'Shock' Reaches Settlement With Photographer

Hachette to Pay Michael Yon Licensing Fee

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. tonight reached a settlement with photographer Michael Yon, who had threatened to sue the publisher of Shock magazine for copyright infringement and demanded that the magazine be pulled from newsstands.

Shock hit newsstands this week with a cover photo of a U.S. soldier cradling a wounded Iraqi girl after a suicide-bombing attack. The photo was originally taken by Mr. Yon, who said he had not given the magazine permission to use the photo. Upon learning about the cover from angry readers of his Web site, Mr. Yon demanded that the entire first run of Shock's debut issue be pulled from newsstands.

Hachette's claim
Hachette refused, saying it had purchased the rights to the photo from Polaris Images and that it had acted "responsibly and in good faith."

Mr. Yon and his lawyer, John D. Mason, then started publicly talking lawsuit, with Mr. Yon posting both a lengthy blog entry on his site and setting up a "Boycott Shock" page, listing contact information for Hachette, Polaris and magazine distributors. (Mr. Yon, who already had one battle with the U.S. Army over rights to the photo in question, said he never worked with Polaris and that he had never heard of the company.)

But the two parties reached a settlement late this evening. In a statement, Hachette said, "Yon is satisfied that there has been a misunderstanding and that Hachette acted in good faith in procuring rights from Polaris to use [his] photograph in Shock magazine. They acknowledge that we have worked responsibly to find a solution, and, after discussions, we have agreed to pay Yon a licensing fee for the photograph that is on the cover of Shock and to make a contribution to Fisher House, a charitable organization dedicated to providing low-cost lodging to veterans and military families."

Neither party would comment on the amounts involved in the settlement.

Polaris Images did not return repeated requests for comment.
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