gotta make that paper
News organizations unknowingly paid Melania Trump at least $100,000 last year to use pictures of her
President Trump's financial disclosure from May shows that in 2017, first lady Melania Trump earned between $100,000 and $1 million from an unusual deal with Getty Images.
NBC News reports that Getty Images, a photo agency, agreed to pay Trump in royalties for the use of any images in a series of 187 photos of the Trump family taken by Belgian photographer Regine Mahaux. The photos were taken between 2010 and 2016, and it was a requirement that the images be used in "positive stories only." NBC News found that at least 12 media organizations, including Marie Claire, Yahoo News, and NBC News itself, paid to use the Mahaux pictures.
An NBC News spokeswoman said the network did not know about the "positive stories only" clause and did not sign an agreement to abide by it, and was never told that a portion of the royalties paid would go to the Trumps. After NBC News notified organizations about the deal, several took the images down from their websites.
Sometimes celebrities do earn royalties from licensing wedding or baby photos, but it is highly unusual for the spouse of an elected official to do so. Getty Images said that due to confidentiality agreements, the company could not share details related to the deal, which was made before President Trump's election. Mahaux would only tell NBC News that "everything is legal." In a standard photo contract, the photographer receives royalties and the photo agency collects fees after each use of an image, but models do not get paid.