My face was used for gravestone!

American visitor discovered photo was being used in France to advertise holograph grave markers

30 October 2014

AMERICAN visitor Hélène Crié-Wiesner was horrified as she walked past a funeral parlour in Paris ... and came face-to-face with herself, complete with a death notice and her photo used as a 3D, holographic-style image in a plexiglass grave marker.

Hélène, a freelance journalist, had been out walking with a friend when they spotted the image engraved in the transparent cube in the parlour window and discovered a company was using it to advertise its services – and it was being displayed in many funeral parlours across France.

The photo was part of the title piece for her blog on the French news website Rue 89 where she looked at environmental issues – and the company had just lifted it without checking if it could use it or whether it was in copyright.

The funeral parlour quickly agreed to take the plastic holograph out of the window and told her that it was being marketed by a Lorraine company, BLM Distribution.

Despite several calls, Hélène could not get hold of them but one of the bosses left a message on her answer phone:

“Very sorry, we looked on the internet for a photo with a kind, genuine face, without knowing if the photo was free of copyright. We just supposed it would be. We had no intention of hurting you. We have been using the photo for a year a half... we are going to go into administration.”

Hélène decided it was not worth suing the company, especially if it was already in trouble, but just as she was about to write about her experiences for the Rue 89 blog she discovered that the company had not shut down at all.

In fact, it has recently publicised a new “internet based” grave memorial... with a digicode that can be scanned and read by a smartphone.

Despite this, Hélène said on her blog that it was not worth suing them – but she added that although her published words had often been stolen without crediting her it was not the same “psychological shock of seeing your face in a funeral parlour”.

Read Hélène’s blog here on blogs.rue89

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