Saturday, November 26, 2011

[UPDATED] Magazine Plagiarises Livefist Content & More


As Livefist readers, it is important that I share the following with you. An Indian defence and strategic affairs magazine Geopolitics has plagiarised a Livefist post from September this year, verbatim, word-for-word and without credit. The short piece appearing on p.26 of the November edition [PDF] of the magazine is a straight reproduction of a September 27 post following a meeting I had with Rolls-Royce executives in Delhi. The photograph printed by the magazine with the snippet is also mine, though the magazine has correctly provided me with a credit. This, I should perhaps point out, is because I complained to the magazine's editor last month regarding the use of at least two my original photos in the earlier edition without a credit (use of my photos is permitted without prior permission, but always requires a credit). For instance, in the October 2011 issue of Geopolitics, p.62 has a photo of a special forces commando that I had taken at Aero India 2009 (coverage on Headlines Today) and posted here on Livefist at the time. After the magazine's editor apologized for the oversight on mail and assured me this would not happen again, I now see my written content being lifted by the magazine.

Failing to reach Geopolitics editor Prakash Nanda (Twitter handle @prakashnanda) on his cellphone today (he is apparently in Paris), I spoke to Geopolitics managing editor Tirthankar Ghosh over the phone at his office. He apologized over the phone and assured me that action would be taken. He was gracious and polite, and I thanked him for saying he would look into the matter. After speaking to him, as a matter of record, I sent an e-mail with my complaint to Geopolitics editor Prakash Nanda, and copied to Mr Ghosh. Here's what followed:

In response to my e-mail today, Geopolitics editor Prakash Nanda responded: "I think it is a small news item; we collect content for these items from many sources. Was the content exclusive to you? Anyway, since they have given credit to you for the photo, you should not be that sensitive."

Assuring Prakash Nanda that the post was exclusive to me, I responded: "Mr Nanda, Intellectual property is a serious issue. It would be appropriate if you did not advise me on being "sensitive", considering that your magazine has lifted my written work verbatim without a credit (a highly serious offence if this was done in the US or UK). And by giving me a photo credit in the current issue, please note that your publication has done me no favour -- you have only done what is correct and just, and pointed out by me in my previous complaint to you on use of my photos without credit. With due respect to your long years in journalism, I find it surprising that you would consider the provision of credit such a light matter."

Mr Nanda then wrote back, "A small news snippet does not deserve the reactions of the intensity from your side. It was a news item. I am hereby asking my colleagues not to look at your blog (I do not)."

About my photographs that his magazine used without credit, Mr Nanda added, "I was told by my staff that they did not take the photo (about which you had mentioned in your first mail to me) from your blog; it was readily available in many places and none of them mentioned that it was yours. In fact, they did not know that you had a blog."

This is patently false. The Geopolitics twitter account follows the official Livefist twitter account (I have saved screen grabs of this, in case they unfollow me). More significantly, the magazine's Editor-in-Chief K. Srinivasan also follows Livefist on Twitter. Therefore to say that his staff "did not know" that I had a blog is obviously an exaggeration.

My final response to Mr Nanda: "The least I would expect from a professional organisation such as yours is a brief credit in your next edition, mentioning that the HAL LUH piece was written by me, and was taken from my blog. That is only fair. Obviously, if you choose not to, that is upto you. It is of no concern to me whether your colleagues or you look at my blog. How is that the point? The fact is my work has been plagiarised and used without credit or attribution, and that is my ONLY concern."

This is where the e-mail exchange ends. I felt it was important for me to share this with readers of Livefist. I should say here that I was perfectly willing to let this go with a simple apology and corrigendum credit in the magazine's next edition. But given the brazenness with which the editor of Geopolitics has justified his magazine's plagiarism of my work, I may be considering other options. Will keep you all posted.

UPDATE @ 8.00PM

Well, it turns out that Geopolitics doesn't lift stuff only from humble little blogs like Livefist. Thanks to Jay in the comments section of this post, we now have an instance of the magazine (same issue, Nov 2011) lifting a full article -- word-for-word, verbatim again -- from Times of India, India's largest English-language newspaper. Page 53 of the edition has a piece called 'NSG Commandos Go Hi-Tech', copied word-for-word from this piece in Times of India by journalist Dipak Kumar Dash, titled 'New-look NSG Commandos Go Hi-Tech'. They've even lifted the headline!

And since this dispute needs to be above board, here goes my mail to Geopolitics editor Prakash Nanda, in light of this fresh revelation:

My email: "Mr Nanda, It appears the Nov 2011 edition of Geopolitics has also plagiarised word-for-word an article from the Times of India! In the November 2011 issue, on page 53, the story "NSG Commandos Go Hi-Tech" is once again a direct verbatim lift of this article by TOI correspondent Dipak Kumar Dash. Surely you cannot claim that TOI content is simply floating around on the net, or that your staff/you do not read the Times of India. I have posted on my blog on your magazine's act of plagiarism, as also the responses you have sent me by e-mail, since you do not appear willing to (a) show any willingness to correct a grave oversight, and (b) acknowledge that something very wrong has been done by your magazine/staff."

UPDATE: Mr Nanda responded, saying, "I appreciate you read Geopolitics so carefully. That means my magazine is doing the rounds. Could you please tell me the site of your blog; I have never bothered to look at it. I would see how authentic and original it is. Then i will reply to you."

Again, my final response: "Mr Nanda: Actually, the acts of plagiarism on your magazine's part were pointed out to me by readers of my blog (since I do not subscribe to your publication). I have provided you with links to my blog (livefist.blogspot.com) in my past e-mails as well. Your magazine's twitter account follows mine, so clearly your staff keep a track of my work (contrary to your assertions). And I am honoured that you think that my having investigated your journal for more instances of plagiarism/theft means your magazine is "doing the rounds". For an otherwise decent journal, you really must set the bar a little higher than that. Feel free to look at my blog (or not) as you choose. But remember that your journal has stolen my work."

I wish I could say "I'm gonna speak to my lawyer", except that I don't have one :) So I'm going to get one and see what my legal options are. Will keep you posted. If any of you have any constructive ideas of how you think I should proceed on this dispute, feel free to let me know. Write to livefist@gmail.com.

It is important to point out here that Geopolitics sends out unsolicited complimentary copies of its magazine to several media houses, including to mine, though we are not subscribers. Though I have noticed the magazine in my office newsroom -- along with the several other magazines that usually come in every week -- my only interface with its contents has been through its online edition, linked here severally in this post.

Plagiarised Clippings from Geopolitics Nov 2011


66 comments :

Anonymous said...

Shiv,

Love it !! (the fact that you brought it out in open and not that they copied.) Its important to bring transparency in such matters to the general public. Thanks as always !

Now that we are all being candid and all. I would like to share, I like Headlines Today but one of your news anchor has really freaky aggressive eyes.

Happy Weekend.

Rupesh said...

This is outrageous. Email responses are ridiculous. Is there any redressal available in India? No doubt big magazines prey on other authentic sources. Arrogance in email is unacceptable from a professnal journalist.

Rajeev said...

Shiv, you try to take action, file a lawsuit with supreme court. Does hard work have no value.

You should also email Nanda that you will post his magazine's PDF for sale on your website for a fee which you will collect and ask him whether you would be fine with that?

Anna said...

Really amazing how shameless some people can be. And that too when this someone claims to be a experienced journalist himself.

You did correct and I think you should stop people taking anything from your blog for commercial use, without your prior permission.

Regards

Ravi said...

Screw that guy, who? Nanda. We will look into it when he comes for ads.....Good job livefist

Ravi said...

Screw that guy, who? Nanda. We will look into it when he comes for ads.....Good job livefist

Rohit said...

shiv,
seriously man!!!! Who has heard of Geopolitics...?
not me and definitely not a large no of people!!

Black Hawk said...

Unbelievable!!!

From now on watermark all your photos with 'Livefist' or 'Aroor' in the centre of the picture. Make sure you expose this guy and his magazine on forums like BR and blogs by other defence journos as they are also equally vulnerable to such blatant thefts.

On the lighter side, could you post this picture on your blog : http://blogs.youknowwho.in/files/2011/11/chennai.jpg

I am eager to know the reactions from other visitors of your blog.

Shiv Aroor said...

Black Hawk: HILARIOUS! I grew up in Chennai. The Pallavan Transport bus brought back a lot of memories. Thanks for this!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for exposing this magazine. It should serve as a warning to thieves of hardwork by others. Other magazines also do it, to be fair.

Anonymous said...

I think you are over-reacting!! It happens with us all the time

Ajay Ramakrishnan said...

Great Expose! Wonder if they will plagiarise this piece of yours? :P

Abhay Singh said...

My bro is a IPR lawyer.

Anonymous said...

im not surprised. indians are good at ripping off other peoples work. I see it in universities here as well as when i'm in india. Buy a computer in india and almost always you get a pirated version of windows. Bootlegged movies are sold everywhere.. go to NIIT and this supposedly "professional" learning centre uses pirated versions of all their programs (i know because i studied there a year ago!).

Sad, but indians are like this.

Anonymous said...

pirated version ... how many people in India can afford original cds .. u might have stack of money but most people cannot afford every thing original

Anonymous said...

Sue Nanda! Plain and simple! A small theft or a large theft -- a theft is a theft, punishable.

The law in India provides a remedy for plagiarism undertaken by a commercial operation, and you must avail of that remedy. Nanda violated his responsibility of integrity in journalism, and he owes you compensatiom for stealing your work. Remember, intellectual violations are akin to stealing: instead of stealing a hard object or item, they steal your inetellectual creation. And, Nanda has made it all easy for you by admitting to the theft. Claiming ignorance about where he found the picture, i.e., in some other place, is no excuse. In common law, the obvious evidence here is considered overbearing, so it becomes the responsibility of the person taking pictures from the web to make sure he isn't violating any copyright or intellectual property. The onus to verify intellectual property is on the user, and it is the user's responsibility to take permission from the original owner of the property.

Now, it doesn't matter that legal recourse may take a few years in India: you must still file a lawsuit. Right is always right! And, by filing this lawsuit you will be discouraging all future potential violators from stealing your work.

And, Nanda can always settle outside of court with you, to which I think you should agree. Given the value of your website + the income Nanda earned from his magazine, I think a couple of lakh rupees would be a reasonable settlement. Nanda would be wise to settle with you rather than face your lawsuit. Too bad for Nanda: ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Best wishes.

Ajai Shukla said...

Geopolitics is a government-funded rag. Whoever discovered that they had plagiarised your piece is a regular Sherlock Holmes... looking in places that nobody else would.

To hell with them. Youve got better things to do with your time...

Cheers,

Ajai

Anonymous said...

Bet their advertisers read Livefist, though.

Jay said...

It's not just you they plagiarise from. They seem to be liberally lifting from TOI as well. Their article "NSG commandos to go hi-tech" from the same, Nov '11 issue is a direct copy of this Oct 17 article from TOI:
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-10-17/india/30289291_1_commandos-nsg-national-security-guard

Jay said...

They seem to be plagiarising from TOI as well. Their article from the same Nov issue titled "NSG commandos to go hi-tech" is a direct lift from here: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-10-17/india/30289291_1_commandos-nsg-national-security-guard

Anonymous said...

This is nothing but robery & should be condemed.

Anonymous said...

Why this kolaveri kolaveri kolaveri di???

Shiv Aroor said...

@Jay: Thanks for pointing this out. Good find.

IwasHere said...

We Indians, need to be more vocal about such issues. All along a good chunk of our population has not given a second thought at using pirated software in our computers, or renting pirated video tapes and DVDs for watching a new movie at home. We need to learn to value the creator of the original piece, whether it be a written piece of article, or a software, medication, a mechanical device or just an idea. People need to make it their mission to not use anything that is made available to them without proper credits to the original. This is not only wrong, but it has an unfortunate consequence: It kills creativity..... Visit China and you will see plenty of examples of it.

Sushil said...

Who knows, they might have a deal with TOI.
Leave them alone, you have much better things to do.

btw, apart from plagiarism, I suspect a case of identity theft on this very page. Who is this 'Ajai Shukla' @6:53? He joined blogger in Sep'11 and unlike Broadsword, he managed meagre 8 hits as I write.

Anonymous said...

I will request you to send them a legal notice. By doing this, you will do a huge favor to many.

DHRUV said...

I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF GEOPOLITICS!!!!!
SHIV BRO, FOR THEM IT MIGHT BE A BUSSINESS BUT FOR YOU ITS PASSION.
'plan bana kar khopche me lete hai us nanda ko.....lol'

Ashwin Baindur said...

Few Indians realise what are the actions required to be done so that IPR is not violated. First of all is citation to avoid plagiarism which is the borrowing od ideas/information without crediting the author source. Secondly, the material borrowed needs to be rewritten, not just closely paraphrased so as to avoid copyright violation. Your ideas may be reproduced (with due citation/reference/credit), but not your language itself, unless it is in public domain. Lastly, if they choose to reproduce a few words of yours verbatim then it needs to be enclosed in apostrophes and the text state clearly that these are words of Shiv Aroor.

Strangely, I learnt all these things not from my education but as an editor of Wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

I think for you should take legal action if only to send a message to the larger community of reporters and journalists that plagiarism is not acceptable. This is probably not the first time they have done this.

iambob said...

You go Shiv!!!
You shouldn't have to tolerate that kind of BS. Sue his @ss off, brah!

Anonymous said...

Having recently graduated with a mid-career business degree from MIT, USA... it is amazing how lightly these things are taken at some places !

Recently one of the students had to take leave and face disciplinary action because he failed to quote the source in one of his reports! Obviously it is the question of the reputation this great school... but I think it is also a cultural issue.

Will take time to trickle around a bit.

vanniyar said...

Everyone copies.what is wrong in that?China copies the design from russian war planes.that was why it was able to progress.We indians did not copy.that is why we lag behind china.see fate of laca.Chinese are developing jf-17,j-10,j-20 etc.ok.first understand this.

You and I copies in exams.agree right.so this is not a big deal.I think you should also copy from other blogs.afterall the overall life we live itself is a way of copied life.

Anonymous said...

unless you want some royalty or something....I say let ToI people know..they will sue him..

saptarshi [Sachi dulal das] said...

drag them to court.shiv,its your efforts,only headlines today,aj tak and india today can show any component from livefist and that also not without your consent....

Hari said...

I am surprised how he can be so unabashed in his reply. idiot!!!

chanakya said...

i support you please take leagal actions on this arrogant man who has no sense of ethics in journalism

chanakya said...

I think you are excellent and your work is very very admired here among Tamils in the Reunion Island (a french colony in the Indian Ocean)

Sameer said...

It appears that your work inspires many. From professional organisations to jingoists..

How about suing this guy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=xYGpH7XdPh4

But plz don't make a copyright claim though. I've bookmarked the page and would go there to read comments whenever I'm bored.
Entertainment unlimited.

vipulmb said...

If you want to set an example for others... Move ahead and choose the Legal options. Best of luck Shiv.

swapnil said...

Long live Live Fist!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I take a vow. I will not buy a single copy of geopolitics till this matter is sorted out.
Sincerely,

Ashutosh Narayan Singh said...

Seems like Mr Nanda needs a little dose of tongue-lashing from our new Press Council chief... ;)

Mazo said...

Clearly these old timers don't understand IPR.
You can educate them with a lawsuit ( why don't you ? ).

What is most disturbing is their attitude towards you. They clearly acknowledge their infringement yet they dismiss it as inconsequential (theft is theft!), if they are selling this magazine for profit or indeed charging for this magazine you have EVERY RIGHT to be compensated and you shouldn't take this lying down.

Filing a case in the court is easy and cheap in India even though you might not get a quick resolution it would be a healthy deterrent and teach these people a lesson about copying and repay them for their rude replies.

Anonymous said...

What a Jackass..."I have never bothered to look at it"? Is he serious? That's a 15 year old teenage mentality

Ram said...

As a leading lawyer in IPR I think you have a very good case on hand for CR violation.

Anonymous said...

Like many before this post Geopolitics was not even known, you may have inadvertently advertised them. Exposing them is good but like Ajai said move on you have far better things to do.

Anonymous said...

idiots! (this from The Netherlands, so not able to offer any legal advice) But your blog is much appreciated here, and this copying is outrageous.

Anonymous said...

I think we Indians are slowly deviating from morals and ethics.

If as a senior journalist Mr. Nanda can forget about ethics and a simple moral (theft), what can he teach his children.

I am sure in Elementary schools now in India no one teaches those moral stories.

My parents and grandparents read many moral stories as bedtime stories. I wonder if these people ever teach such stories to their children or grandchildren.

'History becomes legend; legend become myth'

Renjith said...

Watermark your photos dude

Anonymous said...

To Anon@11:59
=============
Why not spread the word about this Plagiarism ? Livefist will become popular for the right reasons. It will also expose Geopolitics.

Vin said...

Hi Shiv,

I do know it hurts the one who have taken effort who write article and the one who have taken effort to photograph it.

I too had a experience like you where a national daily had picked up a photograph short by me without giving credit. Felt bit hurt.

Vin said...

Hi Shiv,

Add a point for my earlier post, Why not add a watermark(which is visible) in the center(as one can't edit the pics) of your pics from now on?? By doing so, pics will automatically give credits.

sents said...

Just have a look at his magazine completely and see which article he has copied from which site. I think most of his article would be copied from other sites. Then contact the original owner of the article and file a case against him jointly. That will give you a lot of support.

Santosh said...

You should inform ToI of Geopolitics' plagiarism. Be persistent if you have to be. While you don't have a lawyer, I'm sure ToI has plenty.

thinktanker said...

sounds exactly how Force editor gazala wahab reacted after prasun sengupta stole articles from BR.

hey prasun, if you are reading this, you have a boyfriend !!

Anonymous said...

after so much of tussle the first prototype of naval tejas is getting off with a f404 engine which hardly gives a thrust of 80KN.it seems that it wont be able to take off the from the carrier even. thinking of developing a engine for a 5gen aircraft is a far off thing. and doubt even the kaveri engine would fit into it.it will just be very good joke for other countries

Anonymous said...

Wow!

In just one or two articles, Nanda and his team did what they could not have done even after doing tapasya.

PUBLICITY!!!!!!!!!!!

Now before Shivs blog piece, no one heard about this mag. Now nearly 5000 who really take interest in reading strategic matters know about it now.

Great! for which they had sacrifice ethics.

Anonymous said...

Hey Shiv, Who knows about Geopolitics. Your to the point journalism has made us aware of Indian defense, which had very less reach-ability to normal people.
Don't let them violate the Intellectual Property rights of yours, who cant even do a simple apology.

Anonymous said...

here is another one:
the article "eorope offers missile to india" is pretty much the same as on indian defence i read a while ago all they have done is edited the article to make it short otherwise its pretty mushthe same..
here is the link to indian defence article:
http://www.indiandefence.com/taurus-stand-off-missile-system-offered-india-20111019/

Anonymous said...

Pathetic Email Response. Seems to be totally uncultured person dipping in Babudome.

People like these should be put behind bars to put there arrogance in place.

If I am not mistaken , my perception is that , He has committed a legal offence according to indian copyright laws , you can send him legal notice.

Shame on Geopolitics for such pathetic and dumb replies brings down their image in my eyes .

Anonymous said...

Fight! Fight! Fight! - Take it outside boys.

Anonymous said...

Hey Shiv !!!!

You should take this matter up on national TV and highlight this issue. It is a serious matter as people do not pay respect to the hard work done by others and just use it by copy paste . The only way we can eliminate this is from school / college level as I am sure that all senior people out there doing this have done this stuff before and received credits for it without being caught .

Cheers.

Dinakar Peri said...

Hey shiv,

Nice of u to bring it out and let everyone know. Many tend to ignore them as they keep happening every now and then. Y don't you do a news piece on headlines today on palzgarism in india and the need to check it with geopolitics as the example. U hv enough proof of it. Shld serve them right.

Dinakar

RAV1 said...

Well, they say imitation is a the best form of flattery and LiveFist is definitely the best at coverage of Indian defense related matters ! Kudos to you for the not taking this lightly and keep the news coming ! re-posting and re-tweeting this :)

Anonymous said...

Hey shiv,

In case you haven't heard about it, Geopolitics have published an apology for plagiarising ur blog.Its on page 3.

regards
danny.

Shiv Aroor said...

@Danny: Page3 of what?