STB very creative… in giving excuses (Updated)

By May 27, 2017Current

TL;DR – Like that how to promote Singapore as a tourist destination?

Recently there’s a video going around about how you can buy a luxury car from a vending machine in Singapore.

The video was created by SENATUS, a digital magazine focused on covering luxury and lifestyle offerings. Award-winning too, that magazine. Anyway, it’s a very well-done video. And it makes Singapore look fun, exciting place, buzzing with interesting ideas. Any government agency that is looking to promote Singapore as a cool place probably would consider using the video.

So we can understand that STB used the video.

But to use a low resolution of the video? That’s really bad.

And to use the video without asking SENATUS for permission? That’s terrible.

And worse. Use the video without proper attribution? That’s unforgivable.

STB only apologised when called out?

STB posted that video on their own Facebook page. We meant they’d ripped the video and re-uploaded the video onto their own social media media. Yup, as though they owned the rights, and as though they could upload it like it’s theirs.

They acted like they didn’t do anything wrong after they posted the video. They probably would have continued to do that if Benjamin Lee, otherwise known as Mr Miyagi, didn’t call them out.

STB being called out by Mr Miyagi. (via)

Kien Lee, founder and managing director at SENATUS, also posted about it.

In response to being called out, STB and its creative agency TBWA\ Group Singapore said this in a joint statement:

“STB and TBWA fully respect intellectual property rights, and it is part of our processes to seek permissions for re-posted content. However on 19 May, we made a genuine mistake by not obtaining required permission to use the video titled The world’s largest luxury car “vending machine” from SENATUS on the VisitSingapore Facebook page. We contacted SENATUS immediately upon learning of our mistake to offer our personal apologies and resolve the issue. We are truly sorry for this oversight and will be reviewing our processes to prevent a recurrence.”

Wait. If all along, there has been a process in place to seek permissions, then how did this happen?

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Or did the statement mean to say STB did not previously have it in their processes to seek permission for re-posted content, and that they only started to include this after 19 May? Hmmm… then the joint statement is quite lousy, not clear.

And the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) is perfectly OK with this sort of behaviour? Did IPOS think that was fair use? As a rule of thumb, we can perhaps assume fair use is 10% or for news. And STB certainly didn’t use this as news.

Oh wait! Maybe they’d thought that by reducing the resolution and reducing the file size to 10% of the original file size makes it fair use. How do we nurture and develop the creative industry in Singapore then?

Not the first time

In 2014, STB recycled the work of local design agency DoodleRoom. DoodleRoom designed the Singapore Art Week Guide for STB in 2013. In 2014, DoodleRoom wasn’t asked to work on the project. That’s fine. What’s not fine is that the Singapore Art Week Guide in 2014 looks suspiciously like the one in 2013.

Singapore Art Week Guide 2013 vs 2014 (via)

At that time, STB released this statement:

“Although STB is not obliged to obtain Doodle Room’s permission for further usage or adaptation of the creative assets developed by them, we do acknowledge the effort and creativity that Doodle Room has put into the development and production of the Singapore Art Week Guide 2013. We hope they will continue to show interest in working with STB.

STB fully respects intellectual property rights, and supports the development of local creative talent as one of our strategies to develop Singapore as a distinctive and compelling destination”

Right. So their idea of supporting “the development of local creative talent” is to rip off other people’s ideas? With this kind of support, I think our creative talent in Singapore is pretty screwed.

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Editor’s Note: (28/5 @7:20PM) Kien Lee of SENATUS has shed a little more light on the issue with a comment here,

In case you can’t see it, he’d said,

“I noticed in a separate link share some comments and thought I would add an additional note here:

For starters, they kept the original FB post up (even after the video was removed by FB), giving the impression that the blended/amalgamated photos FB post was indeed popular, WHEN its high engagement was a result of our ripped video being included.

If they were genuine about respecting content creators (and their “apology”), a standalone link share to our video on their FB page would have been the RIGHT thing to do.

And I will also add that aforementioned “apology” was made via a Whatsapp chat, and not via any formal communications. I don’t know how professional this is.”


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Author CRC

Working on a startup is a scary crazy process. To destress, I write random stuff.

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