Deccan Herald newspaper blatantly infringes Bangalore Aviation copyright

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 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.

Deccan Herald The Printers Mysore Steals Photograph commits copyright infringement breach theft IndiGo Bangalore Aviation advertisers advertising DMCA digital millennium copyright act ethicsDeccan Herald The Printers Mysore Steals Photograph commits copyright infringement breach theft IndiGo Bangalore Aviation

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

Dear Sir

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 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.

Devesh Agarwal

The paper even infringed my copyright and put up the image in their online edition.

Deccan Herald The Printers Mysore Steals Photograph commits copyright infringement breach theft IndiGo Bangalore Aviation
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?

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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One comment

  1. Plagiarism by reporters, barring rare exceptions, either directly from agency news copies or in the name of “follow-ups” by competitor newspapers, is a way of life at Deccan Herald. The editor has no clue on the guiding principles of the profession. Photos are routinely used without attribution. The same applies to quotes by well known people, with the reporter simply lifting it from an agency copy. The desk has no clue on the dos and don’t guiding plagiarism either, as they are keen to just get the work over with and go home at the earliest. Deccan Herald has plumbed an all-time low under this editor who constantly scoffs at everything which he doesn’t understand or believes is remotely value-driven. The only focus is on imitating everything the competition does, even shamelessly copying headlines directly from competititor websites!!