He delivered the dinner speech on Sunday on the Bangladesh’s first internet newspaper’s 10th anniversary at the Radisson Blu hotel in Dhaka.
He told his audience that included newsmakers and journalists that in Bangladesh copying is not considered a crime and “it has often been a cause for pain”.
“An act of plagiarism is rarely punished in Bangladesh. We hear of teachers being appointed to top (our top) universities ignoring specific charges of plagiarism.
“Copyright has no meaning to many people; violation is not considered too much of an issue!” he lamented.
And that editor of the major newspaper seemed to be thinking it was his fundamental right to steal and publish bdnews24.com contents.
“Another editor, when served with a notice for publishing, without permission, content of a major international news agency for which we had the distribution rights in Bangladesh responded: “It’s all available on the Internet!”,” he said.
“I told my colleagues who were dealing with the notice: ‘Go tell him that Ramna Park is an open space, is big enough to build a palatial house…ask him to build one for himself.’
“So I have been angry at times, helpless in most cases, because stealing our content to such an extent has meant a huge loss of revenue for us, and a lot of hardship as a result,” drawing gasps of surprise from a section of the audience.
“But we do not accept copyright infringement any more,” he added.
Khalidi told his audience, made up also of senior journalists and media executives, that a major English newspaper’s online edition even copied the copyright infringement warning notice of bdnews24.com.
“I say this with some confidence because an English lawyer who is a personal friend of mine drafted this for me – for free of course! based on a draft provided by colleagues,” the bdnews24.com chief editor said.
“At some point, we decided enough is enough, and started preparing for legal battle,” he added.
Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu and State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak were among the listeners.
Principal Information Officer AKM Shamim Chowdhury, National Press Club General Secretary Kamrul Islam Chowdhury, Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shyamal Dutta, Ekattor TV Managing Director Mozammel Babu, DBC TV Chief Editor Manzurul Islam and Dainik Azadi Managing Editor Wahid Malik joined the celebrations.