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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Are You Using Library Photos Legally?

Lots of you out there take photographs at your library events. Some of you go on to use them in your newsletters, on your websites, on Flickr pages, in press releases, etc. Seems like using pictures of events to celebrate your success or to promote other events is a good idea. But not so fast...

Did you know that using pictures that include recognizable people can be illegal?

Do you think you're covered if you get signed consent forms?

To set the record straight, I commissioned an article that just came out in the latest issue of Marketing Library Services. Called "Laws for Using Photos You Take at Your Library," it was written by Bryan Carson, who's a librarian and a lawyer.

This is an article that all librarians should read right away to make sure they're working within the law. (I'd say this even if someone else published it, really!) I won't try to summarize it here because you really need to see all of Carson's legal details. Here's one important statement from it, though:
"It is clearly a violation of the right of publicity to use photographs from library programs in order to market or advertise the library or to call attention to future programming."
Run, don't walk to my publisher's website to read this one! Then let me know what you think. I hope you find it useful.


ShiKate said...

Thank you for interesting and important information.
I would like to ask your permission to translate your post into Russian for publishing in a blog "Library Items".

~Kathy Dempsey said...

Yes, you have my permission to translate the post.

I'm sure that the privacy laws are different in Russia, but your readers would still get the point that it is important to check on such laws before using photographs, and that's the main idea.

Thanks for reading!

Marti Fritz said...

Thank you for commissioning Bryan Carson to write about this very important subject. Carson does "not recommend using Flickr or other such site to archive photographs." If event photos are accompanied by a news story and posted on the library's own site, rather than a social networking site like Flickr or YouTube, would Carson think those could be posted longer than the two weeks suggested by the source he quotes?

~Kathy Dempsey said...

Great question, Marti. I can't really speak to that... but if you go back to the article itself, Bryan's email address is linked at the very end; you could ask him directly.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!