Privacy seems to be a thing of the past, as anyone who participates in social media will agree. If you post a picture of yourself on the Internet, it's there forever. Imagine, however, that one day you're walking down the street and you see a picture of your own body printed on a grown-person-sized pillow that someone else is carrying.
This might sound like a ridiculous situation, but for a group of cosplayers, that bizarre scenario actually happened.
A company called 2imagesolutions was selling body pillows and other products with images of cosplayers taken at various conventions and events. According to Dustin Dorough, one of the people featured on a pillow, he “met the ‘photographer’ at Dragon*Con 2012 and he took 12 photos of me on a turntable for the sake of making a rotating gif image. He asked me to sign a model release so that he could post the image on his website. I actually did read over the release before signing and saw nothing in there that seemed as though it could be used on a product...”
Dustin Dorough with himself.
Another issue is that there are images on the front and back of the pillows. Marie Grey, a woman featured on a pillow, was not only upset that her image was used without her explicit permission.
Not only does she have to “deal with the idea of having my image all over pillows, but now I have to deal with the fact that my rear end is on every single one of them," Maria says. "As if cosplayers don’t already have to deal with being over-sexualized, now this vendor is promoting that idea and the people running [comic convention] AnimeNEXT are condoning that activity."
After facing major backlash, the company decided to stop selling these products to the public without explicit permission from those featured in the images.
Do you think that this was a violation of privacy and/or the law? Though the people featured in the images signed a release for their images to be posted on the website, they never gave explicit consent for it to be mass distributed on products. And let's be real - there are definite sexual undertones to these full-sized body pillows. Overtones, in a lot of cases. Ick.
This seems pretty unethical and sleazy, and the legality of it seems questionable. People need consent before they can cuddle. What's your take on it? Let us know in the comments.