Friday, January 6, 2012


Since the "spectacular" fireworks which was offered to Ivorians for the end of this year, it is another matter, a less glorious one, which is making the entire blogosphere shake. The #carlaliegate. 

The facts 

Carlalie Okou, a young Ivorian photographer, was surprised to see her photos of the event, she had posted on her facebook profile, copied by many newspapers (Le Jour, L'intelligent d'Abidjan, Le Nouveau Réveil,, ...). People could say that Carlalie has no reason to complain because this is an incredible opportunity for her to have more visibility.
But the root of all evil here, is that none of these media had the courtesy to ask permission to Carlalie before using her work. Worse, some of them added insult to injury by erasing her watermark on the pictures, showing that their evil purpose. 

Unfortunately for them, Carlalie  didn't remain silent. Today, the number of member of the ivoriancommunity supporting her is increasing faster and  the campaign for the restitution of her rights to her pictures is on. 

 The compensation proposed has simply removed the pictures from its site. L'intelligent d'Abidjan has proposed the following compensation: resumption of the picture with her name in the newspaper but not on the front page, a collaboration to pay her photos and sending for one month the PDF version of the newspaper to Carlalie.  
Carlalie, who made calls to legal counsel can not speak on the subject, but the last time I got her, the other media had not responded to her attempts of establishing communication. 

 My questions 

This situation can happen to any of us, web users and content creators. It is raising several questions: 

1-Is Internet really a "no man's land" here in Côte d'ivoire? Everyone doing what he want ? 

 2-Does an article, a photo, or any other private content published on the Internet, automatically falling into the public domain? So anybody can found one morning, one of the pictures of his Facebook page in newspaper without his consent ? Just because it was published on internet? 

 3-If putting a huge watermark can be a solution for photographers, what can I do as a blogger to prevent such behaviors of the media?  Insert my name every two words? Yehni Djidjii Yehni Djidji? 

I think that the Battle of Carlalie Okou is the beginning of a change. Beyond Carlalie, and any monetary compensation coming or not, there is a real awareness because of the #carlaliegate. 

Journalists, who are becoming too much lazy would do a little more effort to restore the prestige of their corporation. In addition, where an apology and a fair agreement would have been enough, they are letting the matter being worse. How unprofessional! 

On the other side, we, creatives and web users, shoud start learning our right and duties. We must organize ourselves in order to protect our work from dishonest people. We need to be trained. There are organizations related to the Web that exist here Côte d'Ivoire. I am sure they can do a difference in this fight.
Rather than meeting only to talk about contests, technological innovations, or even to eat, they should planned a training in law. It's an emergency. 

The resolutions 

1) Now we must clearly indicate the sources of all photos and content that is not ours, that we take on our blogs, websites and other publications. And I'm starting today. Even if we do not always know the author, the site where we took the picture or the text is still known: DO MENTION! Whe shoud not do to others what we won't like people to do to us.

2) Each of us must undertake research to learn more about our rights and duties as Web users and content creators until an organisation join the battle to help.

3) We need to follow the press closely. Those who are stealing the intellectual work of others should not do so with impunity. 

4) We must be more united, when such cases happen. It is purely a shame to hear people predicting the failure  of this battle, simply because they were once victims of such injustice and that their protests has led nothing. There is always someone from whom the struggle begins. If it is not you, you should not be bitter. You should rather join the movement. We must support each other, unless of course we think that the initiator of the mobilization is wrong! But to give up too early when you know that the person is right is not acceptable! It is time that we see a little further than the end of our flat nose. 

Carlalie keep it up ! All creatives should be full of courage! We will win or we will lose this battle, but in my opinion, the war has just begun. We will no more remain silent over the theft of our creations! 

Another article on carlaliegate:

 photo: carlalie Okou

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