This entry was posted on
Thursday, May 14th, 2009 at
7:42 am and is filed
[I wrote this last night and found out this morning I was scooped by Newspeak who also confirm stock status of the doctor and the soldier. Forgot all about the excellent Tineye. Oh well. Here we go anyway…]
The night before last on Twitter I linked to a few images from istockphoto.com that the BNP had helped themselves to without permission (watermarks and all) to make campaign material. The relevant Flickr account has since been removed for reasons unknown (spotter: Jim Barker).
I am yet to confirm if all of the images involved have been used without permission (I’m still
stalking chasing people), but in the meantime I have just seen a scan of one of their pamphlets (from a reported pamphlet run of 29 million) and know enough to ask;
1. Are the BNP really so short of genuine supporters that they have to use stock images?
2. What am I to make of this?
The mature couple are a top search result for ‘retirement’ at istockphoto.com, which appears logical given the text the picture needs to match, but the mother and daughter image took some finding; they didn’t turn up in the first few pages for anything I looked for until I remembered what I was dealing with. This image turned up in the top row on the front page for… ‘white mother’. Bingo.
(Psst! BNP peeps! Next time, take a tip from Conservative MP Anne Milton and use members from your campaign team to pose as ordinary work-a-day voters. This only leads to trouble if you’re running in a constituency with an obsessive in it. And by ‘obsessive’ I mean someone who doesn’t appreciate being push-polled and then lied to about it. Anyway, while I’ve got your attention, I love the reassuring ‘data protection secure’ logo in the bottom right-hand corner. Still stings, does it?)
UPDATE (15 May) – After some discussion and a day of
stalking chasing, I can now confirm that some of these images have been paid for, however, I have also been informed by iStockphoto that this use of these images (i.e. assigning a political opinion to the models, imposing on them an endorsement they have not made and few would wish to be associated with) is NOT permitted under the terms of the licence. It is also quite likely that use of a model’s image in this way amounts to an offence under the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002.
Here’s an extract from the Parties, Candidates and Agents Guidance book:
3.29 Candidates may wish to use canvassers to help with the election campaign. It is, however, illegal to employ paid canvassers for the purpose of promoting or procuring a particular result at an election before, during or after the election…
3.30 The legislation describes canvassing as: … by word, message, writing or in any other manner, endeavour to persuade any person to give or dissuade any person from giving, his vote, whether as an elector or proxy
(Psst! Long-time readers of Bloggerheads may be interested to know that paid agents of any party who are sock-puppeting for or against any party or candidate may also be guilty of an offence under the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002, as this too appears to qualify as paid canvassing.)
UPDATE (16 May) – A company spokesperson for iStockphoto has issued the following statement (much earlier than today, I should note; the email granting me permission to publish it bounced during a server outage):
“In regards to the use of imagery in conjunction with testimonials, this certainly falls outside of our license terms as users are not permitted to impose these endorsements onto models featured in our artists’ content. In response to BNP’s use of iStock content in conjunction with testimonials, we shall be contacting them to clarify and address the matter.”
So, to make that absolutely clear, even if money did change hands over these images, the BNP did not and do not have permission to use these images in this way… so please speak up if you are aware that they are still distributing unaltered pamphlets like this or this without, for example, obscuring these faces with little white stickers.
Oh, and a big ‘thank you’ goes out to the good people at the Telegraph, who have picked up the story and given a platform to some of the victims. If someone slapped my face next to a positive testmonial in a BNP pamphlet, I’d be more than a little peeved myself.
[Psst! Don’t forget to scan and upload all of the electoral pamphlets you get to thestraightchoice.org, folks.]
UPDATE (20 May) – The ‘British jobs for British workers’ builders are from Oregon, in the US. The soldier exploited by the BNP had the temerity to call the BNP and complain… they told him to “f**k off”. The family picture on the front is genuine; the only genuine picture in most if not all versions of this pamphlet, in fact. The picture is of candidate Nick Cass and his family (this article also points out that; “the BNP’s chief designer is one Mark Collett of Leeds, a man widely derided in the BNP as incompetent”).
IMPORTANT – All of the victims of the BNP’s creative approach to campaign material have now been identified and notified. There is no need for you to re-notify them, as much as the thought/effort is appreciated.