Filter Copy

They say imitation is flattery. Its flattering no doubt, when you get to know that there are people who feel that the crap you write is wort...

They say imitation is flattery. Its flattering no doubt, when you get to know that there are people who feel that the crap you write is worth the process of right click->copy->paste->send to all.
At the start of it all, I was amused when I got an email from Ram saying "You're famous". It was my very own blog post (Deviance Nov 2008) being recycled as an email forward. I scrolled down to check if there was a link or an attribution.
There wasn't any. But whatever, I thought. As long as they thought it was funny, I was ok. What made me happier was that it was now concrete proof that I was kinda famous. Online, atleast.

When the second and the third emails started arriving, I was basking in my own smugness no doubt, but there was a twinge of disappointment. None of them had an attribute. My post continues to be recycled in cyberspace, and its even found a place in shady desi forums (where you can't leave a comment without having images of female genitalia being thrust at you). No attributes, again.
Yesterday, I got a call from a cousin saying I was featured in a magazine. I was naturally surprised, because Vogue/India Today/Seventeen/Outlook hadn't called me for their exclusive interviews...yet. Turned out it was some obscure Tamil magazine published by (catch your breath) The Tamil Brahmin Assosciation.
The alledged picture of mine which had been featured had clearly, clearly been ripped off my flickr photostream!
And surprise surprise, no attribution again. (I could sue those guys, considering all my pictures on flickr are copyrighted as all rights reserved.)

---->Now where have I seen this picture before....

This has made me lose all my belief in online publishing. Takes me back to the days in 2nd standard where I used to come to school with pretty pink pencils only to get them stolen by fellow classmates. My mom stopped buying me those pencils and instead sent me to school with the boring red-black Natraj ones instead. They got stolen even then, but atleast the number of incidents dropped.
I have half a mind to stop publishing on line. I'll tell you why - its not everyday that I come up with ideas like that, and I had intended to get that bit of fiction published. But now, there doesn't seem to be a point, what when half the world had it delivered in their inbox.

Is there any kind of solution to this? I mean, if someone like me is having plaigarism issues, I'm pretty sure the country is going through an originality crisis, plus there are people better than me who are probably having their stuff ripped too.


PS: In case you got my post as a forward too, and if you want to forward it, go ahead, but please link me back. Pretty please.

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  1. Look at the bright side. You can tell when it comes payyan-paathufying time your photo was in a magazine!

    Re: the forward, I suggest that we reply all to these forwards with the url to ur post, so more ppl know about our brilliant little blogger. :D

    PS: ahem - I suggest changing that line to "we come up with ideas like that" :D

  2. You could sue you know!
    How DARE they make your post famous!
    The nerve! :D
    Anyways, I'll be linking back.
    Fret not, I'll ensure they reach all those 'shady' forums.

  3. "What made me happier was that it was now concrete proof that I was kinda famous. Online, atleast."

    Precisely the sentiment you should follow.

    See I am sure I have used a couple of your jokes, claiming them to be mine:). I have used and re-used the Apple Jews, Orange Jews one a lot.

  4. :|
    at least you are famous

    and ROFL at tamil brahmin association.. wonder why they need pics? do they showcase samples maybe?

    me thinks you need to secure all your online lives (donno how though!)

    and dont fret about good ideas being lost/stolen..toull come up with better soon!

  5. Wow, Even I wanted to start my comment saying "Look at the bright side." Just like Idling in Top Gear. So, Look at the bright side. You are famous, you are on newspaper! You are Rocking like a Celebrity. When you walk out of your house carrying brown handbag and a kodai to counterbalance Madras Veyil with big Sun glasses, people will come thronging at you to take your photograph. Flash! Flash! Flash! Their next question will be "When will you act in a movie as a Pair with Superstar Rajinikanth!". If No one asks, I will definitely ask that!

  6. Sue the guys for picking your photo di. :|

    But regarding your posts, yeah its tough. The worst thing about blogs is that you can virtually 'see' picking your ideas/phrases and using it in theirs, its something we can do nothing about.

    My 2.5 paise worth suggestion...its like the white tshirt-pattiyala costume worn by Kareena in JWM, it became such a rage all over the coutry...if we like you, we;ll imitate you. Enjoy the fame.

    And jai hind.

  7. If you need help suing for copyright, get in touch with me. I've sued thrice and i've claimed damages in 4 figure numbers. I'm not saying its easy but i run a blog for this sake.

    Let me know.

  8. I believe there are Creative Commons Licenses that you can apply for (free), and each post gets copyrighted. Or something like that. You can sue other blogs from publishing your post without attribution. But yeah, it won't work as far as forwarding is concerned.

    Coming to the fine art of forwarding, this art was/is perfected by the IT junta. The IT junta doesn't care who wrote the forward as long as it is a useful way of passing the time. Lazy, post-lunch afternoons are spent editing creative blog posts like "Deviation" and adding a few enhancements before the last line. Like multiple dots for a few hundred lines, typing "go down further to know what happened", a couple of hundred more lines of dots, then a "can't guess??????? then go down further!!!!!", a few more hundred lines of dots and then finally the culmination of the post.

    So if you want your name to be attached to the next forward (and also save the sensitive Forward readers from the dotted atrocities), I would suggest putting your posts as pictures. Type your post in an editor. Sign your posts. Take a screenshot of the document(2 if it's really long). Publish your post as a picture.
    Only a really jobless guy would think of editing a picture before forwarding it. Try it!

    Whew! Crazy ideas make me thirsty.

    Happy suing! Enjai Ho!

  9. In which column/article did they publish your photo? (curiosity, u see!)

    You could very well sue them, because most of the emails that go around claim that the story is theirs. I never saw a mention of your name or a link to your blog! It's extremely bad, because not all morons out there can think about such a wonderful story! It is a plagiarism and you should sue!

    You could have felt the bright side if the 'forwarders' mentioned your name or gave your credits. But look at this!

    Anyways, congrats!!! :-)

  10. oh the unbearable hubris (that too with a coconutty flavor)!! ;)

    hmm.. publishing the post without acknowledging is bad enough. but i could forgive them cos i dont think they were trying to pass it off as their own work. the publishers are probably noobs who don't know jack about the meaning of copyright.

    however.. however, publishing your photograph is taking it 3 steps too far. you could write to the magazine claiming you are distraught at this grave insult and demand some monetary compensation (if you are like me) or else demand they donate some money to some charity (if you are like mama teresa). if they refuse to comply, you could suggest you will take them to task (using mr.idling's gethu effect over the indian police service ofc). and do it quickly, before swindlers like myself pose as your papa and make away with the bounty. :)

    and yeah, if you refuse the "nattamai theerpu" route, you could always go by the books. and get compensated (if at all) in your dying days.

  11. I've received a few reviews of mine as fwds but then I just plain don't care.

    pics however I'd be pissed. Anyways your famous, so stop putting scene!

  12. You have to write to the editor of that magazine. This has happened to my friends, and other famous bloggers. I had also written about it, remember. The fwd thing is no big deal but the photo thing you cannot leave.

  13. hey chutney,
    this pretty much happens everynow and then to famous bloggers !!! the operational word being "Famous" so be happy !!! but you should surely sue for using those pictures and why why why did they put in black and white ???????????? when the color of the pic and your earrings in the pic is soo beautiful !!!! or is it just the scan ??

  14. Whoa. That must have creeped you out, I know it would do to me. Frankly, the bright side as bright as it may, still leave you a bit cheated. Once you've felt it, it's hard to shake that feeling off. You took it in stride for a bit before you decided to not find it funny correct? So go with that gut feeling.

    I'd at least consult with the thieves and tell them they wronged. Listen to their side of the story, contrite or aggressive, who knows?

    hmm.. maybe I should post about it and see where this goes..


  15. Leave it be - as "they" say, don't mud wrestle with a pig; you won't win, and after a while you'll realize the pig enjoys it

  16. If they want to make 'filter copy ' you gave them 'di-caution'.

    On a more serious note, you put all your precious posts in an invitation-only based blog if you wish :-? No other simple solution I suppose. SO, amuse yourself with this:

  17. Well, about the forward, there isn't much that can be done now anyway. But you're anonymously famous!! If I get it, I'll link back to you. But the foto publishing is outrageous!! I suggest you take 'sue'itable measures to get back at them.

  18. Chutney! I made sure to send a link out with your blog name. I added that I was your friend also :P

    So, since I'm your friend, I thought I will help you. I read somewhere about plaigiarism on the internet (ignore the spelling error there), I will try to find that and send it across to you! It is about copying from blogs, so should be helpful :)

  19. That sucks:( I'm so sorry to hear that...on the bright side, you made the cover of a magazine!!

    ps: tamil brahmin magazine sounds crazy! are they even legal? what hppnd to equal rights and caste no bar?! or are these magazines that focus on the meaning of the vedas?

  20. i honestly don't understand what the big deal is. i mean, not unless i were someone who does it for a living - i wouldn't bother. if it is good, and people are copying it and spreading it, well, why not.

    but then, thats me. am sure there must be some way out. a private blog perhaps? some creative commons thingie?

    good luck to you...

  21. Hi,

    Just wanted to let you know. I just took that Nayanthara(Six differences) photo from your blog and forwarded it to my friends. However, it had your blog URL on it.
    Look at this

    I was under the impression that bloggers would make the jobs of journalists tougher, but it is going other way. They just lift anything and everything...

    Anyhow, Keep posting !!!

  22. @idling
    Ooyo. As if I'll apdiye get varans after they see me in thaambraas. Lol. And as for the brilliant little blogger comment, :D :D! That was cheekpinchingly cute of u annaaaaa :D
    And okok, so u helped. :P But the real credit actually should go to the ORIGINAL junior Seshadhri, dont u think? ;)

    No 1, :P!
    Yes, please link back:D

    Lol, I'm happy only. I'd be happier if my name followed that post. And regarding the jokes, well, I myself have suttufyed them from somewhere so I can't really comment, lol.

    @buddy was an article on Women's day. Interestingly, I was born on that day. :D

    Cha, poyum poyum taambraas maari oru dubukku paper-la varthukku varamaleye irukalaam!
    And reg the rajni padam, thalaivar romba compel panninadhunaala na vandhu enoda exam mudichitu schedule kuduthirken. Shooting will commence shortly-nga.
    Idhu oru romba different aana padam-nga. Na vandhu oru romba different aana oru character panren..oru different persnaaltynga. Idhukku mela onnum sollamudiyaadhunga. Padam release aanapram theatre-la sure-a paarunga.
    :P :D

    @Confounded akka
    Suing paththi therila. I'm going to send them an email asking them for an attribution. And thanks for linking back :) :) :)
    As a token of appreciation, the next time you come to chennai, I will ask my paati to make her world famous puliyodharai, dhodhyaanam and saathmadhu-urlakazhangu. Please bring your aathukaar also :D

    thanks so much for the help, man! I don't think I'll sue, I'm just a little shocked, especially cause I'm not even a professional photographer! lol
    I think I'll just send an email asking for an attribute. And I saw your blog before too, I think I'm part of your flickr group now. Its really sad, indian journalism today and your efforts to bring it to light are pretty awesome. :D :D Thanks so much, again!

    My blog does have a CC. No derivative one i think, where my work can be republished but requires an attribute. I don't think those guys were looking, lol
    And brilliant idea btw, PDF posting, lol. I think blogger itself should come up with some kind of format which cannot be copied without the permission of the author or something. Hmm. I smell an idea :D

    It was some articles on women's day (weirdly enough, my birthday lol)
    I really don't mind the story getting famous, i'm very happy that it is, i would have been happier had they given a link back or something. Oh well, I guess the only thing I can do is ask you guys (in case you get it) to send a link-back.
    thanks! :)

    I don't mind it getting spread, I'm happy that it is, actually. And regarding the photo, I am just going to send them an email. i'm pretty sure those guys there at the magazine have no clue about the copyright issues either.
    And lol, Idling Anna has just enough geththu for himself. And besides, my dad is also geththu party!
    :P :D

    I'm not putting scene n all. See, I am not used to it, unlike you, who probably has posts stolen on a regular basis due to your unbelievable celebrity-ness. Please take celebrity-blogger tuitions so that newbies like us can learn the ropes and can atleast try to compete with your cool persona :D
    But lollu aside, if people are copying your stuff then our country's originality crisis is more serious than i thought. :D :D (Kidding! Lol)

    Es, typing away!

    oh yes, the price of fame! Lol :P
    And it was black n white :( Forget the pretty earrings, what about the pretty girl? :P lol

    Es, I was creeped out and I'm definitely letting the editor know just that!

    Great to see u back! And thanks for the wisdom :)

    good one! and if i were to make it invitation only, i might as well not publish it, but thanks for the suggestion anyways :) I think i'll just continue doing my thing :)


    I got your email too! Thanks. You're the best :)

    Clearly, you've been away from India for a while. Lol. This is just like a journal on tambram updates n stuff. Its actually quite amusing.

    A private blog takes all the fun away, dont u think?
    And thanks :)

    First of all, thanks for the free publicity! You're welcome repost anything, just link me back ok? :)
    And es, I will keep posting :)

  23. LOL.. EKSI! BTW, thru this post u have publicized that Tam Bram magizine.. :D.
    returning the favour eh? :D

    BTW, was that pic linked with any of the articles in that magizine? Find that out first.. :)

  24. Er...just curious, where are you in the photo???

  25. " Hmm. I smell an idea :D"

    Don't forget to include me in the credits! :)

  26. @Maverick
    EKSI indeed! It was an article on the title "Ulaga sakthiye penn" (The strength of the world is woman) or some codswallop of that sort. I guess they were just looking for some pretty faces :D

    Which one do you think I am? :)


  27. Judging by your previous posts, it should be the one on the extreme left?

    Actually my friend pointed to the flickr link (how stupid of me!).....

    I also read ur post via some xlri community, did not know it was you who wrote it.....

  28. Hey Coconut Chutney...I've been a very regular reader and a fan of sorts, but never had the courage to actually comment. I've been regularly lurking at all the blogs that you've linked from your page as well. Sorry, guys!! Last week when I saw the email forward, I did remember reading it somewhere, but only after I read this latest blogpost of yours did I remember where it originated from. I feel really bad that this is happening to you, and I hope things sort out soon.

    I also wanted to add that you have an impressive way with words and I look forward to visiting Chennai from all that I read from your blog.

  29. LM,
    Use of photos without permission has become very common these days.
    You may contact @twilightfairy @enidhi @jocalling (obviously on twitter) as they had similar infringements of their photos.

    Good luck.
    And ya, congrats for becoming famous :)

  30. >>I have half a mind to stop >>publishing on line.

    By this do you mean all the posts or just story ones alone? In anycase, It'd be sad if you stop publishing after having built up a good reader base. Just one day, already (29- (number of reply comments from you + extra comments by some)) people have commented.
    I believe that bloggers are motivated by the comments that they get for every posts of theirs. In my humble opinion I feel that you wouldnt have reached 100 posts in such a short period, but for all the comments.

    >> Help
    well, i have couple of suggestions
    1. you can try restricting the read access to your blog. I guess this is possible. Try exploring this option.

    2. create a group and send a mail to this group whenever you come up with a new post. But this will defeat the purpose of existence of chutneycase.

    btw, Thanks for entertaining me through your posts. Being an iyengar myself, i could easily relate to lot of posts of yours. Hoping to see many such posts from you. keep it up!

    - Sampath

  31. Act quick before they sue you for reprinting a part of their mag! ;)
    I too, sadly, was in the middle of pencil- (and toy-) stealing incidents in elementary school. Except that I was at the perpetrating end. (:D)
    But total empathy as regards uncredited lifts. Interestingly, 'Filter Copy' is the name of my college newspaper. It had better be a coincidence. :P

  32. Aww.. I got the forward too. I deleted it, because i follow your blog thru the Confounded-lady :)

    I even sent her your blog link and asked her not to forward it anymore.

    Anyways, crappy people exist, ignore them. Pls dont stop writing. There are people whom you may not even know exist, but read and appreciate/admire you.

    Rock on :)

  33. I got a forward of the story from my friend.I had a feeling that i ha read it before but i ha no idea i read it here!! my friend's email ID is
    And about the photo anyone who would do a google search on the tags would get it. But no authorizations is bad. who would have known that u live close by!!

  34. omg! thats pretty bad...
    what did everyone say looking at the pic? "magazine la von photo va paathein!!"?

  35. This is the main reason I do not post anything nice on my blog or put up any original performances on Youtube. It's just asking for plagiarism :( Unfortunately, the forwarding is not something you can do much about but as far as the photo goes, just act on it.. No one can use anyone's image without their explicit permission.

  36. today is the first time i am visting your blog and i have spent few hours reading your post. co-incidently today morning i received a forwarded mail and that happens to be one of your post... now i can reply back to the group and make you famous and not just your post...

  37. hey u are being credited! i mean i came across ur blog in some issue of femina( which i was simply flipping through out of utter boredom while i was waiting for my mom to get her things done at the 'beauty' parlor!!) haha! and ur blog's mention was one of the only interesting things i found in that bundle of pages that day..and now im here! thanks to femina! yaay!

    ps: your are super awesome u know! my god i love ur sense of humour! im ur follower for life sistah! :)


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