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Manila Bulletin files counter suit against Photoblogger

Now it’s Manila Bulletin’s turn. The newspaper filed a counter suit against photographer and blogger Anton Sheker.

Anton earlier filed a Php 1.2 Million copyright lawsuit against Manila Bulletin (including the graphics artist and section editor) for publishing his photos without his permission {see earlier story here and the first coverage here}.

In return, Manila Bulletin is suing back Anton with exemplary and moral damages for Php 2.0 Million. MB claims fair use in its publication of the photos.

The developments are getting juicer. Will post updates once I get a copy of the complaint.

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

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47 Responses

  1. do they share the same lawyers with sulpicio? LOL!

  2. bryanboy says:

    since when did blatant copyright infringement became ‘fair use’?

  3. Jan Alvin says:

    “Manila Bulletin is suing back Anton with exemplary and moral damages” – they are the one should sued by this thing. Theres no “fair use” to what MB did to Anton. (astig si kuya Abe, makakakuha pa ng copy)

  4. noemi says:

    MB filing counter charges is normal (I think) for most civil cases. Happened to us too in another civil case. copy of complaint is available to the public if you know what court it is filed.

    I wonder if MB will settle. If civil case, first step is court annexed mediation before trial.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    Shame on Manila Bulletin! They could not pay for the mere photos and they are the leading newspaper in the country (i think).

    Good for Inquirer they pay for photos they published, i got paid.

    Visit http://www.manilablog.com – win 10$ or a domain…

  6. BrianB says:

    MB’s defense could go something like: if bloggers can use other bloggers’ photos on their sites, so can print media. Fair use.

  7. Lyle, RN says:

    Interesting. I’d like to see how this thing pans out.

    This will be a landmark case.

  8. MiGs says:

    I think this will end to a settlement.

    Pero i hope it wont.. para magkaron na tayo ng legal reference sa mga ganitong issue.

  9. em0rej says:

    i don’t think sir anton is after the money in the first place, its the principle of copyrights that is the issue. MB should be ashamed

  10. Shari says:

    If I remember correctly, JJ Disini said something to this effect during the 4th iBlog (I took notes, heh):

    If only a thumbnail, fair use. If the photo in its all glory, copyright infringement.

    Though in a way, I agree with MiGs. Kailangang may legal reference talaga tayo.

  11. Eugene says:

    The Philippines is largely emulating the U.S. copyright system. In the U.S. fair use is copyright infringement by definition but one that is legally allowed. So, not all forms of copyright infringement is illegal. Those that aren’t illegal are considered fair use.

    Now, fair use is determined in a case-to-case basis. Just because it was deemed in one case that thumbnails are fair use doesn’t mean that all uses of thumbnails are also fair use. So while a ruling in the Sheker vs. MB case may set a precedent, it’s by no means a set-in-stone rule after.

  12. Abe,

    Thanks for the post.. i will refrain from saying anything for the moment.. we have 10… oops 9 days to file our reply.. :)

  13. ast says:

    more power anton!

    turuan ng leksyon yang MB na yan!

  14. marhgil says:

    bakit idinemanda? bakit hindi sinagot na lang yung unang demanda? ang gulo. nalilito ako. :)

    offtopic: there’s an error on your paginated comments. I can’t read the previous comments, clicking the pages is sending me to the home page.

  15. Ryan says:

    This is ridiculous. Companies like Manila Bulletin should realize that it’s just a hell of a lot cheaper to pay people for their work instead of filing ridiculous countersuits.

  16. blozoom! says:

    that mb! i will no longer buy that daily. anyhow puro classifieds lang naman laman nung paper nila. mag online claasifieds ads na lang tayo. not that i do buy dailies nowadays. MB is so proud, why not admit that they erred. iba talaga pag may armada of lawyers.

  17. Hello.

    I know that Anton has said that he’s not going to make any comment at this point (Reply #13), and it’s only right.

    But I do hope he pursues this further. “Fair Use” doesn’t apply in this case. You only have to use your common sense. Manila Bulletin does not have a case. They’re acting like a big bully corporation trying to step on a hapless civilian, hoping he would go away. But really, they’ve got NOTHING. They’re bluffing and I hope Anton calls them on it.

    It’s the classic case of “Sya na ang gumawa ng mali, sya pa ang galit.”

  18. blozoom! says:

    oh ano? simulan na ang call for MB boycott? marami pa namang ibang classifieds out there. saka wala naman laman ang panorama. LOL

  19. kat says:

    anton,you should go ahead and meet MB head on. i agree with all the previous comments. MB doesn’t have a case. they are simply used to bullying and being big.and they’ve probably done this in the past but nobody as much as whimpered. rock and roll!

  20. chamicday says:

    how can MB be so arrogant? but then if you’re big and have been used to bullying,you ignore RULES like copyright. i agree about simply paying up–how much is a contributor’s photo these days? they probably pay a measly 100-200 pesos. PDI pays 250 for contributors so I don’t think that’s too far away from MB’s price. anton would probably price his work much higher and it would be his right,of course. but MB would rather sue? such arrogance! go ahead anton and do them in. this will be an interesting case to watch. good luck out there.

  21. Does anyone have a copy of MB’s response? I’m interested in how they are handling this issue. Most likely in instances like this, it is the fault of one person rather than the company, so I wonder why this developed into a counter suit banking on “fair use”.

  22. That’s just Manila Bulletin’s way of intimidating Anton to drop the lawsuit. If Anton backs down because of it, that’s going to be a big blow to the entire bloggingcommunity kasi matatakot na ang lahat mag-upload ng digital content nila online.

  23. This is why nobody reads the Bulletin anymore.

  24. I wonder what is “fair use” when stealing images.

  25. Benjie Lope says:

    If anyone still gets the Manila Bulletin, scan one of their page 1 photos and use it for an article that the photo doesn’t suggest. Hey, why don’t everyone do that. Fair use.

  26. joel chavez says:

    i agree with mr patrick that this is a just a their (MB) to intimidate Anton to back down. instead of settling which would be admitting to the theft!
    “That’s just Manila Bulletin’s way of intimidating Anton to drop the lawsuit. If Anton backs down because of it, that’s going to be a big blow to the entire bloggingcommunity kasi matatakot na ang lahat mag-upload ng digital content nila online.” -patrick e.

  27. Ian says:

    Manila Bulletin could have easily avoided this by publishing an errata, citing the lack of attribution for the original photos. Real newspapers do that all the time — mistakes are unavoidable, given the deadlines of putting the paper to bed. But, nooo, the Bulletin cannot be bothered with that little inconsequential detail.

    Their fair use defense is laughable. IANAL, but I seem to recall that fair use is for criticism (for example) and adding new value to the body of knowledge as a whole. In my opinion, this one is a clear and blatant duplication of the original — an infringement — and cannot be defensible under the fair use doctrine.

  28. How terribly creative of the MB legal team. Seriously, they should just settle and compensate the photo source. Local “big” companies are really such big fat bullies; no wonder a lot of SMEs and freelancers don’t want to bother even asserting their rights in the first place.
    Go Anton!

  29. rodel says:

    can’t wait to here more of this.. ::) a bit scary pero worth the fight..

  30. dinno19 says:

    What? Fair use? They’re kidding right? WTF!

  31. Benjamin Molina says:

    i for one will no longer be buying manila bulletin.

  32. Kraven castillo says:

    MB is filing a counter suit to intimidate Anton.
    its their strongest defense for now. they assume that Anton will be bluffed by their complaint, and they hope that anton will either go for settlement or just drop the case.

    its just part of their strategy. there is a high possibility that if Anton does not back out, they will ask for a settlement.

    and if this happens, its going to be your call anton. as they have said, this is a landmark case.
    anything that will happen here will be remembered.

  33. dung markus says:


    There are probably thousands of Filipino photography enthuiasts. If we count all their friends and relatives, this could be millions.

    The BULLETIN earns money thru its ads. If we boycott it, their sales go down and so does the ads.

    At the moment the INQUIRER no. 1, the STAR is no. 2
    and the BULLETIN is no. 3. By boycotting we could make the BULLETIN no. “LAST” on the broadsheets sales survey.


  34. sTARman says:

    Hinde matatakot yan BULLETIN handa hinde humihina ang sales nila.

    Sa Visayas, mahina na sila! Kaya ang mga newsboys dito sa Visayas, pina-party nila complete with umbrellas, t-shirts and bags.

    Pero ganoon pa rin, mahina pa rin ang sales.

    Kasi yon ibang dealers inis-SNOB nila.

    Silently these dealers retaliated by hiding the BULLETIN copies.

  35. Leticia says:


    Let us email our friends, relatives and others about
    your predicament.

    Let us tell them how the BULLETIN violated our intellectual and property rights.

    Let us tell them to BOYCOTT the bulletin~!

    a fellow photo enthuiast.

  36. Oh my! That is a nasty lawsuit!

  37. I would boycott MB, but I have not bought that piece of trash paper in years.

  38. Shrumster says:

    I’d say that a boycott is in order at the very least (if anyone here actually buys print media anymore, that is). Email campaign would be a nice touch too (although a bit spammy for my taste).

    Why don’t we try to do what people worldwide do whenever the RIAA/MPAA tries to bully individuals and start something of a legal fund for Anton (and other individuals) just in case he’ll need help with litigation costs? Big corporations in this country have to be taught a lesson – that they can’t bully around the little people anymore.

  39. Mark says:

    Although I respect everybody’s opinion I think boycotting MB is a not a nice idea. Why? Because the ones that will be adversely affected by this “irrational” action are not the management people of MB (they have a lot of businesses including Manila Hotel, PhilTrust Bank, CEU, Mapua, Euro Med Lab etc.)but rather the employees, journalists and small people in the company. (take note, they have no fault.

  40. I would like to see how this case would turn out. Pretty interesting, and I agree to what Bryan has pointed out about fair use.

  41. Filipino says:

    Hmn… so its payback time huh.

  42. Gus says:

    Any update? What happened in the end?

  43. The newspaper filed a counter suit against photographer and blogger Anton Sheker.

    • Motels in Hanila says:

      That’s not the “end”, that’s the “beginning”! This is a story about the countersuit

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  45. rea says:

    Very energetic post, I enjoyed that bit. Will there bee a part 2?

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