French bill would force ads to disclose Photoshopped images

Valerie Boyer, a French member of parliament, wants to make it clear which advertisements have been digitally retouched.

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    Valerie Boyer, member of French parliament, has proposed a law that would require a disclaimer on any altered images in magazines and newspapers.
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Flipping through magazines it's sometimes difficult to tell whether or not an ad has been altered.

Now, Valerie Boyer, a French member of parliament, wants to make it clear which ads have been digitally retouched. Ms. Boyer has proposed a bill that would require a disclaimer at the bottom of altered images in newspapers or magazines.

The disclaimer, Boyer explained to the Telegraph, would read: "Retouched photograph aimed at changing a person's physical appearance."

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The proposed bill, which is backed by 50 members of parliament, seeks to combat negative body images and eating disorders.

Boyer, who previously backed a bill against websites that seemingly promoted bulimia and anorexia, said in a Telegraph article that she "want[s] to combat the stereotypical image that all women are young and slim.... [T]hese photos can lead people to believe in a reality that does not actually exist, have a detrimental effect on adolescents. Many young people, particularly girls, do not know the difference between the virtual and reality, and can develop complexes from a very young age."

In the future, Boyer says the proposed law may not only apply to magazine and newspaper advertisements, but eventually billboards, product packaging, and campaign and artistic images.

If the bill passes, advertisers who fail to comply with the law will face "a fine of 37,500 euros ($54,930), or up to 50 percent of the cost of the advertisement," Reuters reports.

Boyer stated that disclosing altered advertisements is "not just a question of public health, but also a way of protecting the consumer."

Altering photographs is nothing new. Two years ago, a magazine airbrushed President Nicholas Sarkozy's love handles. (Ironically, Boyer is a member of the same party as President Sarkozy.) This is just one instance of photoshopping a published image. For more altered advertisement examples, head over to the PhotoShop Disasters Blog.

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Should advertisers have to disclose whether or not their images have been altered? Leave us a comment below or tell us on Twitter. We're @csmhorizonsblog.

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