Sunday, October 12, 2008

Posting Photos: Buildings are Fair Game

Since many, including myself, have wondered about the legal implications of posting photos online if they show people at library events (do we need permission from every person depicted? permission of parents for minors? should we just stick to pictures of plants and landscapes?), I must note this helpful article that LibrarianInBlack uncovered in Marketing Library Services.

Titled "Laws for Using Photos You Take at Your Library," it concisely addresses the legal rights of publicity and privacy, how to write a consent form, and how long to keep the consent forms.

And yes, the general rule seems to be that you need permission from identifiable persons if you're going to post pictures of them. 

This is why I only take photos of people wearing furry animal masks. It keeps things simple. 

Although a follow-up question would be, what if someone was wearing a really unique, handmade mask that everyone who knew them would immediately recognize as theirs? What if you took a crowd shot with no visible faces, but someone had a really identifiable back? (Say they had a dramatic neck tattoo.)

Clearly this question is not entirely settled, but I think we can safely say that caution is warranted. And when in doubt, just take pictures of flowers, buildings, attractive landscapes, and people in mass-produced furry animal masks. 

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