Let me share good news: The photo theft issue mentioned in this post is now settled. The West Bengal Government’s Department of Information and Cultural Affairs had come out with an advertisement of their scheme “Lok Prasar Prakalpa” which had used my Baul photograph in an unauthorized way.
The advertising company has compensated me with a five digit sum and an acknowledgement letter. And I retain my copyright over the photograph.
How did this happen? I should thank you for being so active in spreading the word and helping me however possible.
I’ll explain how active social media helped me:
On the day the advertisement got published and I came to know about this, I shared it over Facebook. A few friends , who are lawyers, suggested that I take a stern legal action against them. One of them spotted this to be a golden opportunity for me to get nationally recognized.
However, I had peaceful plans. I tried my bit on the first week and blog posted about the same, that weekend. After my blog post, the Principal Secretory of the Dept. of I & CA gave me a call and promised action. Insiders told that a couple of Rajya Sabha MPs had a personal talk with the Principal Secretory himself showing concern.
I discussed it with people I came across, including photographer Nemai Ghosh, who too suggested legal action. Photographer Subir Basak, who is friends with me over Facebook, got me connected to photographer – Jayati Saha, who owns a law firm. By that time a few friends voluntarily contacted the media. Surprisingly, I know none of them personally. I thank them for their love. I contacted the lawyer suggested by Jayati and had sent the legal notice.
No sooner did another incident occur than I felt, things were slowing down on this front.
I came across the BJP hoardings that conveyed festive greetings. And yes, that had one of my photographs stolen as well. I was skeptical about one singular case. I could not even think of taking on the next! I ended up doing another blog post showcasing 6 instances of my photographs being stolen and why it is shameful. That blog post got shared and translated to a few languages by Global voices online.
At this point in time, the entire media attention shifted to Bimal Nepal’s photograph being altered and used without credit by Narendra Modi’s account. SpiceyIP covered Nepal’s and my story clubbed together. That Diwali evening, someone from Editorial, ABP gave me a call and wanted to publish my story. Previously I had refused media houses (including ABP) to mention this. Incidentally, Dipanjan too is a friend over Facebook and I had gladly agreed.
With the spread of my blog post, a lawyer based in Mumbai, Juhi Roy wanted to fight the case for free and have been an incredible support since. I was preparing to move to court with her help. But by then, my lawyer informed me, that with another reminder – the advertising agency is ready for talks.
With constant talks and negotiation from my defendant’s side, the case is finally settled on December 12, 2014.
There are adequate laws in this country. Keep faith and do not let go of your rights.
Thank you again for all the support.