According to Roba Al-Assi, a photograph she took wound up in the Jordanian Yellow Pages without her permission. The photograph, which was labeled “© Ministry of Tourism” was otherwise unattributed and Al-Assi was given no notification or compensation for its use.
But while that is more than bad enough, what makes the situation worse is that the photograph, which was supposed to show off “The Art of Traditional Jordanian Cooking”, wasn’t even taken in Jordan. Though Al-Assi is a Jordanian herself, the photo was taken on a trip to neighboring Syria.
According to Al-Assi, the Syrian version of the dish shown in the photograph, Mansaf, is visibly different from the Jordanian one, making it a mistake that should have been easily detected. Though it is too early to say who is responsible for the lifting, Al-Assi mentions at least two possibilities, everyone involved winds up looking both thoughtless and inept.
The moral of the story is simple though. When you plagiarize you don’t know what you’re getting. Plagiarism can not only create copyright issues, but open you up to libel, false advertising and other suits depending on the content taken.
Or, as in this case, it can just make you look very stupid.