Sunday, June 7, 2009

Doing business on bodies of others

With 15,000 dong, anybody can download sexy pictures of celebrities onto their hand phones. The selling of sexy pictures for mobile phones has become a business, and business is good.

Advertisements for picture download services in local newspapers.

When they post their own sexy photos on their blogs, perhaps many girls don’t think that their pictures might be used for commercial purposes one day and spread widely. Perhaps actresses also don’t think that their photos could easily become the means of entertainment and money-making of others, who both spite the law and business morals.

“Cool” service

“Music must be blaze-up, photos must be hot like this,” “Burning scenes by…,” “The whole collection of sexy pictures of…” are advertisements for music and picture download services for mobile phones.

Going with these small ads are pictures of famous Vietnamese and foreign actresses and models like Hong Kong actress Liu Yi Fei, South Korean pop star BoA, Vietnamese model Tang Thanh Ha and hot girl Thuy Top.

These ads cover many advertising pages of big and small newspapers, most popularly in magazines for students like Hoa Hoc Tro and Muc Tim.

These invitations aim to make mobile subscribers send messages to ask for the pictures and pay fees to service providers. Visiting websites introduced in these ads, one can see that the pictures are really hot, even more than the advertisements, with the presence of sex models from Japan and Thailand.

Experts say that the golden age for paging, ringtone and picture download services for cell phones has passed as modern handphones can be connected to computers. Software products that enable users to create their own ringtones and background pictures are also available.

In addition, the boom of service providers in recent years has forced them to struggle fiercely to survive. Service providers have to create diversified and attractive services to get customers.

Nevertheless, many think the competition is turning in a harmful direction as most new pictures focus on sex. In the past, pictures of international celebrities in bikinis were considered to be very hot. At present, topless and nude photos of sex models are available. Several years ago, pictures of artists came from newspapers. Currently, most of them come from movies.

The trend of young girls uploading hot pictures of themselves on their blogs is also being exploited as these pictures are modified to become products for commercial services.

Vague things

Advertisement on a website.

Asked whether they know that their pictures are being used for business, some artists say they know, some say they don’t, but none really seem to care. This is indisputably one way to advertise one’s image. Moreover, it is very difficult to sue service providers.

Some young artists are even ready to provide pictures to service providers to promote their images.

As a result, many companies go further in illegally using pictures, music works and video clips of artists. Some note below service ads that they hold the copyrights of the products they supply. It can only be guessed if they know that each picture they co-opt is the property of the photographer and the photographed, or the press agency if the picture is published -- it can probably safely be assumed they do though.

A senior official of an Internet-based value-added service providing company said: “Most of the pictures we use are taken from newspapers. If we use photos of artists we are acquainted with, we ask for their permission. That’s all! The pictures of foreign artists abound on the Internet, we can use them freely!

Downloading sexy pictures of a famous model-actress onto a hand phones.

“Many people think that we pocket all VND15,000/message so they say we are dishonest. Actually, we earn a small part of that number. The remaining goes into the pockets of telecom service providers or mobile service providers and the owners of the service number. If we had to pay royalties, we couldn’t survive.”

The question is: Do service providers have the right to use assets of others for profit? What is the responsibility of mobile service companies when they allocate service phone numbers to others and don’t supervise how they are used? Does the Press Agency keep a watch on the contents of websites which post ads for music and picture download services to prevent violations?

Photos of artists are a few among many products offered by message service providers. Other ones are fortune-telling, love-making position guides, sexual-choosing services. These services have been complained about, but they still exist -- and many are concerned about the direction they are going.

Post a Comment