Thank you Manorama Online, for stealing my content, translating it, publishing it and screwing it up.

A Question of OwnershipI had always thought regardless of the occasional digital invectives thrown at and cussed upon, Malayala Manorama, Kerala’s iconic legacy brand held a fairly straight course when it came to the fidelity and ethical integrity of the news it published, however commercial and cosmetic that might appear at times. It was presumed, by default, that this would extend to online version, as it pioneered the advent of digital news dissemination in Kerala. Not anymore.

So what exactly happened ?

The other day, I was amazed to find my tribute to Meena, (one of our legendary actors )which was posted on December21, 2011 , literally translated and published in the Nostalgia section of Manorama Online, dated 17 September 2012, with the title മറയാതെ മീന , supposedly with the സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന്‍ byline. The screen shots from my post had been aggregated to a collage and was the lead image for the post.

Thank God, whoever was in the Graphics department had the presence of mind not to put their watermark on it, the reason for which I got to know after a while of searching on the topic.More on that as we go onward.

It started getting incredulously funny as I started to read through the post. The സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന്‍ seemed to be in a tearing hurry in completing the piece, and coupled with his/her abject ignorance ( I would rather call it laziness, after all how long does it take to Google facts ? ) had mangled the content, and in the hurry had even literally translated English into its equivalent sound in Malayalam :).

To see a screenshot of the article, click here.

As we are discussing the repurposing of the content, check out a few examples.

Mine: Mary aka Meena was the 8th and the youngest daughter of Koyikkaleth Itty Cheriachen and Eliyamma, and took to local theater and drama projects like fish to water at a very young age.
സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന്‍: ആലപ്പുഴ ജില്ലയില്‍ കോയിക്കാലത്ത്‌  വീട്ടില്‍ ഇട്ടി ചെറിയാന്റെ യും ഏലിയാമ്മ ഇട്ടിയുടെയും എട്ടാമത്തേ മകളായ  മീന സിനിമയില്‍ എത്തും മുമ്പ്  നാടകങ്ങളില്‍ അഭിനയിച്ചിരുന്നു.

Mine: She was associated with some of the very popular professional theater companies like Geetha Arts and Kalaalayam for 6 years before her debut into films.
സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന്‍:സിനിമയില്‍ എത്തുന്നതിനു മുമ്പ് ആറു വര്‍ഷത്തോളം പ്രൊഫഷണല്‍ നാടക രംഗത്ത് നിറ സാന്നിധ്യമായിരുന്നു  മീന  ഗീത ആര്‍ട്സ് ആന്‍ഡ്‌ കലാലയത്തിലെ പ്രധാന അഭിനേത്രിയായിരുന്നു.

Mine: From what I could gather, her theater debut was called Nirdoshi.
സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന്‍:നിര്‍ദോഷി എന്ന നാടകത്തിലൂടെ ആണ് മീന അരങ്ങേറുന്നത്.

And my Favorite Part.

Mine: Compare two of her compelling performances from that big bad body of the ‘evil MIL ‘genre, Paru Amma from Achaaram Ammini, Osharam Omana (1977) and Sthreedhanam (1993) – the basic premise and the character realisation is the same, but both stay memorable for the uniqueness she brings in portraying them.
സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന്‍:അച്ചാരം അമ്മിണി എന്ന ചിത്രത്തിലെ പാറു അമ്മ, 1977 ഇല്‍ പുറത്തിറങ്ങിയ ഓശാരം ഓമന എന്നിവ നടിയുടെ ആദ്യകാല കഥാപാത്രങ്ങളില്‍ അവിസ്മരണീയമായ ചിലതാണ് !

Hmmm ! Malayalam Cinema history just got re-written.

Content Plagiarism by Manorama Online

So, what did I do ?

I went over to the article page at Manorama Online, and posted a commented mentioning the facts. An hour later I repeated the process. I also posted a message on the different intervals using the “Report Abuse” option on the article. I haven’t the faintest idea what happened to them. I also learned that quite a few of the regular patrons of this blog had also sent across their protest via the comment box but nothing happened. But, today morning, apparently, I witnessed a miracle.

The Miracle.

Jay, one of the most familiar faces around here had also spoken his mind, dipped in his unique sarcasm, and in a gracious display of media benevolence, the comment was published !

Jay Mohan's Comment on the article at Manorama Online
Jay Mohan’s Comment on the article at Manorama Online

But someone from the moderating team at Manorama Online must have quickly realised that they have shot themselves in their collective foot, and bingo ! Jay Mohan‘s comment underwent euthanasia. This is how the Published Comments section look now, at the time of posting this.

Jay Mohan's Missing Comment at Manorama Online

Who else in Manorama Online knows about this ?

Their Senior Content Coordinator who is reachable from Monday to Saturday, except public holidays between 0900 hrs to 1800 hrs IST at these two e-mail ids : & I have in fact forwarded the same e-mail twice today, in between the stipulated working hours, informing them of the situation and asking him to take necessary action. And the response isn’t anything different from what you expected in the first place – Deafening Silence !

Has there been earlier instances like this with others ?

Oh boy ! Google has been very helpful in this regard. There are recent instances that has been mentioned here and here.

So, what now ?

I hope they get the article re-written, or to save face, pull it down. But, having painted themselves to a corner , I donot think either of two is going to happen. They will sheepishly grin and bear it is my guess. But then again, miracles do happen.

Ask Jay.  He knows best :).


37 thoughts on “Thank you Manorama Online, for stealing my content, translating it, publishing it and screwing it up.

  1. Jay, why don’t you send a letter by registered post to the Managing Director, Manorama Publication mentioning the facts and requesting him to look into the matter and make sure that such instances are not repeated in the best interest of the publication. Sometimes, it makes a difference if it goes to the person at the top.

    Atleast a simple regret from their side and offering to correct the situation would have been the right thing to do.

  2. Phew… I get the same feeling that I got after watching “Barfi” and wanting to puke when I came to know that it’d been nominated for Oscars hahahaha….

    1. :D. I can recognise that, Jacob, sure I do.Maybe it was somekind of celestial justice that was working when they worked “Barf” into the title too, unknowingly. regards, cinematters

  3. Manorama (including online) was/is never accurate. Its mostly cut & paste and a lot of wrong info put up by lazy young journos. I have written to the editor a few times pointing out the wrong info. and yeah, deafening silence is all u get 🙂 Just make sure u don’t read too much of most newspapers 🙂

    1. Thanks Saj :). Being in the business of online media, I do take all of them with a healthy dose of skepticism and make sure I do go through as many sources as I can. Thanks..cinematters

  4. This is not at all a surprise to me. At least you had a media to react against it. This is one of the main reason people going outside India won’t come back, as they get recognise and appreciated on their own hard work.

    1. Dear Limosh.
      I didnot quite get what you meant by “At least you had a media to react against it.” I just reacted in the same medium, the same playground where they too occupy prime ground, and in this age of thriving social communities online, I guess it was a matter of time before the word spread among friend circles and their friends’ circles. It eventually become so loud that they had to take cognizance out of it. All you got to do, is to keep at it.Thanks, cinematters

  5. Dear CM
    Just read the whole story. People can err. That’s natural. But this sort of irresponsible, indifferent way of publishing articles is highly damaging. Acharam Ammini part is very interesting. At least MM Online should make an apology. Am i right CM?


    1. Dear Sajith,
      Publishing an apology comes when you take cognizance of a mistake and have the integrity to stand up and say it loud. I guess with “traditional” media juggernauts like these, their reputation precedes them :)

  6. Thnx to the contend dry writers , copying has become a common practice in media now days. Good to have brought it up, and hope this makes manorama to react, else lets treat manorama to be yet another ‘irresponsible’- Rajesh Babu

    1. Thanks Rajesh. Manorama has “reacted” by removing the article, but no explanation nor apology was offered. I guess they have a long way to go in terms of online civility. Thanks again..cinematters

  7. Outright plagiarism.. Wow.. In this age and day do they know that if its easy for them to google together an article its also as easy to nail them down. Do they know that reporters sometimes lose their jobs for plagiarizing even a paragraph not to mention the whole article…
    Many of this esteemed publishing houses have used materials from MSI without giving credit. So it really bugs me. I hope you get an unconditional apology and full credit to your blog


    1. Dear Sunny,
      When content is available on the public domain for consumption, the probabilities of duplication is also a given.But as you pointed out, I am amazed at how they took it for granted that it wouldn’t be found out, mindless of the fact that a news paper online has on overwhelmingly huge percentage of traffic and thereby consumption when compared to a personal blog.I guess it all come down to informing them using the same media, categorically and effectively that they are not playing fair. I think, as far as MSI is concerned, you should keep at it.Thanks ..cinematters

  8. ബിജു..അച്ചാരം അമ്മിണി ഓശാരം ഓമന എന്നത് ഒരു ചിത്രം ആണെന്നു പോലും
    അറിയാത്ത പുതു തലമുറയിലെ ജേർണലിസ്റ്റുകളോട് ഒന്നും പറഞ്ഞിട്ടു കാര്യമില്ല..

    1. പ്രിയപ്പെട്ട രാജേട്ടാ ,
      അത് ജേര്‍ണലിസ്റ്റുകള്‍ ആണെങ്കില്‍ അല്ലേ പറയേണ്ടു? ഇത് അതിലും കൂടിയ ഏതോ ഇനമാണ് 🙂

    1. For generations literally weaned on Kerala’s M&M’s, that would be suggesting suicide, dear Druid. Let them keep getting their daily highs, but its imperative to let them know when they are not playing fair :). Thanks. cinematters

    1. I don’t think shame has any ‘relevance’ when it comes to them Sir :). But they came around and saw sense.I guess that is very significant.Thank you for writing in..regards..cinematters

  9. I had also put comments on the article in manorama but it never appeared on the site. I had tried ‘report abuse’ also. Good that you brought it up to the public

    1. It would never appear Jubith. The sensible way to address this would have been to send a note of apology and pull down the article on receiving the first note of protest, ofcourse after due diligence, but they somehow under estimated the power of the web here. Thank you. regards..cinematters

  10. Wow! I think you need to follow this up rather aggressively, CM. It’s ridiculous that you spend this time researching information, and writing it up, and some idjit just sits there and translates without as much as a by-your-leave!

    Laughing out loud at ‘Acharam Ammini’ and ‘Osaram Omana’ becoming two different films!

    1. Dear Anu,
      Now that commonsense has com a-visiting, though unapologetic and blaise’ that they are, I donot think their misplace “feudal arrogance” of the old school would find any takers in this age. Maybe they are waiting it to blow over, but The posts will stay there on the web as a reminder. I have NO intention of pulling this down. The idjit I think would be getting his/her comeuppance by now :)..We have made our point, and it a little time for them to blink with the entire neighborhood peering at them caught in a “delicate situation”. 😀 .Thanks so much..cinematters

  11. my hearty condolence C M… do inform me C M , if any of these so called ESTABLISHED team steals my articles and post under the name SWA LE.. if this is repeated again and again in future, then we have to remake a classic malayalam film of mid 70s and have to give a new title called MUZHUKKALLAN PERUMKALLAN…

    1. Dear Kumar,
      “digital ആയി ഉള്ളത് തൂത്താല്‍ പോകുമോ?” ചന്തുവിന്‍റെ ജീവിതം പിന്നെയും ബാക്കി. :D. Thanks, cinematters

  12. This is the comment I have posted there today:

    “In my family we have been Manorama readers for generations. One does not expect such shameful plagiarism from this institution. Could you tell us who this “Swantham Lekhakan” is? Whoever he/she is, they are earning their wages without deserving it. This is disgusting. Manorama, Please show your decency to acknowledge the source article, and apologise to the real author WITHOUT DELAY.”

    Given what happened to Jay Mohan’s comment, I doubt mine will even see the light of day. 😦

    1. Dear Susie,
      I think the key aspects are Clarity and Accountability, both of which are found sadly lacking with the “biggest media company” from kerala. The place could be digital for all you know, but the sensibilities are stuck in the print-era cubicles of the 1900. Thankfully, commonsense won.Thanks..cinematters

  13. hate to hear this….however..not surprising in a place where movies are copied frame to frame from unknown languages are presented as ‘new generation” movies…

What do you think ?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s