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Filipino Photographer sues Manila Bulletin

In a potentially landmark case, a Php1.2 Million copyright infringement suit was filed against print publication Manila Bulletin for illegally using and printing photos of professional photographer and blogger Anton Sheker.

This issue first came to light back in October 2007 when I suggested to Anton he send Manila Bulletin a bill for using his photos.

Several months have passed and discussions between the two parties didn’t end up with an acceptable agreement.


On June 5, 2008, Anton finally elevated the issue to the Regional Trial Court.

Anton Sheker

The picture above is the subject of the case. Is this going to be the first time that a case on copyright infringement and the Internet as a medium is in question? Will it be the first time that camera EXIF data will be used as evidence in the Philippines?

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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28 Responses

  1. I can’t wait to see how this one would go. Yuga is right in addressing this is a landmark case.

  2. I agree. this case would show people that not everything found on the internet can be taken without permission.

    Seriously, Manila Bulletin should know better.

  3. Ronin says:

    Whatever the outcome will be a great case for future media practitioners to study.

    Now we have to wait. We can’t ask on the case’ progress it’s in the court. Sub Judice, as they say. (tama ba? :D)

    This is exciting.

  4. cocoie says:

    panu niya mapapatunayan na sa kanya galing yung mga photos na yun//?? e khit cno pwedeng kopyahin yan eh tapos iprint..hehe….ewan ko bahala cla….(“,)

  5. yuga says:

    @cocoie, photos have EXIF data embedded in them. Both parties can show their originals and compare the EXIF data.

  6. jhay says:

    This is really a landmark case, this will definitely set new precedents and standards in new and old media.

  7. Yep, there are ways to trace the source of things found on the internet, like Photos for example using the EXIF data. There are other ways also other than the EXIF ;)

    Manila Bulletin doesn’t know any better, you know why? Because they think they can use anything found on the Internet.

    Remember, before the CC days, blog-explosion days, etc. there was this notion that “everything you put online becomes a public property”? If you’re not familiar with that, then I’m sure that’s what MB or their people thought.

    Times changed, Copyright protection are more powerful today than before. A decade ago, people will laughed at you for publishing your stuff online. Today, people will sue you for republishing their materials “published online”.

  8. Jeffrey says:

    What derailed their settlement? Hhhmmm, Mr Sheker probably asked for 10,000 per photo?

  9. Jan Alvin says:

    Anton was right but Its a big wall his heading to. Can he go against it?

  10. @Jan
    He can and he must. We need this win to change the “Copyright” landscape in this country.

    Many companies (and graphic artists at that) do not respect materials published online. I witnessed many companies who do just that. I told not to, but they never listened.

    His win against MB will be a win for all of us online publishers. It is a start of a very loooong change. A change that will never happen if nobody will initiate it.

    It’s better than nothing. ^^

  11. This is not the only incident. I know another photographer/artist who has been a victim with copyright infringement. It is only that both parties are willing to negotiate within acceptable terms.

    I agree that Anton should pursue and fight for his rights to be compensated for publishing his work. It would be interesting to see how this one will turn out if Philippines can really protect artists from copying their creative works.

  12. Daemon says:

    Electronic evidence as a proof for copyright infringement. Its not new. There are alot of landmark cases where digital signature has been used as evidence, even digital certificates.

    Using the EXIF data as a evidence i guess it is so hard to prove. EXIF can be edited and duplicated or reproduced. I can give you the download site.

  13. cocoie says:

    Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) ah ok.. now i know….tnx y’all

  14. Jan Alvin says:

    Could someone teach how EXIF works??

  15. karla says:

    I do hope Anton will win this case. It will make them think that they should have done negotiations with him instead

  16. paul vincent says:

    Im a photographer and i always make sure that my images have a copyright embeded in them. How? Sa DSLR camera meron feature na “image authentication” where you will be able to type your name. So everytime you take a picture nakatatak na yun sa image along with what exposures and lenses you used to take the picture. Hindi na mabubura yun. Kahit ilang beses icopy ung picture at manipulate ang image, the original will and must have all the info of the image.

  17. paul vincent says:

    I also charge 10k per image that will be used with out my knowledge. Nakalagay yun sa contract ko.

  18. Dave Q says:

    Hi Yuga!

    Looks like this won’t be the last one… tsk tsk

    Inquirer steals Inboundpass photo

  19. It doesn’t take a genius to edit EXIF data. I’m sure there are other ways of comparing photos using algorithms. Check out tineye.com, this site will help you find if your photos are being used elsewhere.

  20. Juler says:

    This would be first, but the counter suit by the MD is great also… How will Anton pay them if the case will favor the publishing media?


  21. Naku, I hope the case lands with a judge who understands the web, computer, etc. Otherwise, lawyers will have to educate him. The great technological divide will be a considerable challenge for counsels. Good luck on that!

  22. maricel says:

    what happened to case of Anton Sheker Vs. Manila Bulletin now?.
    Who wins?

  23. Filipino says:

    If that also happens to me, maybe I’ll do the same thing.

  24. Well I am convinced there is more to arrive, this matter can not be satisfied by merely this data in your item Filipino Photographer sues Manila Bulletin . Respectable coverage like this always requires you to go for more articles! Why didnt I think about this? I would genuinely care to understand more on this subject.

  25. jm says:

    what happened to case of Anton Sheker Vs. Manila Bulletin now?.
    Who wins? how much the reward.? pls answer, need ko lng po sa report ko sa law.. :3

  26. jm says:

    ano na po nangyari ngayon.?
    Who wins? how much the reward.? pls answer, need ko lng po sa report ko sa law.. :3

  27. clara says:

    Hi, may I know the final verdict here?

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