In 2015, France passed a law that will require some commercial images with a digitally retouched model to have a label notifying viewers about the alterations. That requirement will be effective starting October 1st, 2017, and Getty Images is preparing for that day with a policy change of its own.

Announced in an email that DPReview has acquired from a reader, Getty has updated its Creative Stills Submission Requirements to specify that it will no longer accept images of models whose bodies have been edited to look either thinner or larger.

The law doesn't extend to minor digital edits, such as fixing skin blemishes, altering hair color, or altering nose shape; however, edits that change a model's body shape require a disclosure. In response, Getty Images says that starting October 1st, photographers may not "submit to us any creative content depicting models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner or larger."

Submitting this type of altered image will result in the photographer breaching both submission guidelines and their agreement with the company, Getty warns. The same change applies to iStock submissions, as well.

Magazines and other entities in France that use these altered photos without proper disclosure face a fine of up to €37,500 (~$45,000 USD).


UPDATE: We asked Getty to clarify if this rule applies to the company as a whole, or just in France ("first question"), and what the company intends to do about photos altered in this way that are already in their catalog ("second question").

Here is Getty's response:

Thank you for your enquiry.

To your first question - As of October 1 this update to our submission requirements applies to all staff and contributing photographers submitting creative content for commercial use. It’s important to understand that our Editorial Integrity Policy [link] already prohibits this kind of manipulation of editorial content.

To your second question - It’s important to be clear that altering a model’s body shape as described by the new French law is quite rare in commercial stock photography (it is time consuming and is also against the increasing trend towards more authentic imagery) so is likely to affect only a small number of images in our collection. Regardless, we will be working with our customers to ensure that they can adhere to Article L2133-2 of the Public Health Code in France.