William G. Schwab and Associates
811 Blakeslee Blvd. Dr. East (PA Route 443) PO Box 56 Lehighton, PA 18235
Tel 610-377-5200 Fax 610-377-5209
NEWSLETTER
Personal Injury September 26, 2016
 
Personal Injury
Bankruptcy
Business
Criminal Law
Elder Law
Estate Planning/Probate
Real Estate
 

Punitive Damage Awards in Light of Supreme Court Decisions

An injured party who has successfully proven that the injury and damages were caused by the defendant may be entitled ...(more)

 

Avoiding Strict Liability by Making Safe a Dangerous Animal or Ultrahazardous Activity

Typically, owners of dangerous animals and others engaged in ultrahazardous activities owe an absolute duty to make the animal or ...(more)

 

Assessing Damages: The Collateral Source Rule

In addition to laws passed by legislatures, there exists a body of principles derived from court decisions and other judicial ...(more)

 

"Standard of Proof" in Most Personal Injury and Other Civil Cases

Crimes are wrongful acts against society for which punishment may be imposed. Where an individual is injured through the wrongful ...(more)

 

Personal Injury Headlines

Illinois Teen Injured in Bike Wreck Awarded $910K

Personal-injury accident investigtion leads to multiple charges for Massena pair

Walmart removes personal injury lawsuit to federal court

Anderson Hospital denies allegations in personal injury lawsuit

$5 million personal injury lawsuit against city dismissed

Release Requirements Before Using a Photograph


The right of a photographer to sell or commercially exploit a picture of a stranger depends on numerous factors. Much will depend on whether the subject's consent was obtained. Further, the subject of the photograph might have a right of privacy and a right of publicity (i.e. a right to control the use and commercial exploitation of photographs). The extent and availability of these rights vary by state.

Right to privacy laws protect an individual from disclosure of private facts. The right to publicity controls the right to commercial use of a photograph. The first protects from disclosure of embarrassing facts, the second from financial loss from unauthorized commercial use. People who lead public lives have restricted rights of privacy, but broader rights of publicity (some states even give such rights to deceased persons).

An individual's rights of privacy and publicity are limited, however, by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which ensures freedom of speech. Publication of photographs in connection with news, political, social and economic events is considered protected speech, and not "commercial use." Some contend that there is no requirement for a release from the subject if the intent behind publishing is to inform or educate. Where a photograph of another is taken and used for the purposes of educating or informing the public, as in a newspaper, the photographer may not need to obtain the consent of individuals pictured in the photograph.

As stated above, privacy and publicity laws vary among states, however, and it is not always easy to determine newsworthiness.  Thus, it is also difficult to determine when a release or consent is needed. To be on the safe side, (especially when photographing private individuals) photographers should always seek the consent of the individual photographed.

Precautions For Photographers to Limit Potential Liability
The prudent photographer will consider obtaining a written release from any individual in the photograph who is recognizable. If a travel magazine publishes a photo of the Grand Canyon, with several tourists in the foreground, a release probably need not be obtained from all the tourists. Where individuals are in the photograph incidentally, and are not recognizable, no release is necessary.  Photographers should also consider the following items:

  • Obtain parental consent from parents or guardian of minors whose image is used.
  • Even if the photograph is to be used for a "newsworthy" purpose, obtain a release in case the photograph is later used for other purposes.
  • Caption the photograph correctly.
  • When altering or cropping a photograph, avoid placing the individual photographed in a context other than that consented to in the release.

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