KSRTC. Who does the brand name belong to?
The fight for the acronym KSRTC between Kerala and Karnataka over their respective road transport corporations has been going on for long. But now, a private blogger has been dragged into the tussle.
The managing director of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has sent a notice to blogger Sujith Bhakthan, the person behind ksrtcblog.com, asking him to immediately desist from using the word ‘KSRTC’ and to remove all content about the state’s bus company.
The notice issued on June 27 states, “Remove all content hosted in the web server accessible through the domain name www.ksrtcblog.com.”
Kerala state RTC department's grouse with Sujith seems to be that he was making commercial gains through his blog, by placing advertisements on it. The state’s move, however, has resulted in an uproar among netizens, who felt the blog was immensely helpful to travellers.
"KSRTC does not maintain a good website or blog and now wants to stop someone who is doing it. When they don't have the patent for the name, how can they issue such a notice?", asked a netizen.
"The kind of data, details the website provides are helpful. It's one good resource to know the timing of ksrtc buses, which helps 'many'," said Hiran Venugopalan, a designer.
Kerala RTC however argues that the issue was not about how useful the blog was but about copyright violation.
“They have been using the blog for commercial purposes. There were advertisements in it. Apart from that we have found them publishing some internal circulars of our department without official permission,” says a senior officer at Kerala RTC to The News Minute.
He adds that the Kerala RTC has already received an intimidation from Karnataka government requesting not to use the term ‘KSRTC’. “We have applied for copyright. We were using the term KSRTC since 1965. Karnataka started using it in 1974. But still since there is a legal battle between the states, how can a third party use that, we will be answerable for the content used in it,” says the official.
However, Sujith questions the authority of Kerala RTC for asking him to remove the content from his personal blog.
“It is my personal blog. Because of its popularity we later formed a community. The state department has no authority to question the name of the blog. They have no copyright on it. If they wanted to move legally, I am also ready to go legally,” he tells TNM.
Sujith has also questioned the timing of the notice, “I have been running this blog for the past eight years. Recently we have written a couple of articles criticising this department with the aim of making them more accountable. But this seems to have irked the department and they want to shut down my blog.”
Moreover, he pointed out that none of the Kerala RTC websites provide sufficient information including bus timings, to the public.
The Kerala RTC official says the department could give permission to Sujith after he gives an explanation as to why the blog should continue.
The notice however is only for ksrtcblog.com and not for its sub-blog aanavandi.com.