Plagiarism by Deshabhimani daily

This is my first encounter with plagiarism by the print media.

On October 13, 2010, Deshabhimani, a leading Malayalam language daily, published a picture apparently flicked from one of my blog posts.

The picture was published without my knowledge and without any credit.

Plagiarized picture in Deshabhimani (October 13, 2010)

Original picture from my blog post
I called their offices the same day and I was shocked when the person who claimed to be the editor of the Kannur office of Deshabhimani casually dismissed the incident saying it is a common practice to use images from the internet.

There is a clearly written statement on every page of my blog mentioning that any use of the pictures in my blog requires my written permission.

I sent 3 emails asking them to republish the picture with credit and to pay a meager sum of money as compensation. They didn’t respond to the emails.

In the absence of any satisfactory response I called Deshabhimani’s headquarters at Thiruvanathapuram to speak to the chief editor. A person claiming to be the sub-editor stonewalled my desired interaction with the chief editor. He asked me to treat it as a charity and social work as the image is used for an article which talks about God.  He too claimed that it is a usual practice by the newspaper to use images from the internet.

This is a blatant infringement of copyright laws.

The disturbing aspect of the whole incident is that the editors of Deshabhimani are absolutely convinced that there is nothing wrong in using images from the internet and they can deal with individuals who accidently catch them red handed.

Suggestions are invited from fellow bloggers and internet users on how to deal with this type of violation of rights.

Feel free to comment or send email to (toshiju at gmail dot com)


  1. My thoughts on this matter:

  2. U need to teach them a lesson man! Too many leachers out apology is the least they could give

  3. you can read comments on this post for some info about what simiarly affected people have done

  4. Thats bad..

    Here is similar case with MTV india .. check this out

    Hope this helps

  5. Here's my case with TOI.

    please do NOT take this lying down. The fools have absolutely no idea that they are doing something illegal. The best would be to write about it everywhere you can and send them a legal notice with an invoice asking them to pay up by a certain date. Also interact with their marketing/PR dept if any, not the editors. They dont have the slightest clue even though they are in the publishing business.

    You can also register yourself on which was meant to teach idiots like this, a lesson. After registering you can post your account or link back to your account with a new post. The more posts the better and that's the only way to spread the word.

  6. you can also join our mailing list at

  7. You should not settle for credit or meager amounts of compensation at any cost. Please go ahead and sue them for theft and copyright infringement. Any laxity on our part to let this go means there will be more and more cases like this. If you are the owner of the original image, there is no way they will be able to fight you. Please do not let them get away.

  8. This really sucks. I have had stuff lifted by other sites who have not even responded. Wrote about this once

    It's even more blatant if a newspapaper lifts content as in your case. To start with they should give photo credit

  9. This is happening with such regularity and is so deplorable! What takes the cake is their belief that its okay to filch pictures off the net and publish them without due crediting. I can't imagine someone told you 'to treat it as a charity and social work as the image is used for an article which talks about God.' Simply UNBELIEVABLE!

    I have faced people lifting what I have written and rehashing them to make new blogs.

  10. unfortunately yes.. this is a rampant practice.. in case of a creative commons' consent, it's a matter of a few minutes actually, of verifying the name. what really irritates me is tht they remained callous even after you approached them..

  11. Thank you Ritesh, nitesh shetty, Aditya, Suraj Jain, Twilight Fairy, mojosanjay, The Knife, Shail and Gauri Gharpure for posting your comments.

    As this is a first for me, I value your suggestions and help in this matter.

    I agree with Twilight Fairy that I should not interact with the editors. My initial intent was to contact the PR but I could not find such an entity at Deshabhimani.

    The Editor at Kannur office made the following profound observation –“You are from Kottayam, that’s why you have called up with this demand”. Isn’t it shocking?

    He even threatened me saying you won’t be hiding in Bangalore always, we will see you when you come to Kerala.

    There is no escalation mechanism. I tried contacting the chief editor. But he is stonewalled.
    None of the email addresses listed in the contact page of their website is valid.

    I guess they are arrogant only because they have the political clout.

  12. I find this so deplorable. Your work is outstanding and merits reimbursement if it is used. At the very least, no one has the right to use it without your permission or to pass it off as their own. I cannot believe that a newspaper or magazine, who should be up to date on copyright law, dares to violate it so blatantly - and under the auspices that the work deals with God and, therefore, should be "given" to them to use for that very reason. I am about to be ill.

    I think you need to submit an invoice, charging whatever you would normally charge for the use of one of your photographs and stipulate that, if you do not receive the requested reimbursement ( and it seems to me, it should be substantial since it is in a periodical or magazine which is going out to a large number of clients ), tell them you will seek litigation.

    I know I once used Ruma's beautiful cherry blossom photograph as a header on my blog but only after I asked his permission. I offered to pay him for the privilege but he would not hear of it. I posted info about him and his blog address under the photograph which was the very least and, whenever anyone commented on my header ( which people frequently did ), I let them know about his photography and referred them to his blog .

  13. This is so deplorable ! I hope you are compensated fairly.

    You said - "I sent 3 emails asking them to republish the picture with credit and to pay a meager sum of money as compensation. They didn’t respond to the emails."

    What was the sum you demanded ? Did the guys at the newspaper agree for any kind of monetary settlement ?

  14. -Anonymous

    The guys at the newspaper have rejected the idea of monetary settlement. They say that the graphic designer would have to pay from his pocket and that will mean loss of 3 months pay. But isn't the editor responsible for what is published in the newspaper? Why then should it be blamed solely on the poor graphic designer?

    Please mention your name when you comment.I would be really happy to know you.

  15. Sad to read, while there's no sure shot protection, best way is not to upload high res pics and watermark the image.

    Follow the advise of twilight fairy... that should help

  16. -Shrinidhi
    Don't you think it is a compromise from our end if we stop uploading high res pics and watermark the images?

  17. This is sad, really - I'll share your post on facebook. Also, we need to make this anti-plagiarism blogathon a mass event every year. Do keep us updated about it.

  18. -Sudipta Chatterjee
    Thank you for your support. This issue is still not settled. The legal notice should be reaching Deshabhimani soon. I will keep you updated.

  19. We are all following it with great interest, Shiju, since it is something that can happen to us all.

  20. Hey,

    Can't you copywrite the images?

  21. Hi Shiju,

    I'm sorry this happened to you! This is theft, out and out. I don't have any useful suggestions as I have never been through something like this. But I have learned lots of useful information from the comments and links - so thank you for posting about it and involving us so that we can all learn.

    Once again, sorry that this happened. I am a bit late to read this so maybe I will see an update further up. :o)


  22. Very untoward practice! If it was the the otherway around, they would have sued you. We all should wake up to protect the rights of an intellectual property, the sole claim of any creative mind.

  23. Shiju i suggest you put lower resolution pictures which cannot be copied.And if you are very concerned about your copyright you need to get your site registered for copyright.Also make it difficult to copy,example disable right click,do not allow them to drag their mouse and more.Do not leave this Deshabimani paper fellows,recently tharoor has claimed damages of 10 Crore from them !!

    I am also a avid photographer.I suggest the first option of putting lower resolution pictures Or else publish it on stock photo sites so that you atleast make some money out of it.

    I can help you for free in implementing simple things,but its not fool proof you can only frustrate them :-)

  24. @Kumar Nair I would not like to put lower resolution pictures, add water mark, or disable right click or any such things. I feel that as a compromise from my end. I would like to confront the thieves if at all I catch them; the same way you would confront someone who has stolen your car.

    Did you read about the latest incident of plagiarism that I encountered recently. Read here

    I appreciate your gesture of helping me out with implementing the security features.

  25. Did anything happened on this ?

    My Deshabhimani story is here:

  26. @Bobinson Yes, they paid the compensation amount in cash via a person who refused to divulge his name. He claimed to be associated with Deshabhimani but refused to show me his Id. My demand of republishing the image with appropriate credit is still no heeded to.


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