Music: Your face here (whether you like it or not)
Want to appear on a hit album? Perhaps not if it's the result of your baby portrait or candid party snap being sold to a band. Gillian Orr profiles the reluctant cover stars
You might not know the name David Fox but if you were a music fan in the mid-Nineties, you'll almost certainly be familiar with his face. As a 12-year-old, Fox appeared on the cover of Placebo's 1996 best-selling debut album, swamped in an oversized red jumper, pulling a cheeky face.
Now a 28-year-old unemployed chef, Fox is threatening to sue the band for damages, claiming the picture ruined his life and was used without his consent. Fox's cousin was a professional photographer who took his picture when visiting the family. A month later he called, telling Fox that he was going to be on the cover of a rock album. The relentless bullying from classmates that followed, Fox says, knocked his life off track and was one of the reasons he dropped out of his GCSEs.
So where does the law stand? "The copyright in an image will be vested in the photographer, not the subject, and the record label is likely to have obtained a licence," says Keith Ashby, the head of dispute resolution at Sheridans, a leading media-law firm. "If the subject posed for the image and realised that the photograph was being taken, then it's going to be difficult for the subject to assert privacy rights in relation to the image, although the law does provide greater protection for children." There is a rich history of unwitting album cover stars, propelled to fame via a record sleeve, their faces looking down from billboards and peering up from shop shelves. In 2010 Kirsten Kennis sued Vampire Weekend after a photograph of her taken in 1983 was used as the artwork for their album Contra, which she claims wasn't taken by the photographer who sold the image to the band. She was not aware that her image was being used until her teenage daughter brought the album home. A similar case occurred in 2005 when Frank Torres, featured on the cover of Matchbox 20's Yourself or Someone Like You, sued the band for using his image without consent.
But not everyone minds gracing an album cover. Spencer Elden, who's now 21, is still introduced as "the Nirvana baby", having appeared on the cover of the band's 1991 breakthrough Nevermind as a three-month-old baby. He recently recreated the famous image (albeit this time with swimming trunks on). Similarly, Keithroy Yearwood, a student, was thrilled he was the baby on Ready to Die, Notorious B.I.G.'s debut album; he had often bragged about it but few believed him.
Even the subject of one of the most controversial covers, Blind Faith's eponymous album, has shrugged it off. Many were outraged when 11-year-old Mariora Goschen was photographed topless, clasping a model aeroplane. "At the time it was a nuisance, being recognised in the street," she told this paper in 1994. "But now, when people tell me they can remember what they were doing when they first saw the cover, and the effect it had on them, I'm thrilled to bits."
So parents beware of handing over your child to a photographer friend for a few casual shots. You never know where they might end up – or how they will react to joining the ranks of the accidental album cover star.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Paris charity auction staged to save the ancient city of Tyre
scienceScientists find the answer to a question that even puzzled Darwin
A very timely Great Train Robbery and a frantic 24 Hours in A&E among the highlights
Geoffrey Macnab: The Wolf of Wall Street's account of white-collar excess is A Rake’s Progress on steroids
arts + entsThe 'Friends' actor on his new role as campaigner on addiction issues
Arts & Ents blogs
Brian Griffin returns: Cartoon dog back from the dead in Family Guy Christmas episode
Matthew Perry: He'll be there for you
Nymphomaniac, film review: 'Despite the surreal sex scenes this is a serious drama'
FAT’s all folks: Architecture’s biggest jokers sign off in style
The Wolf of Wall Street, film review: 'A lurid, profanity bespattered movie'
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 Facebook 'self-censorship': study records when you don't post to find more ways to share
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 ‘Why we don't have snow in Saudi Arabia’: Video captures winter fun as Middle East hit with rare blizzard
- 4 Vitamin pills are a waste of money, offer no health benefits and could be harmful - study
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >