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Cropped out the logo and blurred the website name: "" says their exclusive interview has been stolen

18.09.2023, 12:42

The online media outlet "" reports that the local Telegram channel "pzhytomyr" (PZh) infringed on their copyright by cropping out the logo on their photos and blurring out their website's name. Other outlets, namely the news website Zhytomyr Magazine, cited the PZh when sharing the news piece.

This was reported by Tamara Koval, the "" editor-in-chief who shared the details with the IMI representative in Zhytomyr oblast.

"We are already used to having the logo cropped out from our photos, but here they went through the trouble of blurring it out in a video," the editor wrote on Facebook on September 15.

Screenshot by IMI

On September 14 Mayor Serhiy Sukhomlyn was answering questions from the audience live on the program "Dialogues" by "". After the broadcast the journalists released the news report "Zhytomyr Mayor comments on the construction at the Kyivska–Teatralna intersection: they have no permit, it is to be demolished."

Merely an hour later, the same news piece was uploaded to the pzhytomyr page, but without any mention of the original source, says Yuliya Novytska, "" CEO, in her comment to the IMI representative in Zhytomyr oblast.

"The PZh cropped out the logo in the photos. The article featured our archival photos and the photo of the construction site was taken by our editor personally on her phone. Moreover, they cropped out a piece of the video from our livestream, where the mayor talked about the construction, and blurred out our logo in the upper right corner," Yuliya Novytska said.

Screenshots by IMI

Later, the news appeared on other resources – again, with no mention of the real authors.

"Following the PZh post, the website "Zhytomyr Magazine" released news on the same topic, including a link to the PZh Telegram channel, and as early as 19:44. the Telegram channel "Zhytomyr 24" makes their own post. But PZh does not stop there and crops down a video excerpt from our livestream again, making it into a new post at 20:34. And in this video, they went through the trouble to not only erase our logo in the upper right corner, but also our huge logo that hangs on the wall in the studio and even on the cups that were on the table during the livestream," explained Yulia Novytska.

Screenshot by IMI

In her comment to IMI, "" editor-in-chief Tamara Koval noted that their content is routinely reposted without hyperlinks and their attempts to talk to the reposters have yielded no result.

"This is not the first time that PZh took our news, this is their usual practice, there has never been a link to the source attached. Perhaps our colleagues also have such unhappy experience, or maybe our website has been signled out for this. They know well what the original source is because they crop and blur out our logos. Once our journalist tried to talk to them about using our content and was simply blocked. Such actions are deliberate and a routine practice for Telegram channels. As for the Zhytomyr Magazine, we tried to contact them, but the advertising department refused to give us the editor's phone number and advised us to e-mail them: 'List your phone number and you will be contacted if we deem it necessary,'" said Tamara Koval.

She noted that she wrote to the Zhytomyr Magazine, asking them to add a link to the original source, but received no response.

The IMI representative asked the PZh administrator for a comment and was told that the channel strived to provide "objective information with no external influence or advertising."

“Our goal is to ensure that our readers receive objective information with no external influence or advertising. Obscuring logos and other identifying information helps us maintain neutrality in our content and prevent our editorial decisions to be in any way influenced by things such as advertising or other unrelated factors. In addition, we are suprised to hear content theft accusations from Info, since their policy has allowed them to repeatedly use our content without citing the original source. If citing 'social media' in their materials is enough, I think that the reference to a 'local mass media' in our posts is also quite enough to emphasize the local significance of this information and events," replied the pzhytomyr editor, Anastasia.

To back her argument, Anastasia sent us screenshots of the news from the "" website where the journalists did not mention PZh in the article but did not blur out the channel's logo in the video, either.

Screenshots by IMI

After a follow-up question, the pzhytomyr editor added: "'Info' has also used our other exclusive materials, including those without the 'pzhytomyr' logo. Namely, in their recent article about the dress code in lyceum No. 27, whose students wrote to us."

The IMI representative also sent a letter to the Zhytomyr Magazine, asking why the journalists cited the Telegram channel and not to the original source of information in their news.

The editors responded by noting that they "in no way intended to provoke a conflict" and did edit the news and added a link to the media outlet upon finding out the original source.

"Regarding the specific situation with complaints from the editors, we share the concerns of our fellow journalists and understand their indignation. In no way did we intend to provoke a conflict. On September 14, our news feed editor saw a post with the video on Telegram. The video had the Telegram channel's logo. This clip was used for the news on our website and, accordingly, a link to the source was included. On September 15, it became clear that it was a different outlet that was the primary source. So we have made changes to the news report and added a link to that outlet. In our opinion, this is a usual, routine situation", said the editors of "Zhytomyr Magazine". They also added that they have their own experience with copyright infringement as well.

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