Usually I write my blog articles in German, but this time we will have a big Italian readership, so to honor our new readers I will ease it for them and use English.
Yesterday I was informed by many Italian citizens that they found one of the illustrations I offer for sale at stock agencies was used by the political right-wing party NCD (Nuovo Centrodestra) in Modena in a context that is clearly „anti-gay“:
The original image looks like this:
I offer the images at three stock photo agencies: Fotolia, Shutterstock and Bigstock.
All three have sold the – fairly new – image one time so far. But: All of these licenses have been „standard licenses“.
Let’s have a quick look:
Fotolia states in their usage terms:
3.1 General Restrictions. You must not misuse the Work. Except as expressly permitted in Section 2 above, you must not:[
[…] e. use, reproduce, distribute, perform, modify, or display the Work (including, without limitation, by itself or in combination with any other work of authorship) in any manner that is libelous or slanderous or otherwise defamatory, obscene or indecent
[…] i. use the Work in a way that places any person in the photo in a bad light or depicts them in a way that they may find offensive – this includes, but is not limited to:
[…] IV. political endorsements“
Shutterstock says in their license agreement:
„PART I VISUAL CONTENT LICENSES. […]
RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF VISUAL CONTENT
YOU MAY NOT:
- […] ii. Depict any person depicted in Visual Content (a „Model“) in a way that a reasonable person would find offensive, including but not limited to depicting a Model:
[…] c) as endorsing a political party, candidate, elected official, or opinion; […]
- Use any Visual Content in a pornographic, defamatory, or deceptive context, or in a manner that could be considered libelous, obscene, or illegal.“
Bigstock, who is owned by Shutterstock, has very similar image usage agreement:
„Part III RESTRICTIONS
YOU MAY NOT:
- […] Use any Content in a way that places any person depicted in the Content in a way that a reasonable person would find offensive – this includes, but is not limited to the use of Content: […] d) in connection with political endorsements; […] g) in any manner that is defamatory, or contains unlawful or offensive content.“
I still don’t know if NCD bought the image, because I am still missing feedback from some of the agencies and my mail to the NCD has not yet been answered.
But let’s assume they did:
In my opinion the usage would still be unlawful, because it is „endorsing a political party“ and is defamatory and offensive to different groups of people.
Maybe it also means that the NCD is not able to read a contract (because that’s what a license agreement basically is), which might not be the best trait for a political party who wants to draft new laws.
I will consult with my lawyer and will decide later if I will take legal action.
On a side note:
I am puzzled why they had to remove the hair of the guy on the right side? Is it because he looked too cute? Is it because they seriously believe that gay people will loose all their hair? (I try hard to avoid the pun with the „right wing looses its hair“)
Just as a sign of what this gay couple really stands for (and to celebrate Ireland’s vote for marriage equality) my team and me decided to give away this image for free:
It is free for private and commercial use, but all these full license terms of Shutterstock apply!
So just to be sure and to spell it out: No, NCD, you may not use it in a campaign against same-sex marriage and adoption!
If you are interested in similar images, here is a lightbox with more illustrations that can be licensened:
„Diversity & Inclusion“ (Fotolia) or „Diversity & Inclusion“ (Shutterstock).
Have a gay day!
22 Gedanken zu „Italian political party NCD uses image without proper license?“
I would suggest changing the title of this post to something that sounds less like a fact. Because I doubt your claim is correct and with this factual statement you are making yourself vulnerable.
If you re-read the license terms you quoted, both are talking about a „person“. An illustration with a cartoonish character is not a person. Unless they are clearly based on real people (which would require you to obtain a model release), they are not people, and so they don’t have any feelings or opinions that could be violated by mis-using an image in a context they wouldn’t support.
I support equal rights as well as you do. But I don’t see how you have a base for the claim you are making.
Die Verwendung des Fotos ist durch die Lizenzbedingungen nicht gedeckt. Das ist eine Sache. Ob du mit juristischen Schritten Erfölg haben wirst, eine andere (immerhin Italien!). Wie dem auch sei, die missbräuchliche Verwendung eines Bildes ist verwerflich. Eine Frage, die sich mir stellt, ist, ob all die italienischen Fotofreunde ähnlich reagiert hätten, wenn das Bild bei den Postkommunisten verwendet worden wäre? Denn, abgesehen von dem klaren Verstoß gegen die Lizenzbedingungen, der nicht in Ordnung ist, muss unsere Gesellschaft (das gilt für Italien gleichermaßen wie für andere westliche Länder) akzeptieren lernen, dass es eben auch Meinungen gibt, die nicht dem Mainstream entsprechen. Solange sich die politischen Vertreter an die jeweils gültige Verfassung halten, sind es es demokratsiche Meinungsvertreter, ob uns das passt oder nicht. Das ist Demokratie!
@Michael: I added a question mark to the title to be on the safe side. But all the license agreements clearly state that „political endorsement“ is forbidden, regardless whether real people are used in the image or not.
To me, „person“ is well defined in the law. And none of the terms are saying „you can not use any image we offer in political context“. All those limitations are strictly bound to images depicting a person.
Well, I’m curious what your lawyer will say about this. Let us know. 🙂
It is a clear infringement of the copyright. The image has been used for the defamation of a group of people and subverting the obvious purpose of the artist. And, in any case, I am quite sure that NCD (which in the city of Modena are not a major party) did not buy the image. A legal action is due in order to expose their mala fides and to show that you are not associated with the anti-gay movement (which would damage your work a lot, I think) and would also result in free publicity for you.
@Paolo, investigations are on its way.
Good job, Robert. Anyway, really often our politicians aren’t able to speak in a proper Italian, let alone if they could read something in English 🙂
This is going to be fun to follow, but I’m happily sharing this. Especially the „right-wing looses its hair“ is absolutely hilarious.
Just a small correction, I reckon you mean Ireland, not Iceland, right? Our neighbours have passed this law already in 2010, but still later than we did Norway 😉
Best of luck
gerade in meiner Uni gefunden. Vielleicht freuen die sich wenn Du denen den Fall schilders.
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@Jørg: You are right, it should have read „Ireland“, I corrected it. But that’s no reason not to celebrate Icelands decision as well 🙂
@Robert. NO doubt about that! Absolutely thrilling with Ireland, indeed 😉
Thank you for defending not only your work but also human rights.
The fact that NCD can’t read a simple contract doesn’t surprise me, since the first phrase of the sign states „No to discriminations“ and yet they discriminate homosexuals with the sign itself.
I hope some day we will allow gay marriage like Ireland… but I’m not very confident we can do it. There’s too many politicians in Italy simply can’t think to allow this kind of stuff, and unfortunately there’s a lot of people racists and omophobes. And it’s not only a right wing problem, believe me.
I assume they can’t read English (as like Italian, anyway) properly, but I fear they didn’t even try to read your terms at all. This is the kind of political class we have nowadays, down here.
Hello, I’m italian. Just a note: I’m sure that the NCD can’t read also italian statements, because the slogan written on it is contradictory: they say „no to discrimination“, that’s the opposite of the illustration, then „no to the surrogate mother“ (actually what does that have to do with discrimination?) and finally: „no gay marriage and no adoption for same sex families“ that absolutely conflicts with the image and the first statement…More likely, they know very well that confusing people works: This is the way italian right parties (NCD, Lega Nord, etc…) use to try to confuse italian voters…(that are confused enough without those f***g tricks…).
I wish you all the best and please, keep in mind that there are also a lot of open minded people down here… 🙂
Hi Robert. I’m one of the guys of Modena that took the photo to say no to gay discriminations. The news yesterday ‚exploded‘ in Modena and on social network. I’m glad that you’ll act in order to expose the mala fides of this NCD party. If you need more info or help, we will support you! Ciao!
Hello, I am Italian and want to thank you for your article and explanation. People who used your image wrongly must be ashame of themselves, beginning from their point of view which divides citizens in class A and class B. And from history we learn, this kind of ideolgy never brings to something good. I also want to thank you for the effort to write in English, even unfortunately they will probably not be able to read it as well as German. No comment. Well, please believe, many Italians are not like that, and we are struggling every day to change things here. We’ll arrive late, as always, but we’ll arrive (I hope) 🙂
Someone managed to give a proper answer to NCD:
I think you could add to your post a translation of what is written on the poster…
I find it fun, it shows how confuse these people are:
„Children are not for sale!
No to discriminations
No to surrogate motherhood
No to gay marriage and gay adoption“
All people should concern that there are gay people and not gay people in the world.
Both have the right to live and the right to say their opinion.
The picture of Robert is only a illustration, no real people are on it.
I don’t understand why this is such a problem.
Look at this guys, it’s epic!
I bet that they didn’t buy the image, and I am strongly convinced that they cut the hair of one of the two characters because they think that, changing the image, they didn’t violate the copyright.
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