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Taking stock of Stand4MarriageMaine

by Jeremy Hooper

You may have seen this photo running on Stand4MarraigeMaine's anti-equality website:

Picture 2-259

This smiling family of four has quickly become the face of Maine's attempt to rollback civil freedoms for gay couples. It's not these four individual's fault, of course, as this image is simply a stock photo that the marriage opponents purchased from But like it or not, these two adults and two minors are being used to represent one side in a major social debate.

So we got to wondering: By using this photo in this way, is Stand4MarriageMaine in violation of their contract with istockphoto? Does this implied endorsement of a social issue go beyond the terms of their deal with the stock photo provider? And in fact, does this usage by the "protect children"/"protect marriage" crowd actually do the exact opposite when it comes to protecting the reputations of the models?

The answer to those questions: Well, maybe. Here, check out this snippet from istockphoto's content license agreement:

Picture 5-217

It's certainly a social issue/cause. It's certainly sensitive. To a fairness-minded gay allied, this implied endorsement could certainly be seen as offensive violation of their reputations. But is it a contractual violation?

We've contacted both the photographer and istockphoto about this. We'll let you know if in addition to civil rights, gay acceptance, and peace, S4MarriageMaine is also violating the terms of acceptable photo usage.

**ALSO: NOM uses several istockphoto images for their anti-equality social causes. We're looking into that as well.

**UPDATE: A little birdie tells us that the photo will be removed by the end of the week.

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Your thoughts

Brilliant move! I can't wait to see how this turns out!

Posted by: Bryan | Jul 30, 2009 10:05:37 AM

Excellent fun. Can't wait for the fireworks.

Posted by: Derek North | Jul 30, 2009 10:47:50 AM

It would be really funny (in a karmic sort of way) to engage the models from that photo for our ad campaign. And, they could refute the usage of their images by the lying liars. Of course, that presupposes that the models aren't raging homophobes themselves.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jul 30, 2009 12:49:00 PM

You go get em boy. Hopefully suite will follow - break their bank.

Posted by: Don | Jul 30, 2009 12:55:22 PM

For those who haven't seen the update: I am told that the image will be removed by the end of the week.

Now on to all the others that NOM uses...

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 30, 2009 12:57:44 PM

I'm a photographer, and I would be LIVID if this had happened to one of my photos . . .I'd have some major 'splainin to do to the models. . .This ain't no orange juice ad.

Posted by: Jon | Jul 30, 2009 12:57:54 PM

Good work, JH! If those lying liars have to use Polaroids that they take themselves of their own simpleminded supporters, then.. well, lets just say that probably won't be so pretty!

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jul 30, 2009 1:07:55 PM

These people have no qualms misrepresenting any fact or misusing any image. The Yes on 8 campaign continued to use video of minor school children from SF in their anti-equality ads - even after the parents demanded that they stop.

Posted by: WilliamM | Jul 30, 2009 2:25:26 PM

This is a copyright and terms of use/contractual issue which NOM continues to abuse.

The IStockphoto license is administrated in Canada, so international copyright laws also apply.

Posted by: Jon | Jul 30, 2009 3:07:05 PM

Any chance of contacting the subjects through the photographer, and seeing if they would make a statement supporting marriage equality in Maine? It would make a great story.

Posted by: echoecho | Jul 30, 2009 3:59:37 PM

Something similar happened with the BNP's anti-immigration screed. The models were actually Italian, and were horrified to see their faces on racist leaflets.


Posted by: Timothy (TRiG) | Jul 31, 2009 10:14:26 AM

The hatemongering homophobic, license violating, lying liars still haven't ceased using the offending photo. I guess the end of one of god's seven day weeks might not always coincide with the end of an actual week.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Aug 2, 2009 8:14:34 PM

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