The Deccan Herald is a leading English newspaper published by The Printers Mysore which based in Bangalore. On 30th November, they used and printed one of my copyrighted photos hosted on Flickr without contacting me and without obtaining my permission. The picture even carries the bangaloreaviation.com watermark on the right engine which has been reproduced in the photo printed in the newspaper. This proves beyond shadow of doubt the copyright ownership and therefore the violation.
The photo as printed in The Deccan Herald article and the original photo are reproduced below for comparison.
After numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact and mediate with the editor, I wrote to the editor of the newspaper via registered mail and have proof of delivery. Till date I have neither received a written response, nor has the paper taken the steps I requested as per my letter below.
Dec 8, 2009
Mr. K.N. Tilak Kumar
Editor – Deccan Herald
The Printers (Mysore) Private Limited
75, Mahatma Gandhi Road
Bangalore – 560 001
Sub : Copyright Infringement
In the Bangalore 30-November-2009 edition of the Deccan Herald newspaper Vol. 62 No 330, on page one, your organisation has utilised a photograph of an Indigo airlines aircraft that is my copyright. You will observe the photograph is marked with my watermark located on the engine of the aircraft in magenta colour, which proves beyond doubt that the photograph is my copyright.
Your paper has utilised and printed my copyrighted photograph without any reference to me, nor has your organisation obtained any permission from me, the copyright holder. This therefore amounts to copyright infringement.
Via this letter I serve notice to your organisation to correct this infringement immediately.
I expect the Deccan Herald to print the following clarifying statement as well as on your online website -- “the photograph of the Indigo airlines aircraft published in this newspaper on 30-November-2009 is the copyright of Devesh Agarwal bangaloreaviation.com. We apologise for the error.”
This statement must be carried on the same page that the infringement occurred on. i.e. Page one and in the same typeface, size and properties as the caption below the photograph as printed on 30-November-2009. The statement must be printed in the first possible edition of the Deccan Herald newspaper and any other paper of your organisation that utilised the photograph in question.
Should your organisation fail to take this corrective action before December 12, 2009, I will be constrained to pursue legal options.
For the future, I am willing to enter in to a blanket arrangement allowing your organisation to use aviation photographs, which are my copyright. Terms can be mutually discussed and arrived at.
The paper even infringed my copyright and put up the image in their online edition.
The Deccan Herald newspaper is offered in print copy across the world including my home state of Texas, USA via Satellite Newspaper Enterprises or Satellite Newspaper Dealers, so the copyright violation extends across the globe.
In the spirit of cooperation I did not expect money, but when I finally spoke to the editor on the phone in follow up to my letter, he was in no mood to listen and totally dismissive. He flat out said "......do what you want!!! Don't bother me. Go to court". This intransigent attitude has hardened my approach as well.
Please help spread the news of this copyright infringement and the intransigent attitude of the management at the newspaper. Hopefully some of the advertisers in the Deccan Herald will support high ethical standards by voting with their money.
The owners of the Deccan Herald newspaper are known to be politically powerful, especially in Bangalore. Filing a suit on them in Bangalore will be pointless, expensive, and a long drawn out affair. If any low cost legal help can be offered in Texas, I will be obliged.
Can I file suit in Texas state court on Satellite Newspaper Enterprises since they offered a print version in the US of the paper containing the copyrighted photograph?