7 Nov 2008. Casually reading through Malayala Manorama, a malayalam newspaper we subscribe, the pleading eyes of an Indian Mynah grabbed my attention. The mynah was too familiar to me… I told sarah that this was the mynah on the papaya tree, which I photographed a few years back. We checked our records and found that it was stolen from my article on kerala birds here: http://www.malayalam.rocksea.org/kerala-birds

malayala manorama steals copyrighted photograph

The plagiarised photograph which appeared in page 9 of  malayala manorama newspaper on 7th November, 2008.


indian mynah

The original photograph, taken on 24th September, 2005, from my front yard. Note that the copyright embedded was also dismissed by the newspaper.

Fortunately I am in Kerala on vacation now, or I would never have known about this! Going through the rest of the images on the newspaper, it seemed that most of them were simply lifted from the internet, without any consent from the respective photographers/authors.

This is very shameful to come from one of the leading newspapers in Kerala. The editors of the newspaper should ascertain that whatever published in the newspaper is genuine and rightly credited for its source. Failing to do this is a treachery towards its subscribers and the original authors.


19 Nov 2008. I had called manorama yesterday and they assured to email me regarding the necessary actions that could be taken regarding this issue. So far they haven’t contacted me back.

In case malayala manorama doesn’t come up with a satisfactory solution, I will be filing a complaint regarding copyright violation and protection of my intellectual property rights.


21 Nov 2008. Reply from Malayala Manorama:

Dear Roxy

We have enquired about publication of the photograph as mentioned in your mail.

The picture was sent to us by the author of the article in a CD. He had not mentioned that it contained photos having copy right. We are sorry for having published it without your permission.

If you have no objection, we will carry a corrigendum stating that that photo was taken by Roxy Mathew.

Incidentally, I went through your blog. There are good photog raphs. If you are ready to contribute, we would like to publish a few photos with articles in Padhippura ofcourse giving credit to you.

We have warned all our contributors to avoid such mistakes in future.

With regards

Senior Sub Editor


24 Nov 2008. Reply back to Malayala Manorama:

Dear xxxxx, Senior Sub Editor:

Thank you for your email acknowledging the source of the photograph.
It is pleasing to know that the future contributors will be made aware
of providing genuine articles/photographs.

However, I am sorry to say that the solution provided is not satisfactory.
The credits should have been there in any case.
Just running a corrigendum stating the author will not
justify having the photograph on the newspaper free of cost.
Malayala Manorama does not run free advertisements or give
free subscriptions for everyone, right?

The photograph taken by me has been published, without credits,
on a commercial newspaper, which is sold in the market.
This means that the content of the news, articles, photographs
carry a price.

Adding the copyright violation to this, the newspaper has
to pay me a suitable compensation.
The newspaper may be aware that copyright violation charges
can carry a compensation from 50,000 to 2 lakh INR.
Please also note that my camera equipments are as expensive
as the amount stated above.



27 Nov, 2008. From my experience, the dealings with Malayala Manorama on the above issue has been clean and amicable, so far. They are regretful about overlooking the copyright of the photograph. The solutions agreed over the telephone:
1. The newspaper will be paying me an amount of 5,000 INR as compensation.
2. The newspaper will publish a corrigendum crediting the photographer.
This, they stated, will be done within a week. So, let me wait and see before any further updates

The newspaper also mentioned that they will make sure about credits of photographs/articles before publishing any, in the future. So far, as it sounds, is a welcome decision.


01 Dec, 2008. Corrigendum published by Malayala Manorama in the Padippura section. I am also happy to note that many of the photographs published in Padippura these days are credited to their rightful owners.

malayala manorama corrigendum

Translation: The photograph titled Mynah, published in the Padippura section on 7th November, was photographed by Roxy Mathew. The omission of the name is regretted.

05 Dec, 2008. Happy to note that today I received the cheque from Malayala Manorama. Many thanks to the editorial staff of the newspaper for responding to the issue and taking appropriate action at the right time.

malayala manorama pays for the photograph


Related posts