Christie is like all mothers; she loves her daughter and wants to protect her. She often writes about her daughter on a blog, but never uses her daughter’s name because she wants to protect her daughter’s identity. She also rarely posts photos of her. But once was enough for a photo to be stolen.

Her daughter has Down’s Syndrome. (you can read more about Down’s Syndrome here). Her photo was stolen and put on a different website. This website was for ‘stock photos’ where anyone can download the image for free.

This photo of Christie’s daughter was then used in an advertising campaign without Christie’s knowledge.

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The advertising campaign was for a prenatal test (a test that pregnant women can have to find out more about their baby before it is born). This test can see if your baby has Down’s Syndrome, like Christie’s daughter.

In Spain, where this advertising campaign appeared, 90-95% of parents who use this prenatal test and discover that their child has Down’s Syndrome terminate the pregnancy.

Christie says she was “heart-broken” when she found out her daughter’s photo was used to sell this product; a product that leads to the death of 90-95% of fetuses that have Down’s Syndrome.

The company responsible for the advertising campaign, Genoma, have removed the image and Christie is consulting a lawyer.

Genoma not only broke copyright laws by stealing the photo and using it without Christie’s permission, but it is also possible that they broke “moral law”. This means that they used the stolen photo in a derogatory or degrading way.

You can find out more about this story here on  Christie’s Blog 


Note from the author: This story serves as a cautionary tale for all of us. Our photos are never 100% safe online. Next time you upload a photo to a website or social media, remember how easy it is for these photos to be stolen. And remember that not everyone who steals your photo will use it in a good way. Please, everyone, be careful.


Vocabulary:

  • rarely (adv)- not very often,
  • prenatal (adj)– before birth,
  • to terminate (a pregnancy) (v)– to end, to stop the child being born,
  • heart-broken (adj) – extremely sad,
  • fetus (n) – a baby before it is born, a baby inside the mother
  • a cautionary tale (adj+n)– a story that gives you a warning,
  • to consult (a lawyer) (v)- to talk to and ask questions,
  • derogatory (adj)– not showing respect,
  • degrading (adj)– making something look worse than it is