View Full Version : Advice on posting images on the net...

29th January 2008, 06:10 PM
Hey All

Jen (my wife) is an active member of a very good parents forum, and someone on there has asked a photo related question to which Jen asked if I could advise. I am a member there too, but not very active and thought I'd follow this up and ask for some advice on here too. Here's what has been posted on the site;

I am not really sure how to title this really.

The issue is that my neice (she is 20 and estranged from her mother) has published photos of her sisters (who are 5 and 10) on her facebook account. Her sisters live with her mother (she is single parent) and her mother has full custody of them. Does her mother have any right in saying 'you are not allowed to publish photos of tyour sisters on the internet?'

I am just wondering if there is any legal wrangle.Thoughts please... thanks.

E-P1 fan
29th January 2008, 06:43 PM
I guess she does in a way. She is the legal parent after all.

There's a lot of fuss about this with schools web sites and special permissions have to be sought and pictures have to have no names or area details on them too

29th January 2008, 06:45 PM
Reply by a member MrTempleDene - to which I added comments to...

there are no copyright issues, your niece took the pictures so they are hers to do as she wishes

there could be a privacy issue if there was a risk to the children by publishing the pictures on the Internet, but that would have to be backed up, for example if the father had no access because of abuse issues.

As long as the pictures do not give to much information that would identify the children I doubt there's a lot she can do about it.

May I ask, why the mother not want the pictures published? is it simply because she has fallen out with her daughter?

... and my reply too...

What MrTempleDene states is absolutely correct, first class information to be honest - except in one regard. As I read this, an assumption has been made that the niece actually owns the images. If she tool the photographs, then yes, she owns the images. But you do not state that your niece actually took the photographs.

The law is 100% clear in this regard - copyright of the image remains with the photographer. If the photos are not hers though, then a different course of action could be taken.

The only way you can not do what you want with images that you own copyright to is

(1) if the subject is under legal age and you list details of the child such as name or contact details so that they can be identified, or
(2) if the subject is of legal age and you do not have a signed model release form

NB: even if you do not have a model release form, you can still publish the images but not with the same license terms. Though not applicable in this instance, not having a model release form greatly decreases the marketability of the images and thus their value.

There is no law stopping your niece posting images of her sisters on the web, unless by direct result of her posting them, her sisters details can be identified - in which case the legal guardian can demand that they are taken off.

Personally I'd take steps to remove them anyway, perhaps by contacting FaceBook themselves, or even the ISP of your niece.

Please don't take my advice as 100% here though, I will ask a few professional photographers for some advice on this and get back to you later.

29th January 2008, 07:43 PM
Hi John

I'm no legal expert, but back in film days I remember being told that if I purchased a film and asked you to take pictures for me then you gave me the film back I owned the copyright ( I was told this by a pro friend who is VERY knowledgeable about copyright).

It left me thinking about about the statement that you made in your post in that...
If she tool the photographs, then yes, she owns the images..

So If I hand you a camera with a flashcard in it and you take the picture then I as the camera owner then own the copyright.

So who's camera was used ???

I may of course be wrong or the law may have moved on !


E-P1 fan
29th January 2008, 07:58 PM
I may of course be wrong or the law may have moved on !

I think it has.

I'm pretty sure there's completely different issues here:

1. Normal photographers/models rights

2. The recent legislation about images of minors

3. The rights of the child/and the rights of the parent/guardian

Any lawyers on the board?

29th January 2008, 11:52 PM
I'm not a lawyer but I am a parent of teenagers, and have been through all sorts of hoops over the years regarding taking photographs of our children when they were involved in activities both in and out of school.

There's a lot of scaremongering and it's easy to get sucked into it and believe that something nasty can happen to your children if you let somebody else take their photograph, but in reality nothing will - it doesn't steal their soul, it just stops anybody being able to look back on special events.

We had to fill in forms if we wanted to take pictures at Brownies and so on, school at one time banned cameras completely from plays and concerts, which was horrible.

Putting pictures on the internet is, I think, a bit different. I've had to agree that I'll never upload images of our children because they don't want me to. They value their privacy, and if another adult put their pictures online I'd speak up and ask them to remove the pictures.

They've both got Facebook accounts, neither has their picture there. There's so much in account information that even without deliberately giving real names and addresses people can be traced, and that's where the identity/safety issues arise. I'd have thought it was a bit irresponsible for an adult to put young children's pictures onto one of these sites - just in case.

There are internet safety rules for under 13s. They are supposed to have their parents consent before they join any online group and are then supposed to have their activity within that group supervised by their parents.

Our daughter was once in a local community forum, we were all members. She liked playing their arcade games. It was fine until she started getting private messages. She didn't mind, but we did and had to stop them - they were from a chap who said he was in his thirties. He might have been just friendly, but it didn't seem right, and he did know her age. That's the other thing about the internet, there's a lot of trust, you don't actually know who another person is until you see them face to face - a picture might not be real, a profile might not be real.

So, not from a legal standpoint but as a parent I'd say the mother has the right to ask for the pictures to be removed from the internet.

30th January 2008, 03:01 PM
I don't know how it works in the UK vs US but probably some rules are the same. In the US, the rules are as follows:

1) You may take photos of anything you want when they are in public places and in places where you have permission to take them. Exception: Airports typically don't want photos taken and will sometimes post signs to that effect, government buildings, complexes, federal buildings, gestapo buildings, military installations, Department of Energy buildings, and places where reasonable expectation to privacy exists such as in dressing rooms, water closets, medical facilities and inside people's homes, etc.

2) You can however shoot a photograph from a public sidewalk onto the yard or backyard of someone's house (the paparrazi does this a lot).

3) You can photograph children as long as they are in public (if they are in private or say the sanctity of a school, then permission should be sought from their parents). Any photograph that is revealing in any way or has a sexual tone to it is almost guaranteed to be a problem with the law.

In the case above that is under discussion, it may matter as to where the children were and how zoomed in it was, i.e., does the background of the photo show the intimate belongings of the parents and their floorplan?

Reminder, 1,2,3 above are US rules not UK, they may differ.

This data is derived from "The Photographer's Rights" available from Krages.com

This guy is a lawyer who apparently is also a photographer and appears to be based in Oregon State, USA

30th January 2008, 03:15 PM
Great advice here folks... thanks very much.