Sometime in the past, I stopped reading most Indian newspapers and started skimming them.?? I was tired of reading the same headlines about politicians’ speeches, about accidents and murders, and irrelevant details about celebrities, complete with pictures of their semi-drunk state.
Where is the analysis?? Where is the investigative journalism?? Where is the substance?
It wasn’t always like this.? Newspapers in India started off fighting the British rule and stoking nationalism.? I grew up hearing about Young India, Swadesamitran , Surendra Nath Bannerjee’s The Bengali, the Anandabazar Patrika and “the Hindu”.
Though India’s free press bent over backwards through the Emergency, I always thought that was just a single epoch of shame.? After all, even a decade or two ago, weren’t Indian newspapers shining examples of investigative journalism?? Whether it was the Hindu exposing the Bofors corruption scandal, or the Indian Express/Arun Shourie going after A R Antulay, the Fourth Estate took its job as watchdog very seriously.
So it is really sad to find that the same newspapers who are such a part of Indian history,? have now sunk to the extent that they feel the need to use pictures posted by others on the Internet.? They find it necessary to download your pictures from Flickr, or your blog post, and publish them along with their articles.? They do not feel the need to contact you to take your permission or discuss compensation, or even make any pretense of attribution.
In most cases, they do not respond to your emails or phone calls, and do not seem to take the issue with the seriousness it deserves.
After all, it’s one blogger against a big corporate, right?? What’s on the internet must be free, right?? Even if there is an “All Rights Reserved” or a “Creative Commons Non-commercial” license on the page?
Here is what I hear from fellow bloggers:
This list is not exhaustive – there are other bloggers and non-bloggers who have had their pictures used by other publications without their knowledge or prior permission.? At this rate, none of us is safe – it could happen to any of us.
The press represents freedom of speech.? If the government tries to muzzle the Press, we, the public, stand up and protest.? But what happens when the Press itself tries to misuse the public’s right to free speech?
Someone needs to tell these papers – “Free speech” is not free – it does not mean anyone can copy another’s work without attribution and prior permission.
What can you, as a blogger do, to make sure someone does not copy your pictures without your knowledge?
(i) Do not upload high resolution images.
(ii) Use a watermark. Apparently, watermarks can be photoshopped out, but they are still a deterrent, because photoshopping will take time.
(iii) Trim the picture before uploading it. Perhaps it may help if the picture you posted is part of a bigger original.? That may help resolve any doubt about who really shot the picture.? This will help if/ when you are threatening legal action 🙂
(iv) Try writing some code:
– Prevent Right clicking – You can use this little code to prevent people from right clicking on an image and downloading it.? It’s an easy enough fix, especially in WordPress.
-? Prevent people from linking directly to images on your blog – This solution is only applicable to self-hosted blogs. After my initial double take, I realized it wasn’t really a difficult fix either 🙂
I am sure there are some other measures that I am unaware of.? Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions on how we can all protect our pictures!