L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

02 June 2006 Blog Home : June 2006 : Permalink

Copyright for me but not for thee

Important Update: This is still an issue according to Michael Yon

False Update: HFM have settled with Michael Yon - see this post of mine and this by Mr Yon where he states that he is satisfied that "Hachette Filipacchi Media believed they were acting in good faith when procuring the publishing rights from Polaris to use my photograph in SHOCK magazine"

Olive tree from HachetteAccording to their website the publisher of the magazine Shock (HFM U.S.) is a subsidiary of Hachette Filipacchi Médias S.A and

Hachette Filipacchi Médias S.A. (HFM), based in France and a subsidiary of Lagardère SCA, (www.lagardere.com) is the world's largest magazine publisher present in 39 countries. [...] In the United States, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Inc. (wholly owned) is one of the largest magazine publishers. [...]

Groupe Hachette Filipacchi Photos (GHFP) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hachette Filipacchi Medias and houses the Group's acquisitions in the field of photography, a core business for magazine publishers.  A new head office was created in early 2005, joining French teams of Hachette Photos Presse (Gamma), Hachette Photos Illustration (Hoa-Qui), Rapho and Keystone, while the www.hachettephotos.com portal now presents the Group's complete offer online.  Over one million digital images of current events, high-profile personalities, news reportage and celebrity portraits are available to the Group's press, publishing, corporate and advertising clients.

Yet despite the fact that the publisher's of "Shock" also own a photo agency and seem keen to express copyright and grant permission for repdroduction on the photos they show online, the magazine shock seems to believe that it can republish whatever image it happens to find on the internet without requesting permission or paying the photographer and copyright holder for the use of the image.

The circumstances captured in that image, including the key fact that I had taken the photograph, were easily ascertainable. In fact, I don’t know how any professional photo agency or magazine could reasonably claim to not know that it was my photograph, that it was taken immediately after an insurgent car bomber attacked the children, and that I had just emerged from a protracted dispute with the Army in order to protect the copyright. The reason I assert that the team behind SHOCK knew all this and still acted with clear intent is found on the inside cover of the issue.

There, along with the Table of Contents, is a photograph of me, holding a framed copy of the photograph in question. That photograph was taken to accompany an article by Mitch Stacey for the Associated Press. The caption reads:

Picture This: Amateur photographer Michael Yon captured history when he snagged our cover shot while reporting on the war for his blog. Could you be our next cover photographer? Send pics!

In this case the photographer, Michael Yon, is understandably pissed and suing the publisher for what looks like blatent intentional copyright infringement, yet it seems the owners of Shock, rather than do the decent thing prefer to sue him for "defamation" a rather odd concept since their abuse of his image would seem to be defaming him, his subject and his views.

HFM [...] intimated in writing that they may have a claim against me for defamation based on the complaints they received from third parties about their unauthorized use of my photo. My attorney, John Mason, began taking the necessary legal steps in this fight, and for the first few days of the dispute, I remained silent apart from the one statement published on my website, out of respect for the process of law.

I have no connection with Michael Yon what so ever - I may have donated to his paypal fund once but I regret to say I have probably been to cheap to so do - so anything I say has nothing whatever to do with Mr Yon. However going on the description above (and more detail in the full posts at Mr Yon's blog) and coverage at numerous blogs etc. I have no hesitation in describing HFM as a bunch of hypocrital scumbags who seem to think they can get away with bullying the small guy.  Their behaviour seems ot me to be well illustrated by the series of photos that comes up first when you search hachette photos for "thief".

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin