France’s New Laws To Safeguard the Health of Models inspire Getty Images

Starting from the 1st of October 2017 photos in France,  must bear a notification if they have been retouched to make models look thinner. If there have been changed the image must state “photographie retouchée” (or “retouched photograph”) and will count in all digitally modified images published within advertising, the media, on the internet and even in catalogues if the retouching “has changed the physical appearance of models,”.

Where the notice is required, the words “Photographie retouchée” must be visible in a way that is both easily to see and sufficiently differentiated from the message of the ad – in accordance with relevant professional best practice. The penalty for failing to include the term in the way described is a steep fine of up to 37,500 Euros (approx $44,000 or £33,000). In some cases, at the discretion of the judge, this figure could rise to up to 30% of the budget for the making of the ad.

This is part of an ongoing scheme in France to make the fashion industry safer and healthier for models. In May this year a new law was put in place requiring models in France to undergo a medical examination every 2 years they can then be issued with a medical certificate which certifies they reach the standards in things such as BMI set out.

France’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Marisol Touraine, said at the time: “Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behavior. The two texts published today in the Journal Officiel aim to act on body image in society, so as to avoid the promotion of beauty ideals that are inaccessible and to prevent anorexia in young people.”

This is not a new bill, it was first introduced 8 years ago and has been being discussed and altered until earlier this year when it finally got through.

Getty Images

This has already had an effect on the industry worldwide with Getty Images changing their own submission requirements to consider the law with the message:

Important Information on Retouched Images
Effective October 1, 2017 a new French law obliges clients who use commercial images in France to disclose whether the body shape of a model has been retouched to make them look thinner or larger.

As a result, also effective October 1st, we have amended our Creative Stills Submission Requirements to require that you do not submit to us any creative content depicting models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner or larger.

Please note that other changes made to models like a change of hair color, nose shape, retouching of skin or blemishes, etc., are outside the scope of this new law, and are therefore still acceptable.

Effective 1st October 2017, any content submitted where this type of retouching has been carried out will be a breach of our Submission Requirements and your Agreement with us.


Getty images | iStock 

Our Thoughts

It would be great to see this happening industry wide. Modelling is an industry which often requires unrealistic expectations of its models and it would also help to keep advertising and media honest, something which is important to ethical marketing. It’s great to see Getty making these changes which will stop them distributing images wihere the body shape of the women have been adjusted by Photoshop.


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