Update: Ola seems to have made amends on the load screen image of their application and has provided attribution to Praveen P.N’s Flickr account. The credits appear on the application’s About Us page and here’s a screen shot. All’s fair then.

Ola credit

Earlier: It is probably one of the most recognizable images in the country right now with users in over 85 cities looking at it when they open the Ola mobile app. And they might have made a rookie mistake of stealing the image. According to Praveen, a Yahoo employee in California, Ola used the photo from his Flickr account without his permission.

According to the Praveen’s Flickr account, the image was taken on July 6, 2012 at Bytatraranapura, Bangalore and is under the Creative Commons licence which allows the image to be used only for non-commercial purposes and needs to carry attribution.

Ola seems to have reached out to him through some “guy” in September 2014 about using the image but did not hear from the company after he named his price.

Naturally, this caused a lot of outrage on Twitter because it’s not f*&%ing cool to steal. Ola seems to have reached out to Praveen again and patched things up.

But negative points to Ola for using a meme incorrectly.

MediaNama has reached out to Praveen to know how the issue was “sorted”. We’ve also gotten in touch with Ola about the image and will update when we hear back.  

Smooth criminals

Ola isn’t the only or the first one to use designs or images for commercial use without permission. Most recently, Housing.com launched an advertising campaign which was apparently “inspired” by Vidit Bhargava, the creator of the LookUp dictionary for iOS. 

And who can forget Apple, which had to pay $21 million to the Swiss National Railway operator to continue to use the iconic clock design in iOS. Will Ola need another round of funding for design purposes?