Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Paparazi

As I've written before, a few weeks ago, our family went to Hua Hinn with five other families with whom we've become good friends.  One of the moms who was part of our group is actually very well known in Thailand.  Tik does a lot of PR work, and has appeared in many magazines and on TV.  She is definitely part of Thai's high society.  

When we were on the beach, I was taking photos of the kids and adults.  Tik posed for a number of photos with other people from our group.  She was wearing a bikini on the beach, and was a bit concerned that someone might see it an think it was inappropriate.  Tik asked me not to post the photos on Facebook, and while I teased her about it, easily agreed not to post them.  

When we returned home, I posted a lot of the photos from my trip.  I didn't upload any of the ones where you could see her in the bikini.  The next day, Tik told me that I could post the photos of her, but asked that I not tag them with her name so that only our mutual friends could see them.  I got the impression that Tik not only didn't mind that I posted them, but that she actually wanted me to do so.  

I posted the photos, and Tik and a number of our friends commented on the photos.  In one shot, our friend Jack was standing in between Tik and our friend Joy.  Apparently a reporter who knows Tik saw the photo.  He cropped Joy out of the photo, so it looked like Jack and Tik were alone together on the beach.  He posted it on his FB account and called her to ask about it.  A number of other Thai magazines called her asking her about the photo.  Tik explained to them that she was on a family vacation with friends and that the photo had been cropped and asked them not to publish it.  She called me and asked me to take the photos down, which I did.

I'm not sure about the law in Thailand, but in the U.S., the magazines would have no right to use the image unless I gave it to them.  The copyright lies with the photographer, not with the subject.  If they had published it, what I did would have depended on my friend.  If she was okay with it, I might have let it go.  Maybe I would have contacted the newspapers and attempted to get money from it.  If they published it against her wishes, maybe I would have helped her sue them.  

Who would have thought that such a simple photo would end up being a big deal. 

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