MNS cries foul over Pos Malaysia’s alleged stamp plagiarism

PETALING JAYA - The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) has voiced its disappointment over Pos Malaysia's alleged used of plagiarised bird photos in their Visit Malaysia 2014 stamp collection.

Its president Prof Maketab Mohammad said that although the media house responsible for designing the stamps claimed that the images were merely 'drafts', the excuse is still not valid since the images were uploaded to Pos Malaysia's official Stamp and Philately Facebook page.

"Even if these were 'drafts', the use of images without permission is still wrong," he said in a statement.

Last week, photographers Romy Ocon and Con Foley claimed that the images used in the stamp are theirs and they have not received credit for their work.

Singapore-based Foley said: "The image of the Malaysian Hill Partridge is mine, and I was neither contacted nor credited," he responded when contacted through Facebook.

Ocon had reportedly said that he was satisfied that the national postal agency had suffered bad publicity and has stopped using his image in their stamps. As such, he will not be pursuing legal action.

Prof Maketab hoped that the incident would serve as a reminder for parties to be mindful of copyrights and intellectual property of others.

"MNS is always available to act in an advisory capacity to all with regards to promoting the celebration, awareness and conservation of Malaysia's unique wildlife and plants," he said.

On whether the MNS has been in touch with the other photographers whose claimed that their images of birds had been used without credit, Prof Maketab said there was no direct communication between both parties.

"But there has been communication through other photographers who are also MNS members," he added.

MNS Perak Branch Bird Group coordinator Dr Chan Kai Soon said: "From what Neoh Hor Kee (MNS Penang member and lawyer) writes on the MNS Perak Bird Facebook group, it seems he or his law firm may have been engaged by one of the photographers."

The MNS will wait for Pos Malaysia's response on the issue before taking any further action.

Media Eye Sdn Bhd, the design house commissioned to produce the stamps in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia, released a statement to The Star on Wednesday saying that the images posted were only intended as drafts and not the final version of the stamps.

Media Eye is a design house under public relations agency World Communications Network Resources.

The stamps were originally planned to be released later this month but have since been removed from Pos Malaysia's Facebook page and queries regarding it remain unanswered.