this TFairy; we bloggers and Flickrers have got to set this straight before it goes any farther.

    Comment by sirensongs — September 4, 2008 @ 11:36 am

  44. Ha you dont even know what TOI is all about! i worked with them for about a year – do you know they take your work and make it their own! bosses there take your presentations, reports and HARD WORK and call it their own… the rot is more deep than can be inmagined! they think because they are TOI no one will mess with them and they can do what they like.. i could help you out with all the ‘right’ email ids to send to;-) – what about all the pirated stuff they sell on their shopping site? i could open a can of worms. let me know if you need any help!


    Comment by Sonali — September 4, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

  45. […] Fairy picks up a Times of India supplement and finds a picture taken by her in it without her permission and without any credit to her. If you […]

    Pingback by Times of India Steals from Flicker at Blogbharti — September 4, 2008 @ 4:40 pm

  46. This is very common practice with these guys.Forget them many ad agencies do it they feel by changing tone of the picture they own it and can be used anywhere.Law in our country should take some strict actions on this.

    Comment by sandeep mishra — September 4, 2008 @ 4:46 pm

  47. Have done a report for techgoss on this

    Comment by Techgirl — September 4, 2008 @ 5:16 pm

  48. This is shocking TF. Nita Kulkarni and I have started a blog called Bloggers against Theft and we would be glad to have other people, who have been victims of this kind of blatant disregard for ownership, post instances of their intellectual property being copied, and used without permission or compensation. I will be giving this post of yours a link and would be happy to put the entire article on our site if you like.

    Comment by Jyotsna — September 4, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  49. Behzaad – well stealing is a new low.

    Thanks for writing about it Varun

    Abhas – let’s do something more than just hate :)

    Tarun – thanks for adding that. I would request everyone to digg it.

    Thanks for linking desipundit.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 4, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  50. […] 4, 2008 · No Comments I am also a victim at the hands of TOI. I also plan to colllect together as many such instances possible, especially against TOI. As an […]

    Pingback by Times of India uses photographers work without permission or payment « Bloggers against Theft — September 4, 2008 @ 6:33 pm

  51. Cynic in Wonderland – the link you shared is of the reverse case, i.e. when the content of Yahoo is found to be violating copyrights, then that is the procedure to go through.

    Saad – they all are equally bad. I know how it feels to be offered cheap money for ur work! Surely we need to do something about it. Look forward to your support.

    Krish – please do help publicise it.

    Thanks for linking it Shantanu. It sure is double standard.

    Curiosity – well curiosity kills :).. so i’ll have to kill you if i tell u.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 4, 2008 @ 7:08 pm

  52. @twilight:
    Sure. Let’s protest :D

    Comment by abhas1 — September 4, 2008 @ 7:56 pm

  53. Hmmm… I’ve worked with TOI for a year and decided I had had enough of the place (and I don’t easily leave a place of work). I still freelance for TOI and when it comes to paying, money is too tight to mention! They pay 200 INR for a piece of work that anyone else (even a start up publication) would pay at least 1,200 INR.

    Anyway, great that you followed it up at least. Now you know how how does TOI fill its coffers? By not paying original professionals like you!

    Comment by Dhaval — September 4, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

  54. Most photo editors/ users have become very shameless and steal very boldly from the net. Not realising that there are very bright chances of getting caught with internet network with friends.

    Please do not spare them and go full throttle against them.

    We all will support you for this.

    Wishing you all the best !!!

    Comment by Capt Suresh Sharma — September 4, 2008 @ 11:10 pm

  55. You people scared me. I am beginner and I use to send flickr and link for sample images when apply for job in paper / magazines…..
    Let’s get together protest and try to amend (if needed) and make strong low to this exploitation

    Comment by Ankur Thatai — September 4, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

  56. Well, if they want a war then a war is what they will get.

    Here is we are starting with…

    Comment by Dilip Muralidaran — September 5, 2008 @ 12:08 am

  57. […] published a stolen image from blogger Nita. The latest victim is blogger Twilight Fairy and her Flickr image has been flicked by none other than Times of India! I wrote about 3 mails in all, asking for (a very meagre) compensation for the damages done as well […]

    Pingback by Flicking off Flickr at Blogbharti — September 5, 2008 @ 10:18 am

  58. I came here via a link from Blogbharti, article by Jo. Twilight Fairy, as Jyotsna has already pointed out, I have had my photo stolen. I blogged about it, I complained to the press council, I wrote to the editors, I even wrote to someone I know really well in a senior position at the Hindustan Times. While my friend (who is not in the editorial) said he spoke to the editor himself, nothing has happened. They never responded. What shocked me was the so-called Press Council of India is a sham. The fact that they didn’t reply means that they know what is happening and are turning a blind eye. If the Press Council of India is encouraging its members to steal, why do you think an HT or a TOI will ever bother to respond? They have support from their own “watchdog” bodies!!
    I didn’t talk to the editor, because frankly I thought that my blogging about it, it would be better. Shaming them. But I realise that these people have no shame at all.
    I do not want to make money from my photos today but I might in the future. And frankly even if one is not making money it doesn’t matter. No one has any right to use my photo and commercially gain from it.
    About TOI, they don’t just steal photos, they steal ideas. That is why I stopped free-lancing for them. It’s very difficult to prove that someone published several short pieces of mine without giving me any credit!! They also use the same format which was my idea, and asked others to write on it, without any acknowledgment to me! And I went and met the editor, Carol Andrade, and she spoke sweet words. Nothing happened after that. She actually thought I had come there because I wanted more work, and offered me more assingments!! I murmured a few things politely and then later wrote an email, saying I was not interested. They probably joked about me after I left!! I know how it works, because I used to work in TOI.
    I think your idea is good. Have a morcha. On the streets.Get the supporters. But how to get the media to cover it??

    Comment by Nita — September 5, 2008 @ 10:47 am

  59. Anil – the email id of poonam singh is Also the overall TOI editor (who supposedly remains in background for some mysterious reaason) is .. would writing anything to them help? They will just ignore mails. Unless it’s some olive ridley turtle kinda campaign against tatas! :)

    Thanks Ambuj – that’s how it should be.

    Sheba – legally you dont even need to have a copyright notice, because anything created by you has a default copyright.

    Thanks for spreading the word Mridula.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 5, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

  60. Dinesh – it sure is a cowardly act. And that risk is always there. Between “sharing pictures with a risk” and “not sharing at all”, I chose the former.. but I guess I should keep special prints for exhibitions only..

    Ankur – I know.. but i’ll try to persevere for as long as I can, in this sick judicial system of ours.

    Sneha – yes I am trying to do that, hope you all will help me spread the word!

    Sirensongs – you are at a great risk as well.. there are limited ppl who go to Leh Ladakh side, click pictures and share them.. please spread the word before this practice becomes worse.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 5, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

  61. Hi,Twilight-came to check this post,after reading about it on Austy’s blog.I guess that serves as a warning for most people who upload their pics on flickr and other photo sites,and even blogs.On one side,I feel that you should carry the fight forward. On the other side,thinking a bit practically,is it all worth it?

    I’ll give a link to this post in my next post,definitely.Here’s wishing you luck for the future course of action!Will keep track of further developments.

    Comment by Amitl — September 5, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

  62. Whenever I put something on internet, I always put this with understanding that it might get stolen. It is very difficult to control. I am not taking the side of Times of India, or anything, what they have done is wrong in absolute terms, and they should not have done it.

    But on other side, most of us also dont follow copyright. We download and distribute music, we used to xerox full books during our college days. Lots of us buy pirated books, so you see, it is like this only.

    So best is to accept it.

    Comment by Goli — September 5, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

  63. Sonali – I sure need all the mail id’s I can get! Please do get in touch – twilightfairy at gmail dot com

    Sandeep – it really needs to be tackled. The law makers will be obliged to be strict when ppl emphasise on that, please spread the word.

    Thanks for doing that report Techgirl

    Thanks for linking it Jyotsna – please feel free to spread the word in as many ways possible.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 5, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  64. Dhaval – since you freelance, do you think you could get this published somewhere?

    Thanks for the support Capt Suresh, please let me know the contact details of any good lawyers that you may know in this area.

    Ankur Thatai – if you do that, always mention that pictures can not be used against ur will (although that’s an understood thing).

    Dilip – do let me know what happened at that discussion

    Thanks for linking blogbharti.

    Yeah Nita – I have already been in touch with you over mail. Let’s do this collective action definitely.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 5, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

  65. @Goli: You’re absolutely right. And it hurts when you’re on the other side (your stuff being stolen). But then again, you have to fight for your stuff too. Just like TOI would be suing another newspaper if they copied whole stories from TOI and published it as their own.

    Suppose I open a news blog, where all the “news” is actually just a bot scraping the news from TOI’s site. They’ll be on my case faster than flies on shit.

    Ahh sweet revenge. Any takers?

    Comment by Saad Akhtar — September 5, 2008 @ 5:40 pm

  66. AmitL – it is not about uploading pictures at all.. that is our RIGHT! It’s about people having some sanctity about how they go on using other people’s work.. and this is not just pictures! It can happen to anyone, ur blogpost may be published somewhere without credit.. would you stop blogging then? It can happen anytime.

    Goli – I understand where you are coming from.. would I be more deserving of a fair case if I were not dnloading mp3’s or buying pirated books or less deserving if I were? I dont think it’s about that.. also if someone dnloads mp3’s and uses under their name or uses commercially the repercussions are different than from using for personal stuff. BTW recording of music aired on FM is perfectly legal – just an addition to what I know. Again, if someone downloaded my pictures and used as a desktop wallpaper, I would never know of it either. But this is commercial usage. The offending party is earning due to *my* work. That is certainly different in my eyes as well as the eyes of law as well.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 5, 2008 @ 5:44 pm

  67. @Twilight fairy
    I am not taking Times of India site. It is shameful. Even when i put pictures from flickr on my blog, I always take permissions from the picture owners before doing it, because I guess that is how it should be. Because that is fair.

    But all I am saying is that the way things are right now there is nothing much that you can do about it.

    Comment by Goli — September 5, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

  68. There’s a difference between an individual making a copy of something for private use and a leading media house profitting from unattributed and unpaid content. It doesn’t have to be ‘like this only’ – fight the suckers.

    Comment by JP — September 5, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

  69. Twilight,of course it’s our right to upload photos- what I mean is,just like you can’t copy paste from some blogs,even if you press the right click button,I’m sure there’s some software with which photos can also not be copied thusly.At least,we,and,especially professional photographers like you, would feel secure that we did our utmost to ensure that someone didn’t flick them,use them for an article/photofeature and got paid for them to boot.

    Comment by Amitl — September 5, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

  70. fcuk TOI.

    Comment by Alpha — September 6, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

  71. All those keeping track of this thread – MS. POONAM SINGH – just called up and of course denied having said whatever she said about going legal, putting it on “my understanding”.. Also said, she was waiting for a mail from me explaining “why” the compensation I had asked (which was much different from wat she had offered) and said she was surprised to learn that I was angry! IS she for real? When she gave me the last offer of 1500, I’d told her that I would send a mail to give a breakup of my compensation, but then this is not even about a breakup of that amount. I soon realised that sending a breakup of the amount I had repeatedly asked for, is totally useless. I told her to at least not take moral highground now! She finally got off her high horse, apologised and wanted me to take some few hours off from my work schedule, visit her office since her legal department had a few things to ask. I wonder what is not clear now, a picture of mine was flicked without my permission. Is there any ambiguity at all? I told her to clarify everything to her legal dept on her own. I would not waste anymore time and effort on this than necessary.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 6, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

  72. Do u really think going to the court will solve ur case .. Mainly how long it will take to get solved ..Good luck buddy in the time frame regard ..

    And just a random thought, How much compensation did u ask ?

    Lastly , it is true that copying ur photo was a mistake done by TOI ..And a open question to all the people who wrote the comments . Do all of you buy original CDs and listen songs . Or Do all of you buy Original Microsoft XP and use in ur computers . Is this not theft ???..

    So better make ur mind adjust to the fact that , anything you keep on net have greater chances of getting copied ..I understand how much tensed you would have been which is no way good for health .

    Comment by krishna — September 6, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  73. @Krishna: Are you really trying to make some sense or is your expertise just being plain ridiculous?

    Going to court will work. Please stop making it sound like going to court is like climbing Mount Everest, its not! Twilight Fairy will go to court if she has to and make TOI pay for it. Criminal cases do not take long for processing. It takes from a few weeks to a few months, so if you are not aware of a realistic time frame, i advise you don’t mouth it off like you know it all, mr. smart guy.

    What the hell on earth does some dudes pirating software have to do with someone stealing a work of art from Twilight Fairy’s Flickr Stream? Are you telling me because Indians pirate software we should not sue someone stealing from us? Is that your intelligent arrival or the analysis of this situation?

    If you can steal things that is on the net, then going by the same logic i can also rape all the women who walk on the road since they are on the public property, on the road which is visible and available to all. It does not make sense, does it?

    Similarly how you cannot abuse women on the road, steal electricity of street lights, rob people on the road, even though they are all on public space you cannot steal things on the internet that which is copyrighted. It takes common sense to understand this, i guess.

    If you don’t know shit about copyright laws and cannot help, i advise you shut up and mind your own business and stop spreading your negativity around and make irrelevant comparisons like software piracy and art piracy. You clearly do not have a clue.

    Copying the photo was not a MISTAKE. Its a CRIME. Get your facts right before you even speak. It is a criminal offense under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code for fraudulent use of a work of art and misinformation and misrepresentation. It is a offense under sections 39, 63, 65 under the Indian Copyrights Act, 1957.

    Comment by Dilip Muralidaran — September 6, 2008 @ 11:08 pm

  74. Here’s another case of Mainstream Media copying content.

    Arch at Rang reports how one of her photographs was stolen by Hindustan Times.

    Read it here:

    Comment by Anil — September 7, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  75. it is not at all respectful that TOI uses reserved pictures like that

    they should stop doing this at once

    Comment by burf — September 7, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

  76. Why am I not surprised on hearing this about ‘The Slimes of India’ ??

    Comment by Masale.Wallah — September 8, 2008 @ 3:39 am

  77. […] to this issue is available at Bookmark MeSubscribeBlinklistDiggdel.icio.usMa.gnoliaNewsVineRedditStumbleUponTechnorati Tags: […]

    Pingback by Times of India Violating Copyright - india complaints news reviews suggestions discussions — September 8, 2008 @ 7:33 am

  78. […] Just a little earlier, Times of India stole a picture from Twilight Fairy and you can read about it here. Social Bookmarks: WikipediaWictionaryChambers (UK)Google imagesGoogle defineThe Free […]

    Pingback by A major newspaper steals a blogger’s photograph!! « A wide angle view of India — September 8, 2008 @ 8:08 am

  79. not only frm flickr they use to flick frm photolibrary as well

    Comment by anoop — September 8, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  80. with the kind of support that this movement has garnered, I am sure we will show these ‘media barons’ what’s it like plagiarising and taking the web2.0 space as their ctrlC,ctrlV arena

    Comment by rahul — September 9, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  81. Go get ‘em tiger!

    here via austere. Ive browsed thru some of your photos before, found quite a few amazing ones. Good luck with this.

    Comment by mystic rose — September 9, 2008 @ 10:26 pm

  82. It’s only the saddest souls who steal others creations. We should sympathize with these guys. Its so sad whoever has done this. They have no self respect and esteem. When it comes to a commercial purpose I suppose you always need to ask permissions and also need to credit the creator. Maybe you should consider keeping all your images bound by the creative commons agreement. Choose your creative commons agreement carefully.


    Comment by Abid — September 10, 2008 @ 12:46 pm

  83. You must sue them for the damages they have caused to you , Being big doesnot means explotatation to the others.

    Stongly put your point and get the justice .

    Comment by liya — September 10, 2008 @ 5:37 pm

  84. Krishna – please get real. Read the above comments carefully to understand how copyright works. Something being used commercially is anyway different from something used personally. Please read Dilip Muralidharan’s response to you.
    It’s the kind of belief that you harbour that actually encourages copyright violation. Anything on the net is NOT for free.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 12, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

  85. Anil – yes, I am aware about Archana’s case.

    Burf – please do help in doing that by blogging about it :)

    Masale wallah – would you be surprised to know that all leading publications do it?

    Thanks for linking Indiabolbol, Nitawriter.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 12, 2008 @ 3:56 pm

  86. Anoop – please do highlight those cases here.. its never too late to demand rightful compensation and credit.

    Rahul – let’s hope we are able to indeed TEACH INDIA.

    Thanks mystic rose.

    Abid – I am sure you mean well, but please do read the post carefully. The creation was under the “all rights reserved” license.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 12, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

  87. Liya – am on that path.. let’s see how it goes.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 12, 2008 @ 4:02 pm

  88. Yes I do mean well. ;)

    Comment by Abid — September 12, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

  89. One more example. A lady called Meeta K. from Germany had a her photo and her text stolen by the Times of India. She has written about it here:
    They also cropped her picture to obscure her watermarks and copyright notice!!! Isn’t this shocking!! And as you can guess, the editors have not bothered to reply to her!

    Comment by Nita — September 12, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

  90. One of my pics got flicked by PagalGuy – a website for MBA and CAT preps.

    I posted an entry on my blog regarding this issue and the writer got back. His comments are worth a read :D

    Comment by Hriday — September 14, 2008 @ 10:35 am

  91. i wonder if these people feel any shame.. that they have no talent of their own…’ their photographers’ huh!!! im sure they must be worth rs 250..tthat waht they pay them to hunt for fotos they can steal…
    fight on!!!


    Comment by sanjukta roy — September 17, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

  92. It is a shame, no one wants to do the creative work , albiet all want to take the glory… and cheating is a sure shot way.

    Guess if rival newspapers take this story or better if the TV news persons take it up, how about INDIATV ?

    Let us shoot this to the print & TV media – i know that they are all in the same boat , but then they are just like animals ~ clamoring over each other for pay dirt.

    Comment by Vijay Singh Bainsla — September 17, 2008 @ 3:25 pm

  93. All this will continue if we do not come together and do something about it…..
    things do not change until a big fuss is made about it…get that right.
    and there is no point in doing something alone….u need to have a good crowd with u(which seems to be the case) as i can see in the comments…there are so many others who have gone through this…all need to get together and take it forward….
    let me know if anyone is planning to arrange something where all of us can get together and finalise something…i will surely be there…
    only commenting on the respective pics saying”this is bad” is not going to help anyone…
    why dont people realise that this can happen to them tomorrow…all people do is post comments and forget..i seriosly feel like slapping such people..
    I am totally for this and i quite agree to what dilip says…please let me know what is planned and if at all u need help..
    iv been through archanas and umesh(one of my friends from p@p)cases and few other cases and it is time we all get’s my number for ur ref:+919890775597
    What we can do is send flickrmail to all the people who commented on flickr and get them going…
    sorry if i said too much..i feel very very frustated when things like these happen..

    Comment by Sahil — September 17, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

  94. Thanks for sharing Nita – I have been in touch with Meeta as well along with you.

    Hriday – he should have definitely taken your permission even before linking to your pic.

    Sanjukta – yes, the fight is on :).. almost over.

    Vijay Singh – media doesnt attack media. Been there, done that. However I have shared this with them, so that they are at least aware of what’s happening.

    Sahil:) .. nothing wrong with saying all this.. we definitely need a movement. My case is almost closed now. I’ll be updating about that in a separate blogpost. However, I would certainly like to initiate a central entity which can take over all such cases and make ppl aware of their rights.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 17, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

  95. Folks – all those subscribed to this comment thread, I have had some talks with TOI. I’ll be updating this post soon with the outcome.

    Apart from that I would definitely like to do something like forming a group which would take upon itself to generate buzz whenever such a thing happens and makes photosharers aware of their rights. Say NO to plagiarism!

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 17, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  96. Will look forward to it. Hope good things happened.

    Comment by Saad Akhtar — September 17, 2008 @ 4:06 pm

  97. There are several others who deserve to be compensated but cannot fight due to reasons is for them that a movement needs to be started…please keep me updated if u initiate it..have added u on flickr..
    hope u got the compensation u deserved..and things are well at ur end.
    Look forward to the update…

    Comment by Sahil — September 17, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

  98. Would you like to tell people about it through ?
    you can mail us on the id provided or use the contact us form on our website

    Comment by Abhishek — September 18, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

  99. We can help in making more people aware about such incidences

    Comment by Abhishek — September 18, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

  100. There are two things I have as suggestions. One post the same article in TOI i.e. without the name of the company. Second you should take the legal route. Consult a lawyer and get compensation. If once this happens I am sure the practice will slowly die out. Taking out morcha’s and writing on blogs helps but too much. But when they are slapped with compensation, they would be careful in future.

    Comment by Swati — September 20, 2008 @ 11:56 am

  101. Hi
    I am a an online publisher myself and we buy each and every illustration and picture we use on the website. There is no question of using something that does not belong to us.
    The sad part here is, that TOI has been in the media industry for years, has all the right partners and well is known to be a bad paymaster.
    If you put up your pics on the net – the best is to watermark them so that even if someone copies it, they cannot use it without it showing clearly your watermark. Those who are concerned, will have to buy the pic to get the watermakr removed.

    Comment by Deepika — September 21, 2008 @ 1:43 pm

  102. I have also had a similar experience from TOI. One of my photos were also flicked b them last year! Dont embarrass me!

    Comment by Seema — September 24, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  103. hey i saw a reference to your pick use and an apology in a tiny tiny column last friday! what a conpensation i must say!! now you cannot take the legal route as they have ‘compensated’ you!

    bad luck fairy

    Comment by Sonali — September 24, 2008 @ 12:12 pm

  104. @sonali: They printed an apology?

    But that’s not the same as giving credit for a creative common licensed item. The license is usually for Non Commercial work. So if I’m using T.F.’s photo in my non commercial blog, I can go ahead and use it, after giving credit. But newspapers cant just use photos for free just by giving credit (unless the person has set No Rights Reserved or similar license).

    Comment by Saad — September 24, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

  105. Saad, Sahil – well yes, if not good, at least satisfactory for the time being.. I got in written that I would be getting the compensation I had asked for (which is of course more than 250/- or 1500/-) .. Now the latest is that I have received the cheque however I am waiting to encash it. I also receeived credit as mentioned by Sonali .. I am waiting for the cheque to encash and then I’ll post an update about everything.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 24, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  106. Abhishek – yes, you can surely spread the word about it.. I’ll also be following it up with the complete story, which needs to be shared definitely.

    Swati – no offence meant, but how on earth can I get an article printed in TOI? It’s not my paper :) .. legal route, watermarking – I’ll update soon with a detailed post on how both these options are perhaps futile. What is needed is a stern attitude to NOT tolerate such incidents.

    Deepika – unfortunately this is a rampant practice.. amongst all media houses.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 24, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

  107. Seema – I wish you had taken strict action then.. its more than a year old now.

    Sonali – yes, the corrigendum was part of my demands, apart from compensation. I have received the cheque and am waiting to encash it.. then I’ll share the complete update. Cant trust these ppl yet :) .. and yes, even if someone gives credit, legally it is still theft and copyright infringement especially if it’s commercial use.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 24, 2008 @ 12:50 pm

  108. Hi, I was also given an offer for publishing this kind of an apology by TOI, but I insisted since I use CC licensing, I need the credit the way I suggest! But those guys, just ignored it and never gave an apology! I guess one good idea would be start a blog just publishing all kinds of such instances and make it popular..for TOI the blog name can be something like “Shame TOI” ;)

    Comment by Seema — September 24, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

  109. Seema – Ideally you should have asked for compensation and credit .. like I did.

    The central resource of all such cases – well that’s on its way .. stay tuned :)

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 24, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

  110. @twilight –its not very easy to fight sitting here in Kerala for my cause, a lawyer did write to them on my behalf, but such huge media houses are quiet unaffected –for them,a story means a day’s business and the next day its part of history! Individually people may get compensated here and there, but in the long run it has to be done through a collective forum! I dont know if one exist like that!!!

    Comment by Seema — September 24, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

  111. Seema – if a lawyer did write to them, then it should have certainly taken shape. I also fought as an individual and not as a collective (that’s still on its way) .. however I did use the power of blogging and would really like to thank everyone who spread the word about this post. Ultimately when their PR got hurt, they were the ones running after me, rather than the other way round. Personally I feel it’s all about not giving up.. because with me also they tried a lot of bullshitting.. even after their PR got hurt, and they got in touch, they again tried blaming me for “getting angry” (duh) and not understanding that they never said they wouldnt pay. They then had the audacity to try and negotiate with me on some pretext or the other. One just needs to ignore their brainwashing tactics and stay persistent. Persistence pays!

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 24, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

  112. good for you :)

    Comment by Seema — September 24, 2008 @ 1:16 pm

  113. […] 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. […]

    Pingback by Delhi bloggers meet for microbloggers & bloggers | Delhi Bloggers Bloc — September 24, 2008 @ 1:44 pm

  114. Wow, your sure are lucky TF. I think then Times of India is certainly more professional than Hindustan Times. No one ever got back to me, forget about compensation and aplogies! Now I realise that TOI is not that bad at all, at least the editors are clamping down on juniors stealing! But in Hindustan Times, the editors don’t care. I guess the stealing will go on there without any control.

    Comment by Nita — September 24, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

  115. Great…im happy for u…
    so did u encash the cheque…hope it did not bounce…lol…
    the moral is persistance pays..
    also,u got the credit…nice..
    waiting for the update..

    Comment by Sahil — September 24, 2008 @ 6:51 pm

  116. Hey Nita, I cant say the same abt TOI unofortunately.. I have had better experience with HT.

    However, that’s not even a criteria in getting what is owed to you. As I said, it’s all about persistence.. HT/TOI they are all the same. At the end of the day, you have to act in a way that they just can not ignore you anymore. Its never too late, you can start getting after them now.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 24, 2008 @ 6:53 pm

  117. Thanks Sahil – it’s yet to encash. Plus its a bombay based bank cheque so it’ll take time. That’s why I am waiting before the update :).. dont trust them.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 24, 2008 @ 6:55 pm

  118. […] Fairy found out that her photo was used by Times of India and when contacted she got an arrogant […]

    Pingback by Copyright Infringement - Times of India again — September 25, 2008 @ 12:01 am

  119. Absolutely the same thing happened to me, not once but twice with TOI. Pencil drawings from my art site (clearly marked for sale) were lifted to illustrate articles of the same subject as the art, for example “Child Bride”.
    The first time between mails to and fro, the editor quit. The second time I got a printed apology so tiny I had to be told where to look for it. That only after I threatened to put a pop-up on all pages of my site saying “NOT TO BE STOLEN by ANYONE, INCLUDING TOI” and send the screen shot to publications (My company has a PR wing).
    They’re disgusting and arrogant. I wish I had the time to follow up more. I had however also written for advise on copyright issues to some UK site (couldn’t find an indian one) and they wrote back, I was amazed and pissed off, that actually the press could use any image they choose if it “really illustrated the article”. I hope thats not really true.
    The irony is, if someone had just called / mailed me for permission, back then I’d have happily giiven it for free, with just a by-line. I wouldn’t now.

    Comment by Niloufer Wadia — September 25, 2008 @ 11:29 am

  120. Niloufer – TOI seems to be in the “business” of stealing. And abt the UK site saying that press can use any image they please, I doubt if that has any basis at all.. copyrights would cease to exist then.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 25, 2008 @ 3:54 pm

  121. @Niloufer,

    What they are talking about is the “Fair use” or “Fair dealing” clause. This is a clause in most countries copyright laws that allows exception to use copyright works under the condition that:

    1) The work in question is used for illustration purpose, critical commentary, or parody
    2) There is no existing free alternative
    3) No free alternative can be created
    4) The derivative work adds something new
    5) The derivative work does its best to not adversely affect the original author’s right to sell the work (like using a low resolution version in case of work of art)

    The Fair Use clause is extemely important, for without it, you can’t even quote others. Even the photograph of ToI page at the top of this article is under the Fair Use clause (ToI has copyrights over the newspaper) as it satiffies the criteria. Different counties have slight variations in this law.

    Comment by Ambuj Saxena — September 25, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

  122. ambuj I suppose the fair use is applicable only to images which are available under a shareable license..

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 26, 2008 @ 12:21 am

  123. […] Fairy found out that her photo was used by Times of India and when contacted she got an arrogant […]

    Pingback by » TOI flicks an image off Flickr again — September 26, 2008 @ 12:55 am

  124. @TF,

    No, it is applicable to all possible works of art irrespective of the kind of copyright on them. Perhaps you are in doubt because you haven’t realized how difficult it is to claim a use under the Fair Use clause. In most cases (>99.999%) it is possible to create a free alternative. Be it a photograph of Prime Minister, a flower, or a monument. The rest of the clauses seal the misuse even further. If you check against all the conditions, you will hardly be able to justify the use. The rare examples where it can be used are:
    1) Use of a downsampled company’s logo in an article about the company.
    2) A short music sample (of reduced quality) in an article on song.
    3) An article about a painting/photograph (not the subject of the photograph, but THE phototograph) itself with downsampled painting/photo. For example see this article on Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima and the long list of rationale after the actual photograph.

    If you still have doubts that it can be misused, I will be happy to clear them.

    Comment by Ambuj Saxena — September 26, 2008 @ 2:02 am

  125. Hey TF,

    Looks like a whole lot of us are sailing in the same boat! Then how come with so many people complaining and saying they’ve sent mails and called etc, but there still has been no action taken against TOI!?

    Tch! I think all Photo sharing sites like Flickr and Picasa should have the option of ‘right click and save’ disabled. And a stronger rule against flicking and for copyrights.


    Comment by Darpana Athale — September 26, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  126. This is seriously disturbing, but not in the least bit surprising. Now we know where they get their photos from.

    I’ve posted about this on my site in the hope that a few more fellow Indians read about it and starting voicing their concern.

    If this continues, we should consider some sort of economic boycott, by which people stop buying the Times of India. That would send a clear message.

    Comment by Smaran — September 27, 2008 @ 11:45 pm

  127. @Darpana,

    It is because of the lax Indian judiciary system, the cost of non-compliance is very low. Only very rarely (like in TF’s case) do they have to pay for the theft and in most cases they just go on cheating others.

    Disabling ‘Right click and save’ is not a solution to the problem. It is very easy to bypass it by just using the ‘Print Screen’ command. There are dozens of more ways to bypass it. Also, the websites cannot enfore any copyright laws as they can enforced solely by the governments involved.

    Comment by Ambuj Saxena — September 29, 2008 @ 6:58 pm

  128. […] elixir of journalistic integrity is stuffed with examples galore of petty theft being reported by more and more blogger photographers who are vigilant and […]

    Pingback by Kalabaaz :: Blog -> The Thieves of India — October 2, 2008 @ 12:59 am

  129. Hello Twilight Fairy,

    Came here through Desipundit and could understand what you re going through as last month my work , a picture published in my blog was also printed in a leading malayalam newspaper, with watermarks cropped partly!I have written to them and no response till now and which is , as u said , a clear indication of acknowledging the theft they made….I lost respect for that particular Newspaper which I read growing up but after coming here and following other links, I am shocked to realise that it is a widely spread disease in the Indian publishing industry! Shame on them!

    I understand that you re in touch with Meeta…..She guided me a lot too….I am yet to publish it on my blog as I am giving them an opportunity to show some professionalism and respond to my mails and letters first! All the best with your legal attempts….I am waiting for my next trip to Kerala to visit their office and give a piece of my mind if they continue to establish such third level publishing!


    Comment by Mishmash! — October 2, 2008 @ 8:16 pm

  130. […] passed on this message to spread the awareness of such petty thefts. I had read about Twilight Fairy’s experience and recently, that of Shrinidhi. The very first instance and one that is much closer […]

    Pingback by Blog and Photograph Plagiarism « Confessions of a Magnificent Mind — October 3, 2008 @ 5:23 am

  131. […] a scathing piece about the Thieves of India: This elixir of journalistic integrity is stuffed with examples galore of petty theft being reported by more and more blogger photographers who are vigilant and […]

    Pingback by Against plagiarism by the theives of media at Blogbharti — October 3, 2008 @ 10:20 am

  132. […] Times of India apparently copied without prior permission Meeta’s, Seema’s, Twilight Fairy’s and Shrinidhi’s […]

    Pingback by Photo theft and how to prevent it | The Imagined Universe — October 6, 2008 @ 4:17 am

  133. Hi, I came here to read your blog post about ToI, but please for the love of God, if you want another reader on your blog, change the background colour. It seriously hurts.

    All the best on your battle with ToI.

    Comment by Aravind — October 7, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  134. Hey Darpana – unfortunate the state of affairs is. But we can surely improve it by doing something ourselves.. I think I have done something on my part to ensure that TOI (at least Delhi edition) would think thrice before doing something like this again.

    thanks for writing about this Smaran.

    Mishmash – yes I am in touch with Meeta about her case and hope it gets her some justice soon. You should surely write about this as you know that seems to be the sureshot way of making them listen to you.

    Aravind – thanks.. the issue has been resolved.. have to blog about the whole episode. The colour – aah well, I love it and so did most others who commented about it, so I’ll let it be. Other readers can read my feed in a feed reader instead :P :) .

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — October 10, 2008 @ 9:46 am

  135. Ahh..! My eyes.!!
    Take those shameless online thiefs to court.! And make that a top story.! I am keeping a close tab on your blog now. Wanna see how things work out.! And if you need witness “I KNOW YOU CHARGE A BOMB FOR A SNAP!!” :D


    Comment by Sidharth Vijayan — October 10, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

  136. Spreading the word here:

    Comment by Dabitch — October 11, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

  137. […] photographer whose work was printed in the Times of India tells the full Story here: When I asked TOI for compensation, I was told that they will pay what they pay to their own […]

    Pingback by » Blog Archive » The Times of India steal images off Flickr for publication, copyright be damned. — October 11, 2008 @ 5:35 pm

  138. […] of India flicks photos from flickr and publishes them without author consent, as this photographer reports. Tags: flickr, times of […]

    Pingback by Adel Anwar » TOI flicking — October 12, 2008 @ 1:20 am

  139. Hi TF,
    This is a terrific blog! Honoured to blogroll you.
    Came here after reading the MINT article.
    Made a Blog Cartoon related to this issue.


    Comment by bellur rk — October 12, 2008 @ 8:25 am

  140. […] Times India verkar ha satt i system att använda bilder från webben lite väl lössläppt. Intressant är hur de skulle se att samma […]

    Pingback by Veckan som gick - vecka 41 at Same Same But Different — October 13, 2008 @ 2:02 am

  141. Sidharth Vijayan – this issue has been resolved already. Will update soon.

    Thanks Bellur RK.

    All – mainstream media finally picked up this piece and it was printed in Mint (10th October)

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — October 13, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

  142. […] Meeta K vs Times of India – Nita J. Kulkarni vs Hindustan Times – Priyanka Sachar vs Times of India – Archana vs Hindustan Times – Srinidhi Hande vs Times of […]

    Pingback by Copywrong: Media Companies & Indian Blogs; Google & Image-Search Previews | MediaNama — October 14, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

  143. Had no idea things like this were rampant, and that too with a brand like TOI. Jeez! I was even more shocked at the kind of reply they gave you!

    Comment by Jass — October 17, 2008 @ 1:53 pm

  144. […] month I met Priyanka of TwilightFairy who has fought with the country’s biggest media conglomerate for stealing a photograph taken […]

    Pingback by The Century Times » Blog Archive » Blogging or publishing online? Beware of Plagiarism & copyrights. But what’s that? — October 31, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

  145. Hi TF,
    I hope you will post my earlier comment.You might like to check out my link to you on and

    Comment by Jyotsna — November 1, 2008 @ 4:21 pm

  146. […] Two bloggers, Rang and Twilight Fairy have written about their photos from Flickr being used without their permission. The catch is that the culprits were not ignorant laymen, but renowned Indian Newspaper companies – Hindustan Times and Times of India. Read about their experiences in their own words here: Rang , Twilight Fairy […]

    Pingback by Lightpixels » Blog Archive » Images on the web and Copyright Infringement — November 13, 2008 @ 7:14 am

  147. UPDATE : a small victory over media plagiarism

    I sincerely thank you for the support ! We have to stand united and fight them.

    Comment by bobinson — November 18, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  148. Hi there,

    I’m a professional photographer from Norway, and during the last year, I’ve got several emails from ToI where they’re asking for the right to use my images. I’ve answered them a couple of times, but didn’t really know what to make of this. A couple of days ago I got another mail from them, so I googled the issue and found your site. From what I can read here; better stay away from them…

    And by the way, here is their email:

    >Hi There,
    >I write to you on behalf of Times Syndication
    >Service, the syndication division of The Times of
    >India Group which is, the leading media group of
    >India, publishing the highest circulated English
    >daily, The Times of India
    >and the leading business and finance daily of India,
    >The Economic Times which is
    >second largest English financial daily in the world.
    >Kindly find a detailed introduction on The Times
    >Group attached in the mail.
    >In our endeavors to provide the best to our viewers,
    >we are displaying work of photographers, agencies and
    >models across the globe on
    > Having visited
    >your website, we felt your work would be well
    >appreciated on our website. We are keen to utilise
    >your photographs on indiatimes photo gallery. We
    >require fashion images of glamorous female models.
    >We would be happy to give you a prominent credit line
    >on the website with every photograph provided by you.
    >Waiting for a prompt revert.
    >Neeta Rajwar
    >Times Syndication Services
    >The Times of India

    Eivind Rohne /

    Comment by Eivind Rohne — November 18, 2008 @ 9:27 pm

  149. Jass – things like this dont shock my anymore :|. Have seen so many cases now.

    Jyotsna – sorry I have been so caught up, I havent even blogged in two months. But I’ll surely write a post abt all these instances and will link you. Hope you got your desired remuneration.

    Bobinson – this is great! we need more such victories.

    Elvind – as you might have made out, it’s better to stay away from TOI. Not only will they use your contribution for a petty 250/-, they will further sell it in their syndication service and earn much more than what they share with you. You are better off selling your work to image stock agencies.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — November 24, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  150. I would like you to delete my personal details mentioned in the comment written by Eivind Rohne….

    This is highly unprofessional on his part, If he doesn’t want to provide us the images its fine with us but how can he give my confidential proposal with my personal details like this on this blog.


    Neeta Rajwar
    Times Syndication Services
    The Times of India

    Comment by Neeta Rajwar — December 4, 2008 @ 5:44 pm

    Comment by Neeta Rajwar — December 4, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

  151. Neeta – I have removed your personal details from that comment by Elvind.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — December 4, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

  152. And we still have not heard about what happened!! What happened after?

    Comment by Sidharth — December 4, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

  153. Sidharth – I had updated in the comments and also updated this post. Had plans to write elaborate details, bt never got around to actual blogging after that :| (you can blame twitter for that).

    Well my issue got resolved and I received the compensation I had desired as well as corrigendum. It’s all thanks to all bloggers who supported me.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — December 5, 2008 @ 12:36 am

  154. Wow, this is getting interesting. :)

    Comment by Shantanu Goel — December 5, 2008 @ 10:27 am

  155. Awwww shucks…

    Comment by Shantanu Goel — December 5, 2008 @ 10:37 am

  156. HI Neetha,

    With all due respects personally as an individual, but technically as an Entity of TOI you ARE probably a SPAMMER based on “Eivind Rohne” account.

    You wrote to “Eivind Rohne” (according to him) many a times despite him repeatedly telling you he is not interested in providing images. I’m not sure who is lying and who is telling the truth but considering cheap things TOI does my benefit of doubt is for ” Eivind Rohne”. TOI can go bury its face in the sand like an ostrich for all i care.

    Please don’t try and play your threaten game here with people. Just because you work for a multinational and have loads of money and lawyers at your disposal does not give the right to threaten somebody of a lawsuit when they say something about you.

    After all, Sidharth stated facts based on someone’s comment. Sidharth is not an investigative journalist who needs to provide accurate information. He is a layman. The accuracy and ethics is YOUR responsibility as a part of TOI, which in no way TOI has given a rats ass to keep up with. Blatantly infringing copyrights, in other words robbing the common man off his hard work like a THIEF is what TOI has done.

    Now, i’ve stated facts too, based on evidence i have at hand. I don’t know who “Eivind Rohne” is and what he says. TOI as many of us bloggers know is the SCUM of Indian journalism for its thieving around activities. These are all facts and there is a whole repository of evidence all over the internet to prove it. Just google “TOI steals..” or something along those lines and see where you get to and how many 1000’s of hits you get.

    I’ve personally helped at least 3 people till date with copyright laws and educated them about their rights and to fight TOI related copyright cases.

    Go ahead and slap an anti defamation lawsuit on me, will you? Before that, check with your lawyer. Last time i checked with mine, stating TRUE FACTS with evidence does not account to defamation. Facts can be said anytime at any point in time in a democracy. Its called Freedom of Speech and constitutes the Right to Information agenda that the government of India abides by.

    Comment by Dilip Muralidaran — December 5, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  157. Neeta, Sidharth – my blog or comment section is not for your public feud, please settle it yourself outside the space of my blog. I have removed both the comments (Neeta’s, Sidharth’s).

    Neeta – No one has the right to tell me what to put on my blog or order me around with “I want” statements. It’s due to what I DID put on this blog, that I could get TOI to acknowledge their mistake. In any case, I am not responsible for what someone ELSE writes about you on the internet. Please settle your “repute claims” on an individual basis.

    Comments are now under moderation and nothing obnoxious would be released here.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — December 5, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  158. Neeta – I agree with every word Dilip has written here. Please get your facts straight before setting out to threaten people. You have absolutely no idea how TOI’s “repute” has been shredded in recent times due to the same attitude.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — December 5, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  159. I tend to agree with Dilip that TOI has ruined its reputation. They steal. What is shameful is that they are a top newspaper. HT steals too ofcourse. Not just that, these top newspapers pay peanuts to their contributers unless they are celebrities. This is another way of stealing, or rather, exploiting people’s work. They also steal ideas and publish articles without acknowledgment. And the Press Council of India does nothing. The whole system in India favours these bullies. And the common man who works hard is cheated.
    Two weeks ago a top regional language newspaper stole my photograph but when I complained to the editor-in-chief, they responded instantly, within an hour. They send me mails, sent copies of my mail to several key people in their organisation (with a copy to me) and called me up several times. I had just complained once. They apologized profusely, said they would give me any compensation I wanted, but ofcourse I asked for a nominal amount. They were so nice and did not even say don’t mention their name, but I decided not to. What a contrast to the HT, which shamelessly did not acknowledge a single mail of mine and these shameless people should actually be jailed for stealing! How is it that a petty thief is thrown into jail and these corporate HT bigwigs in their ac cabins are not?

    Comment by Nita — December 5, 2008 @ 11:08 am

  160. Wow… Seems that my “exposure” of TOIs email caused quite a stir. With them…

    The reason I submitted the content of the whole email was not to offend anyone at all. It was to contribute to the discussion, and to inform others how they have been contacting me. And the reason I wanted to do this, was partly because of the discussion going on here, and because I suspect this email have been sent to not just me, but a “few selected” (or “a lot” as we call it here up north…) others as well. If you read the email, the content doesn’t seem very confidential or personal at all. Maybe it’s just me, but everytime I receive an email from someone I a)Don’t know, or b)Haven’t got a professional relationsship with already, and they start their emails with the oh’so personal and jolly “Hi There”, I get suspicious. An opening line like that sets off a few alarm bells, and I start thinking about all the emails starting with “You have just won $50.000.000″. In other words, I’m just not buying it.

    The fact is that TOI have been sending me emails with almost identical content several times the last year, and I have answered them a few times in the beginning as well. As a professional photographer and a business proprietor, I receive everything from Nigeria scams; emails from people who doesn’t really want to get in touch with me – but keep hoping someone takes their bait; to people promising the world to get their hands on some good photography – preferably for free. Or less… My two cents…

    Comment by Eivind Rohne — December 9, 2008 @ 4:25 am

  161. Hi TF,
    Today same happened with me… Dainik Jagran Publish my picture without informing and my permission.
    I dint make any call yet, but I know I will not get any statement of satisfaction and justice.
    Friend, tell me what is the legal way to stop this?
    I will be waiting for your reply…

    Comment by Ankur Thatai — January 3, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

  162. […] Shamit Bagchi catches DNA India (Bangalore edition) in the act of plagiarizing his photographs. I suggest he or any other blogger with similar complaints contact Twilight Fairy who successfully managed to get Times of India to pay for using her photographs. […]

    Pingback by Photo Plagiarism | DesiPundit — February 3, 2009 @ 8:30 am

  163. at least you are in India and came to know about this, there might me more such cases where blogger outside India will never know if his or her conent is being used by these media people. That’s good you fought and won. Three cheers for you.

    Comment by Tarun — February 3, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

  164. thnx for taking this up for all of us … had u not called, i may not have even knows! till today i was generous with photos i’ve taken and granted permissions to whoever asked. but they cant even ASK!

    atleast, i am putting a watermark in all my pictures

    Comment by sandeep — February 17, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

  165. NDTV did the same thing to me…

    I don’t even know where to start complaining.. or whom to contact to get them to at least give me credit for using my photograph.

    Comment by akp — February 25, 2009 @ 9:56 am

  166. Akp – NDTV seems to be becoming the new anti bloggers thing these days. Well nothing new.
    For all thieves the rules are the same – please do write to them via email or fax or best – registered post. Ask them to pay up and give you credit, failing which you will go to court. Stick to your claim and you’ll get whatever you ask for.

    Also please join this mailing list and share your experience. –

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — February 25, 2009 @ 11:21 pm

  167. ‘Pirates of India’ is what TOI needs to be called as. As I can read in the comments above there are many Johnny Deep in that organisation.

    Comment by onlinemf — March 1, 2009 @ 9:04 am

  168. […] too, thereby deterring even those against whom injustice has been committed. As expressed by an enraged blogger who found her pictures in a national daily, ‘Ms. Poonam singh (the editor of the daily) clearly […]

    Pingback by Presentation - Copyright Infringements in India « Uni Blog — March 4, 2009 @ 5:31 am

  169. this morning i saw a picture of mine from my flickr photostream used to accompany a recipe in Deccan Chronicle in their hyderabad TV supplement…. i’ve written to the editor and am awaiting a response.twilight fairy, might need your help here…

    Comment by arundati — October 24, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

  170. […] is a blogpost by Twilight fairy that talks of how she dealt with her pictures being published without permission. the issue has […]

    Pingback by Deccan Chronicle uses images without permission « Escapades — October 24, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

  171. What can one say? Folks can be so insensitive

    Comment by Raaga — October 26, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  172. Raaga more than it being unethical it’s about it being illegal.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — October 27, 2009 @ 12:46 am

  173. arundhati – get in touch with their marketing department and demand compensation. It works, believe me.

    spread the word like anything.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — October 27, 2009 @ 12:47 am

  174. One more case here.
    U got to read it, your advice maybe helpful to the poor guys who are robbed by TOI.

    Comment by rush — February 19, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

  175. Jan 13th issue of Mid-day Mumbai, took my photos off facebook and hasn’t given me photocredit. I was contacted by the reporter doing the story and I specifically said give me photo credit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the country at the time this happened. I have already written two emails, both ignored. I don’t know what to do further :(

    Comment by Kumar J — February 28, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

  176. Kumar J – do you have written proof that you allowed the usage of your pictures in return for credit? If not you cant do much about it. Maybe except blog about it. what do you expect them to do now? They would certainly not reprint it with credit.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — February 28, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

  177. Yes I have the emails and facebook messages. Atleast a corrigendum? or since it has taken them so long, compensation of some sorts?

    Comment by Kumar J — February 28, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

  178. Kumar – yes you should definitely write to them AND blog about it, publicise it. Send a legal notice also.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — March 6, 2010 @ 9:25 am


    Another stealing of creative commons work by TOI, but interestingly, photo being that of a professional photographer TOI has apologised publicly. I think TOI should apologize similarly for all the pictures above mentioned.

    Comment by Seema — June 12, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

  180. […] is same case in September 2008 with TOI & person got his desired compensation after some fight TOI case September 2008 I would suggest Abhinav to go ahead & talk to them __________________ Triund […]

    Pingback by Picture Posted for CWG Newspaper Ad( given by CWG OC) Without My Consent. - Page 4 - India Travel Forum, BCMTouring — October 8, 2010 @ 10:18 am

  181. […] that the Times of India (TOI), being the Times of India, was wondering if they themselves could plagiarize the centre-spread from India Today. However, on being reminded that India Today and Playboy were […]

    Pingback by India Today plagiarizes Playboy magazine’s center-spread | Faking News — November 10, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

  182. Hi!
    I hope you get to see this comment seeing as it comes at the end of a looooooooong list of people who support your work :D

    I went through your flickr stream and LOVE your work. I’m glad you resolved the copyright issues and fought for your wonderful images.

    Comment by Purnima Rao — December 13, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

  183. Hey Purnima – thanks :) and yes of course I see all the comments :p

    As for pics getting stolen I wish more people would take action.. it’s our nonchalance that makes these publications steal so openly.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — December 13, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

  184. Hello there

    I have also had to complain to ToI as they have linked one of my Flickr photos to a tag search on their website. I have emailed once, with no response, and have today emailed again as my photo is still there available as a thumbnail after searching for “spitting in public” on their photo section. I am UK-based, so I have no idea what level of compensation to ask for … my photo (to my knowledge) was not printed, but they have made it available as a thumbnail with a cheeky heading about photo sharing on Flickr (I have put in my email in capital letters that I have never agreed to share any of my Flickr photos). This kind of theft drives me crazy … they might be big in their industry but it does not mean they can break the law as they choose.

    Comment by Renata — October 11, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

  185. Renata, it is unlikely that TOI will compensate you. TOI and also other major newspapers in India (Hindustan Times Delhi stole my photo and neither the editor nor any person bothered to even reply, leave alone pay anything!) think nothing of doing it. Basically, they want to cut costs so that they can make more profits. It is systematic stealing. Copyright laws in India are weak. Worse, they are hardly ever implemented. A pity isn’t it to see the blatant disregard for ethics in these major organisations.

    Comment by Nita Kulkarni — February 1, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  186. […] of Saad’s picture in the Hindustan Times without his permission. 10. Twlightfairy’s picture in Times of India without her knowledge. 11. Roop finds her own picture staring back at her from the cover of a Punjabi Magazine! And she […]

    Pingback by Plagiarism of the Photos Posted on the Internet- Indian Media Cases — February 11, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  187. Hi Friends
    One of my picture on Flickr has been used by a famous National News Magazine, without my permission and credit has also been given to some other photographer.
    My Flickr setting is All Rights reserved.

    I have to send them a letter, and while searching for Letter Format on net , I came across your blog and found that many fellow photographers have been the victims previuosly.

    Most of the information regarding Copyright of photographs are about US and UK, could not find details about copyright act in India.
    Is there a Letter Format available or can you help me in writing a Legal Notice Like Letter as I have never faced this type of problem and I have no idea how to write a Legal Notice like letter to any magazine.

    Expecting an early reply.

    Thanks & Regards

    Comment by Alok Shankar — February 23, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

  188. Hi Alok,

    You can contact any lawyer for getting an idea on how to formulate a legal notice.
    You can also join this mailing list where a lot of “fellow victims” and lawyers contribute towards the cause.

    You can get help regarding the entire situation and what all can be done.


    Comment by Twilight Fairy — February 23, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

  189. […] of Saad’s picture in the Hindustan Times without his permission. 10. Twlightfairy’s picture in Times of India without her knowledge. 11. Roop finds her own picture staring back at her from the cover of a Punjabi Magazine! And she […]

    Pingback by Plagiarism of the Photos Posted on the Internet- Indian Media Cases » Travel Tales from India — October 10, 2014 @ 12:44 pm

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