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USA Next admits photo was stolen for anti-gay anti-AARP ad

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From today's Portland Tribune:

Montini [USA Next's Web consultant] said his company apparently failed to obtain the rights to the picture. USA Next, which took out the ad, and The American Spectator, on whose Web site it ran, both said they thought rights had been properly obtained.
Translation: I didn't realize when I shoplifted the goods, and snuck them into my pocket, that in fact I hadn't paid for them yet.

More from the Portland Tribune:
Montini first said he believed someone on his staff had properly obtained rights to the photo. But in an e-mail Tuesday to the paper's photo department, Montini said: "It looks more and more like we did make a mistake and ran with the ad prior to getting your approval."

On Monday, after the flap over the photo had begun, Montini tested the newspaper's photo-sales policies and submitted an Internet request and payment to buy a similar but not identical photo for private use. Virginia Meyers, the Tribune photo assistant who monitors photo Web sales, called him to ask for what purpose he was using the photo. At that point, he said he was only checking to see how the paper?s policy worked, and Meyers refunded his money .

On Tuesday, after Montini had been told by Meyers by phone and via e-mail that the paper would not sell him the photo for use in an ad, he tried another tack. He sent $600 - the typical fee for such commercial use of a photo - through PayPal, the electronic money transfer system, in payment for using the photo. The money was quickly refunded in full via PayPal because the newspaper would not grant permission for an ad agency to use a photo in this way.
Translation: Monday afternoon we told CNN that we most definitely bought the picture from a reputable vendor, even though at the same time we were desperately and quietly looking in to HOW to buy the picture.

Now, from yesterday's Washington Post:
Buzz off, responds Charlie Jarvis, the group's CEO. "They ought to be suing all the left-wing blogs for circulating this [ad]. That's who they ought to be asking for an apology," he told us.

USA Next claims it purchased the photo from the Portland Tribune, which photographed the men at a public ceremony. But the newspaper told us yesterday it has no record of selling the photo to anyone.

Jarvis, a former Interior Department official in the Reagan and Bush I administrations, calls the men's protest "silly" and "a diversionary tactic."
Translation: Even though it's now Thursday, and my staff tried unsuccessfully to buy the photo days ago, I'm still telling the media that we ALREADY bought the photo legally.

Then this from today's Portland Tribune:
Jarvis, from USA Next, said he didn?t know the picture had been used without permission. He said the cost of photo rights is included in the fees USA Next pays to companies that produce its ads. He said he thought USA Next had properly paid for the right to use the Portland Tribune picture.

"That's stunning, absolutely stunning," Jarvis said. "I'm sorry that this happened. We hired this company to buy commercial rights for anything we use on our Web site. There will be beatings of a severe nature. In business terms that means fines and penalties. I'll have to go back to the group and find out what's going on."
Translation: I'm guilty as sin and not so cocky anymore. Oh yeah, and the couple has still not received any apology from Jarvis or USA Next.

For more background on the story:
- press release (As I've mentioned before, the couple and their attorney have hired me as their public relations guy to help with media, etc.)

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