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Mainstream, VOL LII, No 25, June 14, 2014

More Thefts of Photos and Text

Saturday 14 June 2014, by Mukul Dube


At I wrote about how Inquilab and Madhyamam used, without my knowledge and without crediting me, photographs taken by me. Other thieves have crawled out of the wood-work in the eighteen months since then.

In April 2013 I found that HardNews had used a photo I had taken of an ANHAD function, without my knowledge or permission and without naming me on the page. The page where the photo appeared—http://www.hard—has been messed with so as to return an “access denied” message. Communications from me were not answered by the then editor or the publisher. Two legal notices also brought no response. However, Souzeina Mushtaq, who wrote the report, and one Sadiq Naqvi both apologised for the “error”, and attempts were made—at least one by Amit Sengupta, the then editor—to influence me through three people whom I know.

Madhyamam once again used, without permi-ssion, a photo I had taken. This was one of the late Dr. Vina Mazumdar and accompanied a report after her death. They had sought no one’s permission and they did not give me credit. In reply to a legal notice they evaded completely the matter of theft of intellectual property: but they admitted having used the photo although that was later removed from the page, They did not respond to a second legal notice.

The Pune Mirror, of the Bennett Coleman group, reproduced—without asking me or naming me —a photograph I had taken of Dr Malavika Karlekar in an account, written by Eunice de Souza, of a book that Dr Karlekar had edited. Neither Dr de Souza nor the editor of the publication has responded to e-mail messages. The Indiatimes web page has been removed, but an image search on Google for “malavika karlekar pune mirror” brings up the photo, whose URL is 29/101/201304/Image/apr18/e18_1_b.jpg. The article or review, same text but a different photo, appears in the Mumbai Mirror. Here is a screen capture of what was originally published:

By Eunice de Souza Pune Mirror chori

Posted on Thursday, April 18, 2013

The book carries a melange of writings which are divided into two parts. (down) Malavika Karlekar

 I love old black and white and sepia photographs and have a number of them of my mother and her sisters wearing saris Parsi style, with long-sleeved blouses covered with frills, a fancy pm on the bit covering the shoul-der, and shoes with pointed toes.

 One of these days, I plan to have them enlarged, framed, and adorning a wall. These are snapshots, but I also have a studio photograph of two of my mother’s younger brothers, both below eight.

 Both are wearing velvet suits. One is seated on a table, unbelievably looking just as he does now when he is about to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary.

 The other, slightly older, stands near him, looking suitably abashed because he was caught cutting his own hair in a haphazard way before being dragged off to the studio.

So I was delighted when Oxford University Press in Mumbai told me they had a copy of Malavika Karlekar’s just-published Visual Histories: Photography in the Popular Imagination.

Karlekar says the short essays do not comprise “a comprehensive history but rather a melange of writings, some more impressio-nistic than others.....”

In July 2013, the Kashmir Times reproduced an article of mine that had appeared in the Mainstream weekly. The paper had sought no one’s permission to do this. My communications to its editor and publisher were not answered, and a legal notice too brought no response. The web page is aspx?q=19683.

In the Internet Age, it appears that anyone may grab and use anything without the usual decencies and without consequences. The thieves are secure in the knowledge that puny indivi-duals are usually incapable of taking legal action. Besides, it is easy for them, the thieves, simply to kick sand and leaves over the incrimi-nating droppings with which they decorate the landscape.

The author is a writer, editor and photographer.

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