The rise of advertising and the role played by image in the industry has put retouching images for advertising purposes in the spotlight. Is it necessary to regulate this? Last Sunday, France joined Argentina and Israel in regulating this type of practices by implementing the Photoshop decree. This decree was created with the aim of protecting health and requires all those commercial images that have been retouched by a computer program to include the words 'retouched image'.
With this legislation coming into force, doubts arise as to whether Spain needs a similar regulation. In an article for Expansión, Joaquín Muñoz, Head of IT&IP at ONTIER, notes that there is no equivalent legislation in our country. However, he states that 'the General Advertising Law expressly prohibits misleading advertising' and he adds that 'this French regulation goes one step further and advocates for advertising transparency even when the average consumer is not going to be encouraged to buy the product'. Furthermore, Muñoz does not believe that this new legislation will lead to a similar legislation arising in Spain. Fernando Fernández-Miranda Vidal, Head of Digital Regulation at PwC Tax & Legal Madrid, said that there are already organisations seeking to promote this initiative so that it can reach the Spanish Congress of Deputies.
This regulation is quite innovative, although it still raises some doubts, especially regarding the 'retouched image' text. According to Joaquín Muñoz, 'we will have to wait for the practical application of the regulations to see how advertisers integrate this message into their images and the requirements of the French jurisdiction in this regard'.
One of the most surprising aspects of this regulation is that the Photoshop decree only refers to body retouching, while there is no mention to face retouching. Plus it is also surprising that, as Joaquín Muñoz explains, 'the fact that the regulation only refers to advertising on paper, street billboards and the Internet is quite unfortunate, since retouching audiovisual images is also a possibility nowadays.' However, he also adds that 'although the article refers to these advertising systems in particular, it doesn't exclude others such as television.'
Some photo agencies have already made some changes in their policies, including renowned photo agency Getty Images, which has announced that from now on all the images sent to the Creative Skills department must be unedited images.
For further information, you can check out the full article by Expansión.