One of the members of performance artist YouTube channel RV Wonderspunk is claiming that fast food chain Burger King not only used her photo in an unintended and sexually charged way, but also did so without asking permission or paying for the image. Aside from the fact the photo is allegedly stolen, this is an example of how far from original intent some can take an image.
UPDATED 08/08/2014 11:52 AM PT:
Fstoppers reader Matt Rennells very astutely found a link to the photo file on Shutterstock that Burger King used in the ad. Shutterstock has an excellent policy of requiring a signed model release from the photographer, and that is in play here as it clearly states that they do have one.
What this appears to be is more a case of a model not really understanding the implications of stock photography and the freedoms companies can take with an image if they purchase rights to it.
According to the video, the photo in question was taken along with a set of others in a non-serious, harmless way, absent of any sexual meaning.
Burger King allegedly found one of the images from that day's set and decided to use it for an ad that rather openly implies... well... fellatio.
Burger King found my photo online from a series I did of various facial expressions and contortion poses, and with no due regard to me as a person, profited off reducing me to an orifice for their penis sludge; publicly humiliating me in the process. It was shown online as well as on bus stops and the walls and place mats of their restaurant.
When asked for comment from the press Burger King claimed the campaign went down well, however after some research I discovered The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (where it was released) received several complaints and the campaign had to be prematurely removed.
This is a top International food chain the world is watching that has a code of ethics they're required to adhere to for that reason by law but did not in how they went about using my image.
Now due to the coverage its received (Time Magazine's Top Ten Tasteless Ads, Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Gawker, Psychology Today to name a few) it's part of the public domain. Just recently it was the topic of discussion in a media studies class of 500 students at the University of Toronto - where I live... and posted to the class Facebook discussion page.
If what is being alleged here is true, I'm not entirely certain that the photo actually is part of the public domain. As far as my understanding of copyright goes, until the model and the photographer give consent, it's illegal to use it for monetary gain. That said, at this point it might be difficult to stop, much like the Stolen Scream.