Catholic publication Alive threatened with legal action over misuse of image

An award-winning Canadian photographer is threatening legal action against the Irish Catholic publication Alive after it used her images without her permission and to promote sentiments with which she “could not disagree more”.

Dina Goldstein said copyrighted images from her ‘Fallen Princesses’ series of photographs were reproduced on the cover and within the pages of the newspaper’s June edition.

The series depicts humanised Disney princesses in modern-day situations and envisions how their lives would play out if touched by problems such as poverty, obesity, cancer, and pollution.

“No one from Alive contacted me to ask permission to reproduce these images,” said Ms Goldstein.

The alleged unauthorised use of her photographs is only part of the reason she is upset. The photographer also believes the freesheet’s linking of her work with the message that unhappiness and hopelessness follows when children are raised by faithless parents amounts to what she sees as a “direct violation” of her principles.

In Alive’s current issue, on the Editor’s Jottings page, an image from ‘Fallen Princesse’s is published in a piece entitled ‘Fairy tales come under attack’. In the piece, the writer concludes: “It is inevitable that people who lost sight of God would eventually turn against fairy tale endings, in the name of ‘realism’. Being the child of parents with no faith and no ultimate hope is tough.”

Ms Goldstein said: “My work was deliberately manipulated into forming a criticism about parents who do not promote religion within the household.”

Insisting that she “could not disagree more” with the views expressed in Alive as to the consequences of not promoting religion at home, Ms Goldstein said that the sentiments expressed in the article linked with her work are “seething with the classic Catholic guilt-trip” that she rejects.

Explaining that she has chosen to raise her children “with tradition and without religion”, she said: “It’s insulting as well as dishonest of them [Alive] to use my artwork in this way.”

“I phoned the Alive office, left my contact information, and a message stating that I had been made aware that my image was published on the cover without my permission,” she said. “I also hired an attorney to file a formal complaint, ask Alive to pulp what they have in their possession, issue an apology in the next issue, and pay punitive damages.”

Calls from the Irish Examiner to Alive inviting it to respond to Ms Goldstein’s comments were not immediately returned.

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