Malaysia's postal service faces allegations of plagiarism over stamp collection

Malaysia's postal service faces allegations of plagiarism over stamp collection
Pos Malaysia stamp (left) and the Image by Romy Ocon.

PETALING JAYA - Pos Malaysia ruffled some feathers when allegations surfaced of plagiarism in its newly released stamp collection.

In a forum thread on dpreview.com, Filipino wildlife photographer Romy Ocon, 48, accused the national postal service of using his photo on their stamp set without prior permission.

According to Ocon, the photo of the Long-Tailed Shrike was also wrongly labelled on the stamp as a White-Fronted Falconet. The photographer referred to the error as a "serious ignorance" due to both birds having distinctly different appearances.

The White-Fronted Falconet is known for having a prominent pale patch on its forehead whereas the Long-Tailed Shrike's famous posterior lends it its name. The bird labelled as a Falconet in the stamp has a rounded dark head and pronounced tail.

The image on the stamp and the original photo of a Shirke provided by Ocon look remarkably alike, with the exception of a different background and a slight tilt of the bird, something that can be easily edited through photoshop.

Ocon, a civil engineer by training, was informed of the supposed blunder via email on Oct 30 by a concerned stamp collector from the UK .

"This isn't the first time that my photos are stolen, but it is the first and only time that the end user of the image is a government institution. I'm sure the Malaysian Government wouldn't knowingly sanction this despicable act" he said on Friday.

Although piracy is considered common practice in Asia, Ocon felt that he still had to stand up and defend his rights as a photographer.

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