Are Celebrity Baby Photos Really Worth Millions?

Weinstein isn't swayed by the rationale offered by celebrities, that it's a way for them to control the inevitable media maelstrom. "If you look at what happened with Britney Spears or Angelina Jolie, [selling the photos] didn't quell the feeding frenzy. Whether People or OK! gets first dibs, people still want to take photos of the child."

And he isn't impressed by the fact that some stars have contributed some of the baby bonanza to charity, such as Jolie and Pitt, who gave $2 million of a reported $4 million windfall to Global Action for Children and Doctors Without Borders.

Weinstein cited a quote from St. Paul's letter to the Romans -- "We are not to do evil that good may come from it" -- to explain his argument.

"If you're already starting from extreme wealth, that argument doesn't hold much water," he said. "They're already in a position to give money to charity."

Child psychologist Sam Hackworth says the practice could be troubling, depending on the circumstances and the ego of the parent.

"If kids understand that the parent did it to control the photos, they can see that as a rational reason," said Hackworth. "But if it was clearly just to make money, if a child's older and realizes that the only way we've maintained this lifestyle is because you sold my photos, that could be troubling."

David T.S. Fraser, a privacy lawyer in Nova Scotia, Canada, says that, while he sympathizes with celebrities who are trying to deal with out-of-control paparazzi, the practice of selling baby photos actually seems to have the opposite effect.

"If anything, it probably feeds the market for these photos," he explained. "The other magazines will want to compete and could be even more aggressive."

Fraser also questioned why celebrities, who desired to control the coverage of their children, demanded money.

"The selling of the photos is also a little suspect -- why not just hand them out?" he said. "There's a disconnect between controlling the release and profiting from it. It's almost as if they're being pimped out. You can certainly see why people would think that the kids are being exploited for profit, or otherwise."

Some stars are taking Fraser's cue. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Nicole Kidman rejected multiple multimillion-dollar offers for the first photos of her daughter with Keith Urban, Sunday Rose, saying that if she does release pictures, she'll do it for free.

While that squashes an ethical dilemma for the Kidman-Urbans, according to Peck, it's not going to slow the trend of celebrities hawking photos of their newborns for a paycheck. As long as there are celebrities willing to sit for photo ops with their kids, magazines willing to write checks, and most importantly, readers willing to buy copies of those photos, there will be bidding wars, and they'll get more intense.

"The bottom line is the public wants to see this stuff," Peck said. "In a better world, maybe someone would pay $20 million for photos of Nelson Mandela's grandchildren."

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