In something of a detour from my recent barrage of posts in which I have fun tearing Fifty Shades of Grey a new one, I'm writing a post about Youth Defence. I previously wrote about them and their offensive, obnoxious billboard campaign on Beaut.ie, a post which inspired my friend, V For Vendetta, to do a bit of sleuthing and inform me of a discovery he had made.
The girl in their billboards whose life is supposedly being "torn apart" is from iStockphoto, which you might say is all well and good, until you have a look at their terms and conditions. Namely, their Content License Agreement and the list of prohibited uses.
One of which is as follows:
use or display any Content that features a model or person in a manner
(a) that would lead a reasonable person to think that such person uses
or personally endorses any business, product, service, cause,
association or other endeavour; or (b) except where accompanied by a
statement that indicates that the Content is being used for illustrative
purposes only and any person depicted in the Content is a model, that
depicts such person in a potentially sensitive subject matter,
including, but not limited to mental and physical health issues, social
issues, sexual or implied sexual activity or preferences, substance
abuse, crime, physical or mental abuse or ailments, or any other subject
matter that would be reasonably likely to be offensive or unflattering
to any person reflected in the Content, unless the Content itself
clearly and undisputedly reflects the model or person in such
potentially sensitive subject matter in which case the Content may be
used or displayed in a manner that portrays the model or person in the
same context and to the same degree depicted in the Content itself
I don't know about you, but I certainly don't see a disclaimer anywhere on that billboard.
So V For Vendetta contacted the photographer to let him know that his work was being used in a way that violated iStockphoto's terms and conditions, as well as the rights of his model. The photographer replied, thanking him and agreed that his work should not be used in this manner, also saying that he would get in touch with iStockphoto to see what they could do about the situation.
This news in turn inspired the Bear and I to get all Jessica Fletcher on the other two ads being paraded around the city. So here's what we found.
Well hello you! Yet another iStock image, also violating the site's terms and conditions. There was no contact information for the photographer in this case, so I contacted iStock directly to let them know and got this reply:
Thank you for contacting us.
Please know that we take the rights of our contributors and their models very seriously. We are aware of this situation and are currently working on it. We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to send this our way.
It was signed off by a woman from a department called "Compliance Enforcement", which I LOVE the sound of. In my head she goes around kicking doors down and shouting "COMPLY OR DIE, BITCHES!" at nefarious types. Anyway, this leaves the third and final ad. And guess what? We found that photo too!
In this case, the photo in question is the work of an award-winning Swedish photographer and scientist called Lennart Nilsson. Here's an interesting fact about his work that appears on his Wikipedia page:
Although claiming to show the living fetus, Nilsson actually
photographed aborted material obtained from women who terminated their
pregnancies under Swedish law. Working with dead embryos allowed Nilsson
to experiment with lighting, background and positions, such as placing
the thumb into the fetus’ mouth. But the origin of the pictures was
rarely mentioned, even by 'pro-life' activists, who in the 1970s
appropriated these icons.
It doesn't necessarily mean that the photo above is from a terminated pregnancy, but in fairness, it makes it a pretty strong possibility. We got in touch with the Scandanavian photo agency that handles the rights and sale of Nilsson's work, with a link to the above ad using his photo and here's the reply we got:
Thank you very much for sharing this information with us
I look into this and will contact the company because we have not made this sales.
Of course, we haven't heard anything since, as it's between the photo agencies and Youth Defence now. At the very least, I imagine that YD are going to get landed with a massive bill for this, and the Nilsson photo in particular, as I somehow doubt that the work of a world famous photographer comes cheap. I know that they're a ridiculously well funded group, what with their connections to big anti-choice entities in the US, but the fact that we might have managed to cost them a chunk of their money while they peddle misinformation and lies makes me very happy indeed.