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Re: [w3photo] privacy, copyright and images

From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.umd.edu>
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2004 19:41:18 -0500
Message-Id: <p05200f18bc2a3e337f4d@[]>
To: semantic-photolist@unitboy.com
Cc: jim@jibbering.co
I respond to Libby's email in a separate post, but let me respond to 
Jim Ley's comment here

>Commercial use and privacy are completely orthogonal to my mind, it doesn't
>matter if you're compromising my privacy for profit or fun, you're still
>compromising it.

I agree that compromising privacy for any reason is bad, but breaking 
US law and getting sued for it would be a lot worse than having to 
apologize to some individual as we removed his/her picture from the 
site - even if the site is hosted in the UK, I think the fact that 
the effort is associated with the IW3C2, which has some US presence 
as best I can tell, would mean we need to consider US law.  Not to 
mention, even if the law isn't totally binding, it would still be 
worth avoiding violating it

>  I'd also be very interested in seeing a citation of the
>actual law that prevents random photos of people being sold, as it will
>likely have other issues for us to consider.

I don't have a pointer to the actual statute, now would most of us be 
able to read it if I did, but [1] has a good description of US photo 
law - it was written in the context of photography while traveling, 
but I think it still is useful - a couple of quotes follow:


Publicity and Privacy Rights of Individuals You may need permission 
to photograph people due to state laws giving individuals privacy and 
publicity rights. Most states in the US recognize that individuals 
have a right of privacy. The right of privacy gives an individual a 
legal claim against someone who intrudes on the individual's physical 
solitude or seclusion, and against those who publicly disclose 
private facts. Unless you have permission, avoid publishing or 
distributing any photo of an individual that reveals private facts 
about the individual (particularly if revealing those private facts 
might embarrass the individual). Almost half the states in the US 
recognize that individuals have a right of publicity. The right of 
publicity gives an individual a legal claim against one who uses the 
individual's name, face, image, or voice for commercial benefit 
without obtaining permission. In case you are wondering how the news 
media handle this, newspapers and news magazines have a "fair use" 
privilege to publish names or images in connection with reporting a 
newsworthy event. Be particularly careful about celebrities. Using a 
photograph of a celebrity for your own commercial gain - for example, 
posting a photo you took of Clint Eastwood on your business's 
marketing material or Web site - is asking for a lawsuit, even if you 
took the photograph when you ran into Clint on a public street. 
Commercial photographers avoid right of publicity/privacy lawsuits by 
obtaining photographic releases from people shown in the their shots. 
If you are considering selling your photos or using them on your Web 
site, you may want to do the same.

The laws and rules described in this article apply to photos used on 
the Internet. Copyright law and other laws do apply to the Internet, 
and posting a photo on the Internet exposes your photos to the eyes 
of the whole world.

end of quoting
(note: Tim B-L could count as a celebrity as I understand the 
definition from elsewhere on the site)

This article is from [2] which contains a number of more detailed 
examples, samples of releases, etc.

[1] http://www.photosecrets.com/p14.html
[2] http://photography.about.com/cs/businessforms/

Professor James Hendler			  http://www.cs.umd.edu/users/hendler 
Director, Semantic Web and Agent Technologies	  301-405-2696
Maryland Information and Network Dynamics Lab.	  301-405-6707 (Fax)
Univ of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742	  240-277-3388 (Cell)

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Received on Tuesday, 13 January 2004 19:43:08 UTC

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