You’re looking for an image to illustrate your ad promoting child-care services and find a portrait of an adorable tot, obviously free for the taking because it’s on the Internet. What could wrong?
More than you could dream up in your worst nightmares, as promoters of the Montreux Jazz Festival have learned after misappropriating an image of a child who turned out to be the victim in one France’s most notorious murder cases of recent times.
The body of Gregory Villemin was discovered near his home in eastern France in 1984, after years of his parents receiving threatening anonymous phone calls. The killer was never conclusively identified, but nearly 30 years of investigation produced several prime suspects, many more theories and one grisly revenge killing.
And a colossal headache for the jazz festival organizers when they pulled an Agence France-Presse photo of Villemin off the Internet to adorn a flyer promoting nursery services at the festival, one of the world’s premier jazz events.
Festival organizers promptly pulled the publication and apologized for the screw-up, which they blamed on a “very young employee” who had never heard of the murder case. That may not be enough Villemin’s parents, however, who called the explanation “pitiful” in an interview with European news service The Local and said they may sue for damages over what they see as a crass and deliberate “stunt.”