News Agencies Inadvertently Pay First Lady “Thousands” In Royalties

Recent financial disclosures reveal First Lady was paid at least $100,000 for use of photos in “positive” stories only.

Thanks to a deal struck between the First Lady and Getty Images, Mrs. Trump has received payments between $100,000 and $1,000,000 in royalties. It is common practice for media agencies to purchase photographs from outside sources such as Getty. As a result, in 2017, the First Lady received a hefty paycheck, though the exact amount is unknown. This is because for the purpose of financial disclosures, only an income range need be selected. What is perhaps most interesting about the deal is that the images may only be used in “positive” stories.

Now some media agencies find themselves in an interesting situation.

The art of the deal.

According to a report by NBC News, several news agencies were unaware of the deal. In fact, after NBC News inquired about use of the photos, several agencies removed them from their websites.

With a standard photo contract, the photographer gets royalties and the photo agency receives fees for each use of an image. Models are not paid royalties. However, it is also common for celebrities to have royalty deals. It is unusual for the wife of an elected official though. As is the stipulation that the images only be used for positive stories regarding the family.

In a statement to NBC News, Getty Images said, “the details and amounts of payments to the Trumps are covered by confidential agreements.” Getty also¬†declined to say whether there are separate royalty arrangements with other members of the Trump families. Getty declined¬† to comment on the deal other than to say that once a photo has been licensed, Getty pays “contracted royalties back to the photographer and/or individual(s) as covered by their confidential agreement.”

In a statement, a White House spokesperson said: “President Trump’s recent Public Disclosure Report, which included information regarding Mrs. Trump’s income and assets, was filed after being certified by the White House Ethics Counsel and the Office of Government Ethics. The report speaks for itself.”



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