Fonda fake furore

IN FEBRUARY the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday ran the picture below, apparently showing the young Senator John Kerry speaking at an anti-Vietnam-war rally alongside Jane Fonda, a member of the acting profession.

Jane Fonda *not* speaking on the same platform as John Kerry
Jane Fonda not speaking on the same platform as John Kerry; Kerry pic © Ken Light/Corbis and Fonda © Owen Franken/Corbis; used with permission

Close inspection reveals that this event took place in a remarkable location with two suns, one toward the top right and one the top left of the image. Or, rather, that it didn't take place: John Kerry was indeed in the photo with the trees and Jane Fonda was added later.

The first place the fake showed up appears to have been a Vietnam veterans' website, pursuing their three-decade-old ire against Fonda for having visited Hanoi during the war. Contrary to the claim in the caption, it's nothing to do with AP.

The Kerry pic was taken by Ken Light, and that of Fonda by Owen Franken, who now works in France. Both are distributed through the Corbis library. Corbis is considering legal action, and the photographers are currently waiting to see what it decides.

A Corbis spokesperson notes: "in Europe, photographers have strong legal protection regarding manipulation and its harm to the integrity of the work. In the US, these moral rights only attach themselves to limited edition numbered works." Action might be possible, they said, for unauthorised reproduction, removing copyright protection, or libel/slander under state law.

This is, as Ken told the Freelance, "an important issue": a blatant attempt to sway voters by portraying an event that never took place. The Freelance takes this as confirmation that all journalists, everywhere, need strong moral rights. In the UK we have none in work done "for the purpose of reporting current events" nor for magazines or newspapers.

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