PM Modi's Social Media team goofs up on copyrighted picture
Moneylife Digital Team 27 October 2014

The PM's official Facebook page posted a Diwali photo without the originator's permission and the photographer has gone public

 

Prime Minster Narendra Modi is known for his crack social media team, but this time it seems to have goofed. The PM's official Facebook page posted a Diwali photo without the originator's permission and the photographer has gone public
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official Facebook Page had a beautiful photographs of a chain of diyas which were sure to brighten up the Diwali of his many followers. Bimal Nepal, a Boston-based photographer says the PM stole his photograph and used it without permission or attribution, forget about payment – now that is one nasty fly in the in the oil of the Diwali diya.
 
On 21st of October, Bimal Nepal posted on his official Facebook page the following picture, with the message “Greetings on Dhanteras. May Lord Dhanvantari bless us with prosperity, joy and good health.”:
 

PM Modi's post, as usual, quickly went viral. Following Bimal Nepal's appeal for help, some of his friends started contacting newspaper editors and interviews and news reports popped up in all kinds of places.
 
He said on his account that, “This photograph has been used by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Facebook page. I shot this photo in my dining room last year with the help of my daughter Abina. She set up the candle lights on Diwali in our home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


I am truly honoured! My greatest question and concern is - there is no credit for the photographer?! What will happen to the so called © copyright issue? He did not ask for the permission. Any suggestion?”
 
The post however, is still up on the PM's account. A user tagged Nepal in a reply to the post, and this reply is the top-rated comment on the post which already has close to half a million likes and 45,000 shares. On the other hand, Bimal Nepal's official page has 10,000 likes in total. For all the hue and cry, it may actually end up being a huge win for the photographer himself. Surely, his copyright must be respected, but if not any other way, this has made him a star with Modi fans on the internet, which is quite an audience.
 
For a politician used to a great deal worse than copyright infringement accusations, this might be a slightly confusing issue to react to. Surely, as the Prime Minister he need not react to trivialities like these, but this highlights the need for better professionals, who understand copyright laws, to be handling the PM's social media presence. Let us hope that in fairness, the photographer's grievance is address immediately.

A PTI report said that PMO sources on the 24th of October, said that the photo was used by several websites and that it was sent by a creative agency. The creative agency was reported to have said that since the photo was publicly available and was free to download on many legitimate websites, there was no need to take permission for using the photo. However, the same report also said that the photo was used for wishing the PM's followers and not for profit, the PMO sources were also reported as saying that they had contacted the photographer  by e-mail when they came to know of the issue and are yet to receive a response.

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