Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Patients beware: Photographers can Misuse your photo!

Innocent mother child suffer, while the photographer and ad agency laugh their way to the Bank!
Photograph of a mother and child from a video grab of a Pulse Polio program, sold to a photobanking agency...The agency sells the photo to an Ad agency, which uses the photo in a AIDS campaign!
Chennai, Aug. 4: A woman has sought damages of Rs 1 crore from the Tamil Nadu States AIDS Control Society which used her picture with her daughter in an AIDS poster allegedly without her permission.
The life of Kripa, 25, and her four-year-old daughter Akila (both names changed) turned topsy-turvy once the advertisement appeared in the form of posters, banners and hoardings with the slogan “Nambikkai Mayiathirkku Nandri” (Thanks to the AIDS counselling centres) around three months ago. They were meant to urge people to step into the state-run centres to test for HIV/AIDS.
The housewife has sought the Rs 1 crore for the mental agony caused to her family.
“I was shocked when neighbours told me that our photograph has been displayed in the government hospital near my house in Triplicane (an area in central Chennai). Within a few hours, a relative came to say that she had seen the poster at Egmore. Everyone suspected we had AIDS since our photo was used for an AIDS campaign,” Kripa claimed in her petition filed in Madras High Court seeking damages and a public apology from the society.
The court has issued a notice to the society and the matter will come up for hearing tomorrow.
Tamil Nadu health secretary V.K. Subbaraj said the ad agency which had been given the job for the campaign may be at fault, but added that he had ordered an inquiry into whether the woman’s consent was taken for using her and her child’s images. “Beyond that I can’t comment as the matter is before the court,” Subbaraj said.
Kripa said even her husband suspected she had gone to the counselling centre along with her child for taking the HIV/AIDS test. “It took a lot of pleading and convincing for her to make her husband overcome his suspicion,” said Kripa’s lawyer, G. Mohanakrishnan.
In her petition, Kripa said her neighbours started shunning her and kept their children away from her daughter. “I could not even admit my daughter in a school,” she said.
Her family, Kripa claimed, became social outcasts. She wanted the AIDS agency to remove the images from its campaign immediately, since they had taken them without her permission.
Mohanakrishnan said Kripa was first clueless as to when and where the photograph had been taken. “On repeated queries, she recalled that a foreign agency had taken a video of patients waiting in line at the Government Hospital for Women and Children at Triplicane. Our guess is the photo was taken from a frozen frame of that video,” he told The Telegraph.

1. Ask any photographer to take your permission prior to photography
2. Ensure that your photograph would not be misused for financial gains
3. Protest if someone photographs/ videographs you without permission

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