Last week, MIT Technology Review published an article called The hipster effect: Why anti-conformists always end up looking the same. It was a report on a scientific paper that delved into the synchronization effect among those opposing the mainstream. The article used a manipulated version of the image you see above. A reader responded with an angry message, threatening to sue the magazine for "the slanderous, unnecessary use of my picture without permission." The editor-in-chief checked to see if they had used the image improperly, but no, they had obtained it legally through Getty Images. But he wanted to double check.
So in the end our creative director ... wrote to Getty Images and said,"Look, we have an angry reader who doesn't like the way we used this photo. Could you check that you know that he signed a model release and the license is all in order?"
They have a team that deals with legal complaints and they went into their archive and checked the details and they came back to us and they said, "Actually the model in this photo does not have the same name as the person who wrote to you."
They wrote to him and ... said, "We don't think this is you." And he replied, "Oh, I guess you're right, it's not."