With the internet continuing to be the expansive source of information and entertainment for everyone, there are bound to be some legal issues that pop up. Since one of the biggest areas of concern involves images online, photo bloggers need to be especially careful. After all, no one wants to get sued. On the subject of how to prevent your blog from getting sued, Lizelle Brandt, media lawyer and legal expert, gave a presentation at the recent WordCamp in Orange County, CA.
When it comes to photos in your blogs, there are two main factors you need to consider according to Lizelle. Number one, who actually took the photo posted on your blog, and number two, who appears in the photo? If there is advertising or any selling involved, you need to be especially careful.
If you’ve created your own photo blog, chances are you yourself have taken the pictures you’ve posted there. So you don’t have to worry about getting permission from the photographer! However, if you do post someone else’s images, be sure to get written permission. Or, if you’re using creative commons material, be sure to follow all of the guidelines.
As for your models or people appearing in your photos, I find it’s always best to get a written release. For commercial or advertising purposes, I’d consider it mandatory. For other purposes such as editorial or self-promotion, there is a lot of debate. I’m not a lawyer and certainly am not going to pretend to give a definitive answer to this question. Also, depending on your location, the laws may vary. If in doubt, be sure to consult an attorney or legal expert.
The bottom line is: It’s better to be safer now than sorry later.