Saturday, May 25

Can I Legally Put a Photo of You (or your child) Online?

Can pictures be posted without permission of others online? Legally? Yes, if the poster owns the copyright or has permission from the copyright holder and the picture was taken in a public area. Also yes if taken at an event (concert, party, etc...) or in any situation where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. That's true for both adults and children.

That's it, that's the short and the long of it. If we don't want our own or our children's photos posted on facebook, blogs, google plus or other none commercial mediums; then our only legal way to insure this is to never go or take our kids into public or situations where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. Are there moral implications involved in some situations? Absolutely. For example, taking a photo through an open window of someone you don't know. Legal? Yes. Slimey sleezy? Also yes.

Most recently I had the issue come up a few weeks ago about a Homeschool Recess event we went to at a public park. Out of 190 pictures I took at the park that day about 60 (less then 1/3rd) had anyone at all other then my husband and my children in them. Every photo taken had either my boys or my husband in it. I really enjoy taking photos. I always have. It took me a while to realize that, while most people enjoy having pictures, not everyone enjoys taking them the way I do. So, I was going to post a link (that would have only been viewable to those with the url) to those 60ish photos and offer the full file to anyone who's child was in a photo and wanted the picture. I didn't go there to take pictures of other children. I went there to take pictures of my children, but I thought it would be nice to offer. I was rather surprised when a mom from the group contacted me asking me not to do so.

As I said, I like taking pictures. That probably influences my personal views that if you take your child into public, where it's reasonable others will be taking photos (like a park), you should be prepared for the possibility they will end up in some photos. That day, in that group I just happened to be the one taking pictures. Today with cell phones having such good camera capabilities, anyone at all can take and have pictures of anyone. Just as there are legal and moral implications of those taking pictures to be considered- there are legal and practical implications of going to a public picturesque place and expecting that no photos will be taken or shared.

However, in the Homeschool Recess situation I simply decided not to post the images. I wrote a message to the group explaining I had been asked not to and saying I was glad to look through photos for specific children and pass along those files to parents who want them. That I was happy to blur images of children whose parents did not want recognizable images of them passed along, if they let me know. I also offered that if anyone ever wanted pictures of their children taken at events we were at I was more then happy to do so and pass the files along to them.

This is all of course based for where I live (USA) and I am not offering legal advice... seek a professional... yada yada yada.

Legalities aside, what are your views on this?

6 comments:

  1. Personally I wouldn't like pictures of my children pasted all over the internet without my permission, at the same time I wouldn't do the same with photos of other children.

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    1. So do you think the laws should be changed to reflect that? And if so how?

      Personally I feel like if we are willing to go into public where anyone can see us then it shouldn't be a big deal if a picture is taken of that or not. For me that's just part of participating in life and being around others, they can see you so what's the difference if it's in a picture form or in person?

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  2. In a situation like yours, I wouldn't have minded at all. In fact, I love it when others share photos of events we've attended with me even though I usually take a lot of photos too. The only thing I wouldn't want is my child's name and specific location posted/associated with the photo online so that even though her picture is online, it is still more or less anonymous.

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    1. That's pretty much my take on it also =) I haven't looked into it, but it might not be technically legal to post identifying info about the people in the pictures without permission, I don't know? Personally I don't use identifiable pictures of anyone on this blog, facebook or anywhere else without permission, especially not children. Normally permission is just asking at large, 'does anyone mind if I put these up on facebook?' or, 'do you mind if I use this for a post on such and such on my blog?' so far I have not had an objection to to doing so. Even though it's legal to do so without asking, it's just courtesy not to. But that wasn't the situation here, I was only posting for the group that was at the event and could have see everything I photographed with their own eyes anyways.

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  3. If it was a closed group, then I don't understand the person asking that the url not be posted, especially since it was a group event and she was there with her children. As for other situations, in public, one has to expect that it is going to happen. I think I might have just blurred that person's children and posted the url anyway. As for the deviants in the world, if they are searching the internet that closely to be in a group looking for that sort of thing, then they were most likely somewhere near the event anyway taking their own photos. It is very difficult to protect our children in this day and age so I understand both sides.

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    1. That's where I'm at too basically. It is very difficult to protect our children (and ourselves) today. I totally understand both sides, but in this case it was a closed group and anyone who had access to the group also could have been at the recess event to see everything I photographed themselves, or be taking pictures themselves.

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