The Straits Times was found to have made use of a photo without the explicit permission from the photo taker. The photo was taken from STOMP, Singapore Press Holdings' citizen journalism site, which also chose to publish on the website without proper attribution.

Singapore Press Holdings is also the publisher of The Straits Times.

Wrote Lucian in his email to The Straits Times' photo editor, Stephanie Yeow,

"...All I can say is that this is a straightforward case of intellectual property theft from an organisation that ought to know better. I believe in the openness of the Internet and have contributed a significant amount of content via Creative Commons licenses. SPH is a for-profit company that cannot beat on the intellectual property drum with one hand, and use online content without attribution or proper compensation whenever it feels like it.

This is gone on for far too long, and I am appalled at the lack of ethics. You had my name, my number, and I entertained more than a handful of calls to provide information for the story.

We need a higher standard of journalism in this country..."

In the reply email, Stephanie assumed that Lucian wanted payment for his photo, but Lucian denied that was the case in his email.

Replied Lucian,

"It is not my intention to extort any form of payment from ST, but my main priority is to point out that something is wrong with your policies. It is not uncommon to see ST attributing photos to “Facebook” or “Twitter”, which is extremely slip-shod journalism and unbecoming of a flagship paper...

The STOMP post that had the photo I took was attributed to “the STOMP team”, which I assumed was from ST. I know that STOMP takes in reader contributions, and its terms and conditions allow for content to be reused across SPH properties, but STOMP should under no circumstance function as a clearinghouse to launder intellectual property of their copyright.

It is important to get your processes in place so that ST can evolve to utilise the power of new media without losing the ethics of established journalism."

Maybe seeing isn't worth believing as photos too need to be have their source verified or with proper attribution, something which the STOMP site seem to ignore in today's age of the control c and v. One can only hope that The Straits Times and SPH put in place a proper system to respect IP as everybody now becomes media.

In June 2012, one of STOMP's content producer posted a photoshop image of an opened MRT door while the train was moving. MRT personally investigated the matter and the image was found to be edited. The content producer was eventually sacked.

In a photo incident not related to STOMP, Red Sports noted that a photo taken by them was also used on one of SPH's online website and Chinese print publication without the explicit permission from Red Sports.


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