For the Veteran

Various information for Veterans different government programs available to assist Veterans in starting a business. Veterans benefits programs. This is not a political blog but we will speak our minds about current treatment of Veterans returning from the Gulf.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Press release Copywrite violation and also a disgrace

News Release/ For Immediate Release
Contact: Irene Pinsonneault 508-636-9149



Photographer Shocks Hachette Filipaachi Medias--“No Deal”

[Westport Pt MA] There is no “deal” or “settlement” between Michael Yon and Hachette Filipacchi Medias (HFM) resolving the copyright infringement dispute that has dogged the launch of HFM’s gross-out magazine, SHOCK.

Yon, who took the iconic photograph of a soldier cradling an Iraqi child who’d been mortally wounded when a terrorist car bomb was driven deliberately into a crowd of children gathered around an Army patrol in Mosul last May, published a statement about the collapsed talks on his website, www.michaelyon-online.com on Friday:

“The manner in which this behemoth has conducted the negotiations raises questions about whether it ever intended to act honorably in the first place. It’s been a week of watching them bob and weave, spin the story to the media while obfuscating and stretching credulity in its dealings with me with claims such as it takes them two or more days to get an image taken off a website because “their IT department is in France.” As a result, I have ceased negotiations and am issuing a call to fellow writers, reporters, charter members of the blogosphere, and especially photographers who constantly suffer from unauthorized uses of their work, to help communicate our collective displeasure to HFM.”

When Hachette Filapacchi Medias, the French publishing conglomerate, announced the Memorial Day weekend launch of its gross-out magazine SHOCK, its Editor-in-Chief promised readers, “photographs they won’t see anywhere else.” But in what some industry observers are calling the “worst launch in modern times,” the magazine used one of the best known photographs taken in the Iraqi war for the cover. The publicity they got for this choice wasn’t exactly the welcome kind, because Michael Yon said no one from HFM had asked him for permission to use his photograph. Not that it would have done them any good to ask.

Yon, who became well-known for his blogging from Iraq, considers the famous photograph “the true portrait of our combat soldiers in Iraq” and the way it was used by HFM as “an insult, an offense and an outright lie.” As soon as he learned about the infringement, Yon instructed his attorney to demand that HFM pull the magazine from circulation. HFM responded with perfunctory finger pointing implicating Polaris Images, which in turn at first claimed they’d received permission to shop the image from the wife of the soldier depicted in it.

Bloggers familiar with Yon’s recent high profile successful battle with the US Army to defend his copyright of the image got wind of the dispute, and when several popular sites like BlackFive, Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, Captain’s Quarters, Little Green Footballs and others posted on it. Headlines such as, “When you steal from a MilBlogger ...you're going to get busted” stirred the blogosphere and the calls and emails ensued. That’s when HFM issued an insinuation about a defamation suit. An incensed Yon broke his lawyer-recommended silence and published a dispatch entitled “Dishonor” that exposed the tactic:
“That’s no misprint: they took my property, used it a vulgar way, further dishonored our military and our country by timing their inaugural launch to Memorial Day weekend, and then, when some patriotic bloggers dared to call them to complain about it, they threatened me. People who go into business deliberately seeking to offend and insult others should probably get used to complaints.”


Although both parties had apparently agreed in principle on a settlement that would have resolved the dispute, Yon’s latest posting, “Actions Speak Louder” details how HFM began violating the spirit and letter of the proposed settlement before he had even had a chance to sign any document. Furthermore, the attorneys had not finalized all of the terms of the settlement and were still in negotiation over critical points when a major sticking point arose for Yon in HFM’s attempt to spin the outcome to make it appear that he was promoting the magazine. “That’s like saying that because I didn’t walk out on a lousy concert, I gave it a standing ovation. SHOCK is a piece of trash in my opinion and anyone who buys it is paying a foreign company to insult our military.”

To Yon, it all boils down to the growing gulf between the ponderous dinosaurs of media mega-weights who are out of touch with the changing tastes of increasingly critical consumers who are flocking to alternative avenues on the Internet to get their news and information. “It would be hard to imagine a conglomerate more out of step with the American people than HFM,” Yon says, citing his experiences dealing with a company he claims “talks a good game but walks all over artists’ rights and is disdainful of consumers.”

What else but a “disconnect of major proportions,” Yon asks, could explain the business decision to time the launch of a magazine whose cover story attempts to discredit American soldiers with the Memorial Day weekend holiday where those same soldiers are honored coast to coast?
Or HFM’s tone-deaf response to waves of email and phone call protests from the blogosphere, which amounted to a threat to sue Yon for “defamation?” Or the way they spun Yon’s terse and precise statement of the settlement to sound as if he was somehow now promoting a magazine he repeatedly describes as, “the only thing shocking is its lameness, and the only thing it proves is how low a French mega-media publishing conglomerate, Hachette Filipacchi, will stoop in order to squeeze two bucks out of its sneering mockery of others ......”

Since the story first broke, apparently almost 1,000 blogs have linked postings on the topic encouraging their visitors to “communicate” with decision makers at points along the publication’s life span. On Friday, Yon provided a new “Make Yourself Heard” page on his popular website with contact information for distributors, publishers and the editors of all the HFM magazines marketed in the US. It also contains contact information for JVC, the largest advertiser in SHOCK magazine. Postings on Yon’s site include bloggers and readers in Germany, Finland, Canada, Australia, the UK and Italy, along with 5 of the top 100 most heavily trafficked blogs on the internet. Interviews on major pro-military and conservative radio programs are planned all weekend and throughout the coming weeks, with podcasts distributed worldwide.

Already, Yon’s international fan base is engaged, translating materials into a variety of languages to enable people in the 41 countries that HFM sells magazines to voice their solidarity. “HFM clearly does not ‘get’ that this is not about money,” Yon says. “It’s about integrity and respecting artists and consumers, it’s about aligning actions with principles, and it’s about treating people with respect, no matter how ‘big’ your company is. HFM doesn’t seem to realize that no one needs to read Shock, or Elle, or Car and Driver, or any one of the magazines HFM sells.” Yon’s call to his colleagues is intended to communicate to HFM how displeased people are about the use of the image, especially to promote an anti-military agenda, and to voice it in a loud enough manner so it will be impossible to miss.

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