A photo of 4 year old murder victim Grégory Villemin appeared in newspapers and online ads for the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland to promote their free nursery service during the festival.
The image, pulled off Google, is a notorious case that, almost three decades later, remains unsolved. According to the organizers of the festival, a young graphic designer, who had not heard about the case, “searched the Internet for children photos. He had no idea what he was doing.”
Grégory’s parents, Christine and Jean-Marie Villemin, said they would take legal action against the festival.
All a Publicity Stunt?
The Villehim’s are accusing the festival promoters as using their son’s photo as a publicity stunt and are now suing for damages. The image was pulled down from the online ad, but the print ads had already circulated.
I’m speculating, but I think some young graphic designer is most likely out of a job in Switzerland and I am sure he has learned a valuable lesson about pulling images off of Google and using an image without permission. I’ll be the first to admit that using an image off Google is pretty simple and people think it’s harmless. And for the most part, pulling an image off of the internet and using it won’t cause million dollar lawsuits or grief for a family that lost a child, but how ethical is taking an image that is not yours and using it without permission for your purpose?
SLR Lounge recently published an article about stealing images and why it is a poor business practice. Read it HERE. And there are numerous articles about photographer’s getting caught stealing other people’s work (such as this one where social media helped in shutting down a culprit’s business). Now there’s even a website devoted to calling out “Photo Stealers.”
Bottom line, using someone’s work without their permission is not a good idea in any instance, even if you don’t get caught or get outted internationally causing inadvertent suffering to those uninvolved.
A Unsolved Murder Full Of Plot Twists
At least 7 books have been written about the “Affaire de Grégory,” a story which has gripped the French public for 29 years. In October 1984, the body of Grégory Villemin was found bound in the Vologne River close to the family’s home after his parents received a chilling phone call from an unknown source stating, “I have taken the boy.” This after years of anonymous threatening phone calls made to the family. A day after the body was found, the Villemin’s received an anonymous letter: “I hope you die of grief, boss. Your money can’t give you back your son. Here is my revenge, you stupid bastard.” Handwriting analysis and DNA tests on the letter and stamp were inconclusive, but Jean-Marie’s cousin, Bernard Laroche was the main suspect until the accuser recanted and a judge freed him. That same day, Jean-Marie vowed that he would kill his cousin, which he did the following month. Jean-Marie was sentenced to 5 years in prison for the shooting.
Suspicion also fell on Mrs. Villehim, for being seen at the post office the day of Grégory’s murder and ties identical to the ones used to bind him were found in her basement, but a judge issued a rare order forbidding her prosecution. Numerous DNA tests over the years have all come back inconclusive.
Via Daily Mail UK