DNA Newspaper Printed My Photo, My Article Without My OK: A Lesson in Copyright
This morning I received a Blackberry message from my mate Yon that basically went like this:
- Yon: Hey you…just saw ur article in today’s paper, ur a rockstar… 🙂
- Me: ?? What are you talking about? That photo from Love Shack a couple of weeks ago for page 3?
- Yon: No, it’s a huge article titled “tall, blonde, female…” all about you
- Me: OMG. Hey, remember I told you I wanted to be a columnist, I emailed The Times but no one ever contacted me and I haven’t signed anything, weird
- Yon: DNA is the name of the paper, page 7
- Me: Wow, strange, can’t wait to see it. Can’t believe they stole my work though, haha.. I wonder how ethical/legal that is?
- …after buying paper a few minutes later, Me: Holy shit, that’s a huge photo!
Now, don’t get me wrong. People don’t start up a blog for privacy. And once I started writing back in April, I realized that I really truly enjoy it. As the head of marketing and PR I have always written for work, but I was writing technical specifications, or contributed articles that I placed my CEO’s name onto, or comms content. But once I started writing just for me, about random topics that came to mind throughout the day based on my experiences, I realized that I would love to (for lack of a more delicate way to say it) monetize this passion (yep, make money) and write a daily column based on my experiences here in India — from my point of view and with my sense of humor, of course. But I expected to do this on my terms and my way.
Seeing a massive photo of myself and my article on page 7 of DNA today was a bit of a shock. And kids, it was my first lesson in the art of copyright! Silly me, I just assumed that anything I wrote was really actually mine. I mean it is about my life. It is housed nice and neatly on my simple little blog. And depending on who you actually consult, this content really is mine. The intellectual property IS mine, of course. But the fact is that I didn’t copyright it. And it appears that some newspapers poach content for their publication from unknowing sources such as blogs like mine. And since my blog posts and photos don’t contain (c) statements (yes, I need to do that now but gym first or I’ll snuggle into the sofa and never go), I guess there is a grey area that publications like DNA see as white areas. And the funny thing is that had they just asked me nicely, I would have said “hell, yeah” to allowing them to print up my article about what it is like to be me living here in Bangalore. But they don’t do this apparently. And they offer up a PDF version of their newspaper online the same day, but the blog page (page 7 today) isn’t included in the pdf version oddly enough — which I wonder if it is in order to retain a low profile so Google can’t index the content and us bloggers find out? Or is it because the content is regional and by removing it, Mumbai can have its own blogger content page, Chennai has their local content, etc etc… hmmm, if you know please tell me.
Okay, so what have I learned? First, that I need to go add a damn copyright message to every single blog post I have written since arriving in April, which is close to 40 of them now. Next, I think I need a teeth whitening, haha…. I swear my teeth look like orange beaver teeth in the photo published by DNA.
But the good news so far is that the visitors to my blog has almost doubled today and it isn’t quite 20:00 yet. So rock on, thank you DNA for that free publicity 🙂
Now I just need to sort out how to become a regular columnist for a respected publication or magazine. I want to write about life here with an “expat perspective” on business and socializing in India (ahh yes, I hear parties calling my name already! haha). Over the past 10 days, I have sent two emails to the Editor-in-chief at Times India (Bangalore) but have not received a reply yet. I suppose I should start extending my reach…
XOXO from Bangalore
© Angela Carson and Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore blog and photos, 2011