Plagiarism by Animal Planet!

Definition of Plagiarize

transitive verb: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source

intransitive verb: to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

In today’s digital world, the data available in virtual world is infinite. Anything that can be found on internet, can also be edited and used for various purposes. For photographers in India the situation is disheartening. Reason: Plagiarism.

On evening of 22nd Jan 2020 while I was preparing to doze off to end my hectic day, I thought of reviewing my instagram handle. I was surprised, exhilarated and shocked all at same time. I had a feed on my screen. Animal planet India had used my image on their instagram handle. The use was commercial to promote their series ”Aroud the world in 80days”

Initially, for a moment, I was super excited because my image had featured of the official handle of TV channel I grew up watching. The channel that gave me access to jungles around the world. I could go to any jungle just by virtue of programs they telecasted. I was thrilled. Then my head did talking, “Dude, your consent was not sought”

I thought to myself, “leave it.” I was sure they must have tagged me to give due credit as it’s one of channel I’m loyal too. I thought I might have missed tag. So I checked details of post. I wasn’t credited. I’m still not as I write the blog. Worst part it was used for commercial purpose.

I wrote to them with proof. I have also sent one reminder mail. I DM them too. So did the friends of spirit of wild. It was all across social media. They seem to care least. No reply to emails. No reply to messages. Unprofessional.

Plagiarism by animal planet. Used my image for commercial purpose without consent and due credit!

It was shocking. Now question remains whether it’s right or wrong on part of such a large esteemed organisation to copy images from internet and use it for commercial purpose without consent of creator. This is blantant plagiarisim by animal planet India. Unethical.

I’m sure animal planet will take due notice of it. Every photographer is creative artist. The effort and patience required are huge. Ask any wildlife photographer. Resources poured into planning jungle safari, equipments and tools are humongous. To shoot tiger in certain conditions takes years of tracking tigers. The effort has to be appreciated and credited. I have not yet spoken about creativity and composition that goes into creating image.

Another image of same tiger with different angle and light. Talk about composition and creativity. They missed (c) Shirish S Bhakare mentioned in image.

Sadly Animal Planet India seems to have completely ignored ethics of using images from internet. It is not about copyright nor about compensation for me nor about credit. It is about consent. Maybe after reading this blog they might have heart big enough to accept the felony and do the needful instead of simply pulling down the post. The reason for writing this blog was to express unacceptable, unprofessional and unethical practice followed by Animal Planet India called Plagiarism. Heart breaking!


January 29, 2020 at 6:10 pm

It’s really disheartening to see such a thing from a global broadcasting channel..

Mayur Thakur
January 29, 2020 at 10:10 pm

So true Shirish, we all loved animal planet for the way they cherish the wild life. I admire your respectful approach in your message to animal planet.
True wild life lovers like you get us some amazing snaps of these rare species. I have your calendar as well with the same image as the poster image, which was plagiarized by animal planet.

Animal planet sooner or later will understand what they have done. My only wish is whoever has done this on behalf of channel should own the responsibility and sort it out to your satisfaction.

We all support you in your fight for your well deserved consent, credits and cause of ethical practices.

Dr k Kumar gogoi
March 6, 2020 at 11:46 am

It is very unethical and animal planet is doing a disservice to their brand by plagiarising, hope they give due credit

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