Thou shalt not step on the toes and tails of Malaysian automotive sites.
It has come to our attention that one fairly new automotive portal has landed themselves in hot soup for deliberate stealing of content from our local automotive sites.
This was picked up by local celebrity and well-known personality Harith Iskander, who shared the above post on his Facebook page a couple of hours ago.
But before we get into the full story, first, a little introduction to CarBay Malaysia.
According to their “About” page, CarBay is present in 27 countries and they’ve just launched their Malaysian site in March 2015. The page also says, “Carbay is a part of the acclaimed GirnarSoft Group, which runs India’s #1 Automobile platforms putting together CarDekho.com, Zigwheels.com, Bikedekho.com and Gaadi.com. We feel delighted in extending our endeavors to make a similar useful platform in Malaysia under brand CarBay For Malaysian Auto Buyers and Sellers.”
It adds, “A big team of auto and product experts are working together to bring up Carbay Malaysia for making Car and motorcycle buying process seamless.”
Perhaps the “big team of auto and product experts” have failed to apply the golden rule of thumb when it came to sourcing their content. When we say content, we mean images. And by sourcing (or not sourcing), we mean that they have a tendency of conveniently cropping out watermarks from photos that don’t belong to them.
As seen in the screenshot above, this was immediately noticed by our sibling site, autofreaks. CarBay Malaysia had apparently stolen all the images from autofreaks’ Suzuki Malaysia post and used it as their own. Their only saving grace is that, when compared side by side, the articles read differently.
And that’s not all. Further “research” found that other Malaysian car sites were stolen from as well, such as Malaysian digital automotive publication AutoBuzz.
Note the highlighted text at the bottom of the screenshot. AutoBuzz’s stolen image has the exact file name as the one on CarBay Malaysia, which basically means that it was blatantly stolen. It’s quite next level, really. Or rather, no level.
Interestingly, nobody really knows if CarBay Malaysia has an actual brick-and-mortar Malaysian office. From what we know (so far), CarBay is based in India, which kind of tells us that they wouldn’t have had any means of getting hold of images from Malaysian car launches and events if they weren’t physically present unless if the pictures were given to them by car companies or PR agencies.
But car companies and PR agencies would usually provide stock photos and in this case, the images used by CarBay Malaysia were non-stock photos.
Needless to say, Paul Tan, the household name for automotive news in Malaysia, was also affected. In this regard, CarBay Malaysia surely left no stone unturned.
Same drill: Download images, remove watermarks, use as they please. No credits, no permission.
At this point, let’s just say that CarBay Malaysia definitely got off on the wrong foot.
Our take? Most media outlets in Malaysia, be it news or entertainment or lifestyle or automotive, are usually gracious and would gladly allow you to use their images as long as the original image hasn’t been altered (read: cropped) to remove the ownership and if credit is given where it’s due.
Our sentiment was echoed by our colleague at autofreaks, Chris Wee, who said, “I have no issues with other automotive portals wanting to use autofreaks’ photos. In fact we have shared our photos many times in the past with other sites, all they had to do was ask. But to just take our photos, remove our watermark, and use them with no credit mention or source reference? That’s just not right.”
We also reached out to the AutoBuzz founder GC Mah, who chimed in with, “The motoring media circle in Malaysia is a small and close community. And just like a family, we don’t steal or sabotage one another. We strive to seek originality, betterment and growth in Malaysian motoring journalism. What they have done is very much unacceptable and not to mention, unethical. We expect them to remove all images taken from local online publications.”
Oh and one more thing.
Chris also added, “The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I found a feature story of ours that they’d taken, rehashed the words but used our photos from our photo gallery, again with no credit mention whatsoever and called it theirs.”
As at time of writing, CarBay Malaysia has yet to issue an official statement with regards to the above concerns. But we do hope that they will do whatever is necessary to resolve this the best they can.
Note: Thanks Chris Wee and GC Mah for the input!
Featured image from lifehacker.au.