Sunday, February 01, 2009

DNA newspaper plagiarizes my photographs!

The newspaper DNA (Daily News and Analysis - seems to have involved in not verifying its sources of photographs and having used my photographs (does this amount to plagiarism? I think it does) after it carried some of my pictures in the 'After Hrs' section of its newspaper on 31st January 2009, which I had taken at the IIMB Yamini 2009. It is good that they covered the event but they should have cited/verified the sources of the photographs. In all probability they or their sources just picked up the photos from my blog, with the belief that no one would notice anyways - seems they could not escape as luck would have it, I spotted them in the DNA paper on Saturday. It was early in the morning when as I flipped open the last page of the supplement that I was stunned to see my pics, which I was able to recognize immediately - however there were no credits anywhere in sight!

Please check the photos below from the e-paper version on their website (All 3 photos under the TREAT OF THE MELODIES heading on the left hand side are from my camera - a Nikon S10 taken on 25th/26th Jan 2009 - and have been cropped) and my previous entry covering Yamini 2009. The photographs are exactly the same and I don't see any reason for doubts (I cannot think of the same angle, the same pose and everything else resembling my photograph and yet the photograph being taken by some one else in real time at the exact time - these are exactly the photos I clicked!!). The clinching evidence is the first one in this image - now compare it with this image - observe the silihoutte of heads obstructing the view of my camera are also in exactly the same positions. Essentially boils down to the fact that the DNA newspaper used my photographs - without permissions and without publishing due credits! Doesn't this amount to plagiarism?

Would like to know your views on this - use the comments link below to leave your comments. Even after two mails to editoronline[at]dnaindia[dot]com email ID I have not got any reponses from their end.

Click on the image below with the highlighted section in red - it has the three images:

(All the images above have been captured from the DNA e-paper website - - Bangalore section, After Hrs section dated 31st January, 2009)

UPDATE: DESIPUNDIT the aggregator blog for the Indian blogosphere features the plagiarism issue here:

PHOTO PLAGIARISM UPDATE - Feb 04, 2009: Called up their number and I spoke to a DNA executive and placed my demands. I was also told that their people would get back to me. Nobody called back. Second time I called up in the afternoon and spoke again with the same and extremely courteous sounding lady, some positive noises were made and then they are yet to get back with concrete details. Given the fact that three (3 not just one) digital images were taken and was subsequently published in the paper and this paper was sold (naturally for commercial purposes) the gravity of the situation is much more serious and damaging.

The DNA folks have been rather courteous and professional in their behaviour, and have accepted and apologized immediately within 24 hours - although I must add that the copyright infringement is a serious offense and they should be aware of it under Section 63 it is a punishable offence and damages of upto 2 lakhs and 6 months imprisonment is possible if an FIR is filed.
They must cease and desist from such unprofessional behaviour given that they are an established media house whose Ads you see all over the place - such incidents will only tarnish their own reputation.
Today evening I was sent a mail to the tune of:

Dear Shamit Bagchi,
We have taken note of your observation and would like to inform you that it was just an error and therefore apologize for the same. Since this was an error, we will be carrying an apology with a photo credit in After Hrs. Henceforth, we will seek your permission before publishing any material from your blog and reveal the source of the information.
Thanks and regards,
Editor, For After Hours.

Although the just an error thing seems lame and funny, I wish all the very best to DNA ahead!! Being a subscriber to their paper I hope their reporting standards only improve.

Let's see what they do ahead - and stay tuned for the credits/errata etc.

PHOTO PLAGIARISM UPDATE - Feb 06, 2009, Friday:
Three days have gone by, but no apology or photo credits - not only do these guys involve in online theft they seem to be far away from truth too! Sweet and pleasant words on the outside, something very different on the inside, these guys lack professionalism it seems very clear now. Guess the gumption - they are refusing to even speak nowadays; with the receptionist informing me they are not available or busy in some meeting. Pertaining to the plagiarism itself, having claimed acceptance and suggesting an apology/photo credits is not sufficient - conveniently claiming an error as if they are not aware of the legal consequnces, absolutely irresponsible approach. Apparently even freelance photographers are paid for their photography, so the fact that my photographs were stolen (online theft) and sold as part of the newspaper, the basic courtesy of compensation should have been extended.
I could have put a legal notice but have desisted from such a decision. No clue when the photo-credit/apology will be published.

By the way the KK concert during Unmaad @ IIMB yesterday was just amazing with serpentine crowds, loud music and cheering fans - a great evening it was indeed!


  1. I think you should contact the newspaper immediately. The photographs you took are your copyright. If they've done it by mistake, an apology must be sought and if this was deliberate, I think you should make a strong case. Either demanding an erratum to be published with due credits being given or a case of plagiarism being registered......

  2. Indeed. I have addressed their editor in a mail bringing to their notice this instance of apparent plagiarism either by them or their sources.

  3. Shamit Babu,

    I suggest you ponder over - what is bothering you about this event. I would think - you feel you deserved the credit which has not come to you. As a photographer - you would always like your photographs to be seen by others - and appreciated - right (?). So, you have not lost anything. You did not want to make money out of it - I am sure.

    However, DNA has failed in giving a credit where it was due. Many a times, all of us would have been left with that feeling when someone else takes away credit which was due to us. That is also life !

    Please find out from Jyotirmoy (our lone News Paper contact) whether he knows any one in DNA. Talk to that person and move forward.

    Alok Chattopadhyay

  4. Thank you Alok kaku for the suggestions, it's true that compensation is not what I seek. An apology and due credits is what I will look forward to. Give credit where it is due is the motto.

  5. Hey, are you talking to DNa, making nay complaints? What are you planning to do about this theft? Please keep us updated about what happens.

  6. t might also have been the guy sitting right next to you who took the photos at the same instant!.Hows that for their defence???? :)))...Anyways they have enhanced the contrast and slightly snipped them to suit their template.I give you credit for catching them from such a collage :)

  7. @ Poonam - will keep updating...
    @ Balaji - no ways I would have missed it!

  8. HI there, I am a journalist at DNA (as a matter of fact in the Bangalore office) found this post via desipundit. I will forward the contents of the post to the editor, need to find out who's at fault. Keep blogging! =)

  9. Congrats Shamit. Someone at DNA knows it now. I'm glad you took it up seriously.

  10. hmmm what an achievement now newspapers have to look for bloggers to get the content as well as photos.

  11. @ Balu - Yes they better get back to me for having copied not one but three photographs - and just knowing who did it is not sufficient Cease & Desist is the way ahead - not some joke! Also send me the person's details who handles the 'After Hrs' section.
    @ Pritesh - Hey thanks a ton for the advice and support!!
    @ Tarun - Imagine what the state is.

  12. Shamit ,

    GOod point you made , that DNA used your photos and you making a hooplah that it amounted to Plagiarism.

    But somewhere the whole so called motto is lost . It seems the whole purpose of Yamini which I thought was to encourage classical music in this present scenario of tough competition and complete "western" culture ( Now that wont be plagiarism right ?) , it seems evident that the event was done just because it adds value to the resume and not to popularize the ever green classical music.

    If you know , the songs that Mysore brothers played were composed in 17th century , and Yes if you talk about Plagiarism it is plagiarism .

    You need an apology , good thought , but if you look at the big picture , I see no where if your intention in organizing the same percolates to something useful.

    Music wins , People heard the concert , enjoyed it , and some music Connoisseur wanted people to know that it happened in their city.

    I did not believe that heights people go to get notice ...

    You achieved it ..probably even will achieve in getting an apology ...

    Next time think twice , before you hymn a bryan adams or a michael jackson track .......

    APologies if it hurted you ...But yes it did hurt me ,




  13. Dear Anuj,
    Please do not mix up issues - I am a lover of classical music and not rock music. I am not sure why you are mixing up divergent topics. An infringement is an infringement especially coming from a established newspaper house such as DNA.

  14. Ok ,

    Let me ask you this , Did you take permission from Mysore brthers before clicking their pix ..

    Whose mixing ? PLagiarism , the word applies to everything as far my redundant knowledge goes .

    I am eager to know the Map you published in one of your blog , did u give credit to him/her , who made it ?

    I am not arguing , have no personal grudges , but the fact is classical music if is popularized by your pics , live with it .

  15. Agreed that they may have tried to popularize the event, they should have provided credit for the photos - simple professional attitude don't you think. I was as much trying to popularize Yamini 2009 and classical music as anyone else by putting the report on my blog. I fail to see why you are taking such a combatant mode.

  16. Shamit,

    This is not going to be easy. I have observed two such simultaneous incidents 3 years ago, and it wasn't pleasant.

    I am sure you'll move on with your life; but not before sending them a strong signal that all of us hate what they have done.


  17. Yeah right. But then you know who is 'at fault' for online theft, just strong signals don't help...

  18. Are you looking for compensation now or credit for the same ?

  19. Neither would have been required if they had not flicked the pics!

  20. The essence of the problem is that some DNA correspondent was supposed to be at IIMB to cover the event and take the pictures. Instead he\she conveniently flicked the pictures from a blog.
    This is the core of the problem to be addressed by DNA, do they really want such unprofessional conduct to breed in their midst?

    Shamit,I am convinced with your intentions of telling the public who did the work. Way to go.

  21. Hey Shamit,

    On a lighter note I think you would not have minded the pictures being plagarised with had the one using it had atleast cropped them to make it look different...atleast some effort from their end then.

    And for humming bryan adams of MJ guess you should get Anuj to hear one of your bathroon singing exploits

    way to go man DNA whats in their DNA

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