AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

*** UPDATED *** Guess who is stealing pictures?

*** UPDATED ***

book yellow pages jordan

Either the Yellowpages people (Mobilcom and Wanadoo?) or the Ministry of Tourism.

So yesterday, I was paging through the latest issue of the Yellow Pages and looking at the section on Jordan, when I found this very familiar looking image.

I mean, of course it’s familiar, I took it last summer when I went to Syria with my grandfather! For a few minutes I thought that perhaps its just an eerily similar picture, because no one had asked for my permission to put it in print and the picture wasn’t taken in Jordan anyway. When I went home and though and checked, I indeed confirmed that it was the picture I took last year of the psuedo mansaf in Damascus that I thought was rather funny (because it is NOTHING like the Jordanian mansaf), but now, my picture of the psuedo-Mansaf is being advertised in a section entitled “The Art of Traditional Jordanian Cooking”!!!

I don’t know whether to laugh or have a pissfit.

They even went ahead and copyrighted it,

fake mansaf that they stole

Here’s the original picture as posted on this blog on July 18th, 2005:

The worst part? THE PICTURE WAS NOT EVEN TAKEN IN JORDAN! (In Syria, last year)

*** UPDATED ***

So after everyone’s advice, I decided to go ahead and email the Yellow Pages, because after checking the Ministry’s website of photographs, I decided that it is most probably the folks over at the Yellow Pages practicing intellectual propery theft.
I also decided to publish the email,

Dear Sir/Madam,

It has come to my attention that the print version of the 2006 edition of the Jordan Yellow Pages (Tourism) makes use of some of my creative content (a photograph) without my permission. Please review the image used in page titled “Enjoy your visit” under “The Art of the Traditional Kitchen”.
Intellectual property theft is a serious issue that Jordan has recently been trying to combat and it is very unfortunate that such a reputable company is practicing plagiarism in a very public and well disturbuted publication. I demand acknowledgment and compensation for both not taking my permission and for photographic services.

Sincerely,
Roba Al-Assi

I will keep you updated.

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33 Comments

  1. LOOOOOOOOL

    waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal mish haik el waka7a!!!

    You SHOULD wirte to them about that, it’s the graphic designer who stole it and they should know about that, but make sure he/she is not one of your friends.

  2. I agree that you should do something about this. Instead of phoning though, you should go there and give them shit in person. Demand payment and recognition for your picture or sue their asses!

  3. Sue the *********** I say.
    you might be on thin ground thou cause you have not stated on your blog that the rights are reserved!
    but i’m sure it will be fun trying ;)

  4. how unprofessional!

    i tried to google for a mansaf image, thinking they found it by googling mansaf, but no results, they read ur blog and they know its urs!

    i didn’t find a picture of mansaf on google but i found a picture of some indian dude called mansaf, interesting!
    http://www.jmi.nic.in/Fnat/mansaf_cs.htm

  5. Hehe, I actually do state, several places, especially with the pictures;

    on the blog (homepage)–> Brought to you by Roba Al-Assi. | The content on And Far Away is licensed under a Creative Commons Liscense | Disclaimer: Opinions may not be representative of author.

    on flickr–> http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

    :) I don’t think I want to sue them though.. they’re just rude and I want them to know that they can’t get away with stealing!

  6. K.

    Well, you already know what to do. Sue the bastards. Seriously.

  7. No way Ruba … sho 3aiiiiiiiib !!!

  8. LOL

    stupid dumbasses

  9. Auch !!!!! LOL

    I’d say .. it’s the yellow pages !

    you know what .. next time :) you should sign your photos .. using the photoshop ;)!

  10. some editor contacted me, through flickr, the other day to seek permission to use pics taken of my country. I have not replied. I’m undecided. HELP, Roba. Should I agree, any conditions?

  11. :) I don’t think I want to sue them though.. they’re just rude and I want them to know that they can’t get away with stealing!

    Well, if you don’t sue them, they get away.

  12. gaweeeeeyeh!

  13. hmm, why sue? you work in a magazine, ur friends work in magazines and the press, I would say cause them a scandal. Intelectual property rights are no joke, especially in a country that wants more US investments like Jordan. You should call the Ministry first though, and record them being rude and write down the name of the person who will be rude to you, this way, when you go to the press we tefda7eehom, u will have every justification in the world!

  14. Roba I think you should definately give them a piece of your mind, mish menshan ishi, only for the sake of them learning someday *i hope* that plagiarism is not something you get away with.

  15. OMG what can you do about this??? seriously do they even know the word ‘sue’ here? Is there anyway you can get compensated for this?

    the most mistyfiying part for me is the (c) part on the side of the pic! how shameful

  16. Let’s see…
    It’s not “Traditional”
    It’s not “Jordanian”
    and it’s not “Art”.

    Shame on them. I can’t believe they’d try to pull such a thing. No wonder they didn’t ask permission… if you had asked what they wanted to use it for, and they had said “To represent ‘The art of traditional Jordanian cooking’,” you would have laughed at them.

    People tend to think that anything on the internet is free. Well, most of it is, but they should at least ask permission.

    Instead of suing them, you should call them up and tell them you’re sending them a bill for “photographic services”. It could be your first paid photography job.

  17. Troy Z

    This is so actionable for so many reasons. I agree with SaM’s procedure and justification and Rebecca’s sentiments and advice.

    I suspect a lot of your readership consists of nascent artists, writers, and producers who need to know as soon as possible that they are not just legally but ethically entitled to get paid and credited for their work. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. Never let someone say this is what you love doing anyway and that you shouldn’t mind not getting credit. It’s a trap that makes that which you love turn very quickly into something you resent. If others don’t value your art, let that person compete with you for your visions that add value to a project and see how difficult it actually is to win appeal of an audience.

    Register your intent to come down like Thor’s Litigious Hammer on their legal department with a certified letter just to get things rolling.

    And, please, people, while we’re on the subject, pay for the songs you download and the movies you watch. One-hit wonders need an income, too, and we’d all not turn down the chance for a bigger production budget for what we do.

  18. Wow!!! … Seriously! What were they thinking!!?

  19. So after everyone’s advice, I decided to go ahead and email the Yellow Pages, because after checking the Ministry’s website of photographs, I decided that it is most probably the folks over at the Yellow Pages practicing intellectual propery theft.
    I also decided to publish the email,

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    It has come to my attention that the print version of the 2006 edition of the Jordan Yellow Pages (Tourism) makes use of some of my creative content (a photograph) without my permission. Please review the image used in page titled “Enjoy your visit” under “The Art of the Traditional Kitchen”.
    Intellectual property theft is a serious issue that Jordan has recently been trying to combat and it is very unfortunate that such a reputable company is practicing plagiarism in a very public and well disturbuted publication. I demand acknowledgment and compensation for both not taking my permission and for photographic services.

    Sincerely,
    Roba Al-Assi

    I will keep you updated.

  20. Allison

    A friend told me about your problem. I used to work at Al Ghad as a photographer and unfortunatly there are no copy right laws in Jordan. This happens to me all the time, I find my photographs in official and non official publicaitons. I would however confront them just to hold them accountable. It is a small way you can push for reform and fairness in Jordan.

  21. Chris

    I wonder if there has been any lawsuit regarding a Creative Commons License issue in the arab world?

    You probably already know http://creativecommons.org/worldwide/jo/ ?

  22. hahahahahahahaha… they’ve always used my photos too. btw on flickr even if u active this thing that doesnt save the photo, if u save the whole html page on firefox, ull get the photo saved.. no use

  23. All I can really say is, DAMMNNN!!

    But hey, you know how you see those food commercial things in magazines, and you can’t remotely taste the food or anything like it.

    At least you ate that dish.

    I would sue them and make it public. Because it’s very improfessional of them.

    Oh, and I got accepted to JU. wee!

  24. wow,
    now you’re on PlagiarismToday! hehehe

    my sister’s is studying IP masters,
    she can consult you if they don’t
    take the proper course of action

    omar

  25. moi

    Good thing you wrote the letter. If everyone stays quiet about these violations then nothing will change.

  26. Ya3ni … the least they can do is apologize and give you credit (if not royalties) for using your picture in a COMMERCIAL way that brings THEM money!
    Anyway … I’m with you, what ever you decide

  27. I can’t believe it… I’ve seen this story happening somewhere else at the same time (in Spanish; sorry):

    http://vislumbres.bitacoras.com/archivos/2006/09/02/pasmao

    From the other side of the Mediterranean Sea, my solidarity

  28. This is funny & sad !!

    shakelna et3awwadna 3al ser2a…

    If I were you, msh bas email, ba7for ras-hom, bazzahe2hom calls w bajlothom, untill they publish a formal apology!

    *sigh*

  29. Can’t wait for their reply..this is good,I wonder what would they do?

  30. The question is, do they have the guts to reply?

    They might just ignore you. And if I were you, I would go there and vandlize the hell out of their company!! But that’s not very professional.

    What’s VERY professional, is a legal case. Suing them, in other words.

    Power to the bloggers. And random lunch picture takers.

    1!

  31. Hello Roba,

    I came across your blog through GlobalVoicesOnline and have had you bookmarked ever since. I am a photographer and hate to hear about this sort of thing happening…suing the YP may be a route to go however you may be better served by asking for photo credit in future editions….you never know they may request to use some of your other photos and provide some sort of financial compensation…if nothing else your blog may enjoy some really cool exposure.

    I have found through previous encounters with corporate monsters when it comes to issues such as these, “He with the deepest pockets ususally wins”. You may wish to add a watermark to your photos…at least it will make the theft a little more difficult. I am a novice blogger and will ensure I do the same with my photos.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog, in my opinion it provides fresh insight to your side of the world. Keep making and sharing those wonderful images.

    All the best to you.

    Patrick Hickey,
    http://www.pathickeytravels.com
    http://www.LasVegasVR.com

    me@pathickeytravels.com

  32. DJ

    To the person who said that there are no copyright laws in Jordon: http://www.infoprod.co.il/country/jordan2d.htm

    The laws are there, but maybe they are not enforced. Also, IP laws are a big issue worldwide. Jordon is a member of the WTO. As far as I know, in order to be a full member of the WTO, a country’s laws must comply with certain international standards.

  33. Guess who’s plagarizing Roba now…

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6055951

    I expected better from NPR!

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