Yusuf Ahmad

April 22, 2010

Ismira Lutfia & Emmy Fitri

Advocates Hope Photo Theft Case Will Help Raise Indonesian Copyright Attention

After charges of copyright infringement were leveled against South Sulawesi’s culture and tourism agency over its use of pictures taken by a Reuters photographer, media activists have renewed their call for better protection of copyrighted work.

The alleged violation was reported in Makassar, South Sulawesi, when local photojournalist Yusuf Ahmad discovered his pictures had been used in the local tourism and culture agency’s promotional brochures without his prior consent.

Jupriadi “Upi” Asmaradhana, a local media advocate representing Yusuf, said the brochures had been distributed to promote the province’s tourism potential during an international event in Amsterdam.

Yusuf has lodged a complaint against the government agency and has secured the backing of the Makassar chapter of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Board of Protection of Journalists and Freedom of Expression.

He is seeking appropriate credit and financial compensation for the use of his work.

The alleged infringement is currently being resolved privately by the tourism agency and the photographer.

Upi, who is also the board’s coordinator, told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday that the incident should be used as an example to increase awareness among photojournalists that they must fight for appropriate credit and compensation if their work is used by other parties.

Consent from the photographers, if they are freelancing, and from the companies where they are affiliated, must be sought by any parties wanting to use the works, he said. That’s especially true if the pictures are to be used for commercial purposes.

“Many [photojournalists] are even unaware that their photos are legally protected and wonder why we even filed against the [culture and tourism] agency,” Upi said.

Oscar Motuloh, a veteran Antara photographer, agreed that legal measures must be pursued. “That’s a crime, equal to using a story from a newspaper to advertise a product,” he said.

Oscar, who is the director of the Antara Photo Gallery in Central Jakarta, said the case in Makassar should remind photojournalists about their rights and the public in general that there were rules to protect photographers’ work.

“Photographers must stand by their work so if something happens to it, they can be held responsible or can claim their rights,” Oscar said.

However, although it works closely with journalists, AJI itself still does not have a legal mechanism to protect the work of photojournalists, chairman Nezar Patria said.

Nezar said the work of photojournalists was usually copyrighted by the media organizations where they were employed, so people or agencies wanting to use the work had to deal with the organizations and not the individuals.

“The copyright holder could be the media organization that they work for or the photographers themselves,” he said.

He suggested that professional photographers join a photo agency that could handle the management of their copyrighted works, including negotiation and distribution.

“They could have their photos negotiated accordingly by a management that would also track the distribution of their photos,” he said.

“But we also need to increase public awareness that people have to check the copyright of any photos they use,” Nezar said.

Upi called on other photojournalists who felt that their rights had been violated to inform the board, which would help them to seek legal assistance.

“We also call on all parties, including public and government bodies, to take copyright issues into account when using photographs for their work,” Upi said.

(dikutip dari JakartaGlobe)


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