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!