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September 4, 2014

Zunar Takes Action Vs. Malaysian Star Over Use Of His Cartoon

The cartoonist Zunar announced through press release Tuesday morning morning that he would be suing the Malaysian Star for their use of his cartoon featuring the MH17 aircraft against an artistic background in their August 22 publication. The newspaper apologized on August 25, but Zunar told news sources at that time that he was still considering action. He details it in the follow statement:

Today (Tuesday, September 2, 2014) I have sent a Letter of Demand the The Star newspaper for publishing my cartoon artwork without obtaining my permission. The letter was sent to The Star by hand by my lawyer Melissa Sasidaran who represents the law firm RamRais & Partners.

imageOn the 22 August 2014 issue on page 12, The Star had published my cartoon depicting the MH17 aircraft silhouetted against an orange-coloured heart-shaped sky, and the newspaper never contacted me to seek my permission to use the said artwork.

This artwork is my original creation and was first published by Malaysiakini on July 18, 2014.

In the Letter Of Demand to The Star, I mentioned, among others:

"Your act of publishing my artwork constitutes an infringement of my rights, and your action has caused me to suffer loss as a result. In accordance to the Copyright Act 1987, I am entitled to damages from you for the loss that I have suffered as a result of your infringing conduct.

With that, I am claiming from you, among others:

1 To pay the damages with a reasonable amount that is agreed upon by me;
2. To advertise an apology notice in The Star newspaper, with the contents, size, layout and location is agreed upon by me."

I am giving The Star seven (7) days to respond to this letter. If I do not receive an answer on or before 9 September 2014, court action will commence.

I would also like to assert that monetary gain is not the main goal of my action. This case should become the cornerstone of the copyright protection of artwork, not only to me but also to other artists in Malaysia in the future.

Political cartoonist
2 Sept 2014
I don't know from the English-language article read what the shape or size or positioning of the August 25 apology was, but it looks like the cartoonist has taken issue with it. Zunar is best known for the 2010 seizure of his work and subsequent controversy including rounds of civic legal action. The cartoonist has consistently pressed for greater press freedom in Malaysia.
posted 12:05 am PST | Permalink

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