Copyright row: US based photographer Bimal Nepal sends notice to PM Modi’s office claiming damages

New York City: A US-based photographer of Nepali origin has sent a copyright notice to the Indian Prime Minister’s Office for allegedly using his photo without permission on an official Facebook page.

According to Hindustan Times, the US law firm of Fish and Richardson, pursuing Nepal’s case, has issued a statement confirming that it had sent a letter to the PMO. The firm is “offering to license the Prime Minister’s use of the photograph in exchange for an acknowledgement crediting him (Nepal) as the photographer and a nominal license fee”. On Friday, Nepal had posted the following to his timeline:


Bimal Nepal, Photographer

Journalist · 11,498 Likes

· 11 June at 19:49 ·

Dear friends from the media,
I would like to inform you that my lawyer is going to release a press statement tomorrow about the new developments of my case regarding Prime Minister Modi’s copyright infringement of my photograph.
Please inbox me if you would like a copy. Thank you so much for your support.
‪#‎PMmodi‬ ‪#‎copyright‬ ‪#‎ModiPhotoCopyright‬


Photographer Bimal Nepal had claimed back then that he clicked the photo and posted it to Flickr in 2012 before it appeared on Modi’s Facebook page. Nepal said that this was done without his permission or giving him credit. “We work hard at our craft, and others, no matter how prominent and powerful, should not be permitted to misappropriate the fruits of our labour and skill,” he said.

The issue created a flutter on social media last year and Nepal had asked Modi to give him credit and compensation. But several months after, with no response forthcoming from the Indian government, Nepal says he had decided to pursue the issue further. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had said the photo was publicly available on several websites, and there was no need to take permission from the photographer.

Sources in the PMO had also said that the photo was used to extend Dhanteras wishes to Modi’s online followers and not for any profitable purpose. Adam Kessel, handling the case for Nepal’s legal firm, added, “Bimal admires Prime Minister Modi, and recognizes that this is a noncommercial use of his copyrighted image. He is pursuing this issue as it sends an important message about artist’s rights and respecting intellectual property,”.