News Agencies Paid Melania Six-Figure Royalties For Photos Restricted To Usage For “Positive Stories Only”

NBC News reports:

Since her husband took office Melania Trump has earned six figures from an unusual deal with a photo agency in which major media organizations have indirectly paid the Trump family despite a requirement that the photos be used only in positive coverage.

President Donald Trump’s most recent financial disclosure reveals that in 2017 the first lady earned at least $100,000 from Getty Images for the use of any of a series of 187 photos of the first family shot between 2010 and 2016 by Belgian photographer Regine Mahaux.

It’s not unheard of for celebrities to earn royalties from photos of themselves, but it’s very unusual for the wife of a currently serving elected official. More problematic for the many news organizations that have published or broadcast the images, however, is that Getty’s licensing agreement stipulates the pictures can be used in “positive stories only.”

The Hill reports:

At least 12 news organizations last year used some of the photos, including Yahoo News, the Daily Mail, Fox News, Condé Nast and the Houston Chronicle. Several of the news organizations told NBC News that they were not aware that the photos were part of a licensing deal that profited the first lady. Several also said they were not aware of the deal that the photos were to be used for positive coverage, and some removed the images after being contacted by NBC.