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Lakbima prints Cerno’s post without asking

Mon, 9 Jul, 07

Many thanks to Anonymous for the tip :) Lakbima printed my long post about getting a passport without bothering to contact me, without printing the URL or even a link back on their online version of the article.

At least they attributed the article to “cerno” whatever that means. Their subtitle “IT TAKES A WHOLE DAY TO GET IT DONE” makes the “article” sound like I’m complaining about the passport office. Which its not. The online article has chunks of the middle and the last paragraph amputated (without anaesthetics I bet). Good thing I don’t use my real name or there goes my hopes of getting another passport ;)

The web version looks like a rushed copy paste job. I’m betting that it was either grabbed off a feed or a browser window without bothering about the HTML structure. I’ve head of “big media” looting blog content but never thought it’ll happen to me (typical reaction no?)

Perhaps the paper think I ought to be flattered. For their information (FTI), I’m not. Yet oddly, I’m not angry about this (its really not worth the time and effort). It just doesn’t feel “right”. Has the bad smell of something unethical.

Perhaps this is someone’s idea of “free press” ;) If they had printed the URL and put a link back – which is a full attribution (and a nice upward climb of that stat graph :D) – I’d agree about the free press thing.

Perhaps I ought to put a copyright notice of some sort of legalise at the bottom of the main page like Voice in Colombo. If I’m going bother dealing with this I’ll have to waste time with an email to the editor. Could be worse. Could be worse.

Since this post is syndicated on Kottu I’d like to ask what the rest of the blogosphere thinks. Has something like this happened before? or is it new? Is the bloggosphere being looted for free/cheap content?

With a tsumani of wedding nuttiness coming my way this is one of the many things I’d rather not have to deal with. But such is life. No no? Yes no?

Now its time to hit the publish button and get to work.

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 09:22

    Not surprising, its happened before…seems jornou buggers in SL are extremely lazy…

  2. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 11:01

    Rajpal is known to be doing this, even in his time at the lake house. Cynically Yours was one of the people whom he copied.

  3. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 12:04

    Rajpal copied me as well, but he had the decency to credit me. I was peeved because he didn’t ask permission. The last thing I don’t want is for my writing to be published on crap like Sunday Observer or Daily Noise.

  4. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 12:11

    Looks like Rajpal is a master of doing this :-)

    Sachini used to complain a lot about this, when Rajpal was at Observer. I know there’s some concerns about the IP rights. But, we can be happy that at least we have one editor who reads blogs, out of all these Sunday News papers. ;-)

  5. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 12:49

    Voice in Colombo:
    You got a point. But I think an editor of a major news paper needs to have the professionalism to ask authors for permission to reproduce their text and PROPERLY attribute the content.

    Right now the implication is that I’m a writer for a paper I don’t even subscribe to.

    In any case its quite unprofessional. In a sense they are behaving like politicians.

    Theena: Without printing the URL, the editor gives the impression that the bloggers they are taking the text from are writers for their paper. So I don’t feel that the editor has properly credited me. Did they put your blog’s URL when you post got published?

  6. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 12:51

    Cerno – The exact same thing has happened to me, I’ve justp put a post out (and Ilinked to you!). I think it’s a totally poor show and feel exactly the same as you.

  7. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 13:08

    RD: :D and I was just about to post a comment on your site about it.
    Seems this week several other bloggers have also been “looted”.

    Scribbles Galore’s “Road rage, it just takes over I tell you!!!”Scribbles Galore and pissu perera’s “Piercings = look at me, I’m here?” are the other bloggers whose posts have “used”.

    My take on it is that this practice is plainly unethical. But “Vut” to do? I’d hate to have to start some sort of negativity campaign. Perhaps its a good stage for IP awareness. Going to slap a creative commons license or something on my site anyway.

    Going to mull over this at lunch and then call my solicitors (White & Van) ;)

  8. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 13:28

    “Theena: Without printing the URL, the editor gives the impression that the bloggers they are taking the text from are writers for their paper. So I don’t feel that the editor has properly credited me. Did they put your blog’s URL when you post got published?”

    He extracted my article from Blogcritics. What he did was credit me by name and point out that the source was Blogcritics. It probably appeared as if I was writing for Blogcritics so that is okay.

    Correction from my earlier comment:

    “The last thing I don’t want is for my writing to be published on crap like Sunday Observer or Daily Noise.”

    Obviously it should be “The last thing I want ….”

  9. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 13:37

    I don’t know who publishes Lakbima, but when I called Lake House asking for an explanation, Rajpal’s assistant (Prasad something) asked me to go fuck myself.

    Wonderful.

    I initially considered my legal options, but one of the pleasant outcomes of Rajpal publishing my article was my old school warden reading it. Since there was a passing reference to him in the article – and a glowing one at that – and he was rather touched by it all.

    He was happy and that made me happy. I let the matter go.

  10. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 13:43

    Theena: :) that’s good that you were properly attributed.

    All they did was simply put -cerno at the bottom of the online article :(

    The same in print (for all the other bloggers as well). They even misspelled Rhythmic Diaspora as “Ryythmic Diaspora” :( which is pretty low. So is the shoddy way they treated you when you contacted them.

  11. Blogger permalink
    Mon, 9 Jul, 07 14:14

    Lakbima is published by the Sumathi Group. No doubt the professionalism is lacking. Even the format and layout of the online version at http://www.lakbimanews.lk is far from professional, sadly. References to blogs from which articles are extracted are not duly displayed. Someone needs to tell them how tro get their act together.

  12. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 14:42

    Blogger: You are quite correct. I guess it down to us bloggers ;)

    I’ve heard that the competition among English language papers are quite fierce since there are more of them and the read share isn’t getting much bigger.

    Grabbing stuff off blogs in such a shoddy way clearly looks like they are desperate. Maybe they don’t know any better but as professionals they should know better. That lack of professionalism gives a very bad feeling.

    I like Rhythmic Diaspora’s take on it. If the papers bothered to publish the URLs I think the issue will be resolved. But I wonder if that would help the paper once their readers decided to view already free content without buying a paper. But then, the paper is already on line so what’s the fuss.

    I wonder what would happen if I copy pasted one of their articles and credited it to “Lukbimma”.

  13. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 14:55

    Theena – “I don’t know who publishes Lakbima”: The Sumathi group publishes the paper, and Rajpal is its editor ;)

  14. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 15:23

    Manshark and Theena: by Rajpal do you mean “Rajpal Abeynayake”?

    I wonder if its some low paid person whose desperately flinging stuff together and not the editor ?

  15. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 17:13

    Rajpal Abeyanayake it is. Presumably, Rajpal does check on the originality of the content submitted by his writers.

    Thanks, Manshark. It’s starting to make sense now.

  16. Mon, 9 Jul, 07 22:43

    Quote “Without printing the URL, the editor gives the impression that the bloggers they are taking the text from are writers for their paper. So I don’t feel that the editor has properly credited me. Did they put your blog’s URL when you post got published?”
    Unquote

    Actually that’s not all. If you are a writer of the paper. they have to pay you. Now they are getting two benefits. One, getting free articles. Two: showing off content as if they blong to their own writers.
    This illustrates the unprofessional and disgusting state of Sri Lankan media.

  17. Tue, 10 Jul, 07 00:11

    Anandawardhana: well said.

    The hard part is figuring out what to do so that things go in a productive way. The worst case scenario is that anyone who writes a non-political post will be funding a for profit newspaper. I hope it doesn’t kill off non political posts.

  18. Tue, 10 Jul, 07 11:02

    hey, thanks cerno. had no idea about rajpal’s copyright infringements. i was about to say that rajpal is filling his pages with free articles when i noticed that anandawardhana had already mentioned it. is there nothing that can be done? obviously, an uproar on kottu means nothing to rajpal because the last time he did this to sach i know she tried contacting him.

  19. Mrl permalink
    Tue, 10 Jul, 07 11:54

    Hi Mr Rhythmic etc., (others)
    Greetings!
    First thing, we tried to contact you, but it’s not possible in most of the blogs. We did contact some of the others though, who left contact e mails.
    You bloggers know that you are anonymous.
    We’d like to publish the stuff you write, of course, more of it! Profuse apologies, but the reason was that we here were unable to contact you guys was your anonymity.
    Maybe a post would have helped; but didn’t think about the exact efficacy of that. because we did post at some sites, with our contactsw, and nobody bothered to reply!
    But then, it would have been difficult to give our contacts to you that way..
    Anyway we like the comment that this is a tribute to Sri Lankan bloggers. If your stuff is good we’d like to publish — it’s in the public domain too. So I think you should have a positive take on it.
    It’s not as if any stuff was published without credits.
    Anyway, we’d like to publish more of your stuff; and as you may have noticed, 90 per cent of our still is NOT from blogsites, so its just that we’d like to use SOME good stuff that comes from blogs that are of relevance to Sri Lanka..
    We’d also like to pay you — for anything published in the future, as well as what was published. We don’t pay enormously, but we pay reasonable rates.
    So please write to us at sumathienglish@gmail.com, and we would like to get the payment across to you, if you furnish an address.
    In the meanwhile, we’d like to use some more of the blogs — and we hope you can send some of your other material on the e mail so that we can publish it..
    Many of the boggers we published — including some such as Mr Fazli Sameer have got on board, and we hope you do that too. They write EXCELLENT stuff, and were not so harried. We don’t expect the same reaction from everyone, but then we are trying to set the record straight here.
    We would have liked to get you on board at the very outset, except that your contacts were not available. At least, they were not available at our scrutiny; maybe they were available somewhere.

    Thanks then, and so here is to the blogosphre — and here is to the mainstream!! We’d publish more, I hope you can write to us at our e mail and we’ll use more of yours, and pay you as well.
    Thanks and no offence,

    ‘Mr Lakbima’
    alias
    those at Lakbimanews.

    PS: And to that other person who said we may publish without the credit sometime, we don’t want to dignify that with a comment.

  20. Tue, 10 Jul, 07 13:33

    Well Dear Mr. Lakbima,

    This is with regard to the word-for-word copy and picture-to-picture copy of my post “What to shout at Rugger Matches” which was published on your paper under “Local Rugby Lingo” page 28 – July 8th 2007.

    http://chaarmax.blogspot.com/2006/09/what-to-shout-at-rugger-matches.html

    I would like to bring your attention to a few points, you mentioned that contradict certainly in my case.

    1. ///First thing, we tried to contact you, but it’s not possible in most of the blogs. We did contact some of the others though, who left contact e mails.
    You bloggers know that you are anonymous.///

    Well all you had to do was leave a comment. Just like the one you left here.

    2. ///If your stuff is good we’d like to publish — it’s in the public domain too.///

    Just because it’s in the Public Domain it doesn’t give you the right to publish, without proper citation and stating the sources. Just mentioning the Blog Author’s name in the “by XXX” is not enough. That would give the impression that the Blog Author is writing for your paper, and indeed getting paid for it as well.

    What you need to do is, state the source, as “Source – http://www.abc.com” or “Courtesy of http://www.abc.com“.

    As in my case, I wish to bring your attention to the Creative Commons License that I have, I certainly hope you are aware of it, and that your are committing an illegal act. Also you had incorrectly spelt my name as “Charrmax”.

    3. Are you going to take responsibility for the statement “Brian Homa”, as for I did not write it, with the idea of my publishing’s to get into the mainstream print media. I certainly hope you guys do a better job as editors, than blindly copy content without going through them properly, checking for what might cause an offense to others.

    Lastly, it’s not that we (atleast myself) aren’t glad to get our writings published but, with proper attribution to Us and our Blog web sites.

    I certainly hope you would be more careful, since this is not the first time that this has happened.

    Yours,

    ChaarMax
    Contact Email – chaarmaxgmailcom

Trackbacks

  1. IPO - Initial Public Offering Blog » Blog Archive » Lakbima prints Cerno’s post without asking
  2. English language media and the SL blogosphere « Cerno
  3. Lakbima issue- a positive twist: taking the blogosphere to the mainstream? « Cerno
  4. groundviews » Bloggers and mainstream media: Media ethics in a digital age
  5. Rajpal Abeynaike and the Lakbima Fiasco « Theena Kumaragurunathan
  6. Cerno More blog post “thefts” «
  7. Interview with Blogger Cerno | The Pakistani Spectator

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