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Release forms address the “I” in privacy

4

September 30, 2012 by csukach

Brother and sister skating in a park

Zach and Emily Walls skate at Bear Creek Regional Park, Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 30, 2012. Although both children were skating in a public location, permission was requested of and granted by their grandmother prior to taking any pictures. (Chris Sukach/Full Sail University)

In an age in which anyone with a mobile phone is a potential journalist and a clip or image can be posted as soon as it’s taken, what expectations does an individual have in authorizing the use of his or her quotes or image?

The answer is, “That depends.”

It depends not only on where the individual is physically when quoted or the image is taken, but also in which state in the U.S. that person resides.  International privacy laws are a whole separate topic as the rules are as varied as the countries from which they come.

According to Robert Ellis Smith, exactly what’s considered private in the U.S. varies from state to state, but most agree with Ronald B. Standler that, “The right of privacy is restricted to individuals who are in a place that a person would reasonably expect to be private, (e.g. home hotel room, telephone booth).”

Girl skating quickly

Emily Walls shows how she likes to skate, “Really really fast,” at Bear Creek Regional Park, Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 30, 2012. Although Walls was skating in a public place, permission to photograph her was granted by her grandmother before any pictures were taken. (Chris Sukach/Full Sail University)

Privacy typically doesn’t pertain to information and images obtained in a public place, says Standler.  And recently a U.S. judge ruled public tweets fall into this category as well.

Regardless, U.S. Air Force public affairs officer Maj. Brooke Brander says it’s just good practice to have parties sign release forms prior to publication so both interviewer and interviewee are on the same page.

“It is both a CYA for the individual and/or organization producing the product as well as makes the interview and the use of quotes and imagery something the [interviewee] has to think about and agree to,” explains Brander.

While release forms vary, they typically include the photograph or interview subject allowing the interviewer/photographer to use quotes and images as described in the form.  Parties consent by signing the form.

Girl finishes skating

Emily Walls finishes skating at Bear Creek Regional Park in Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 30, 2012. While Walls was skating in a public location, permission was requested of and granted by her grandmother prior to taking any pictures. (Chris Sukach/Full Sail University)

Brander highlights she’s had interview subjects sign release forms when working with international, national and local media so that everyone is clear and expectations are set.

“It makes all parties aware of and agree to the use of information and/or images,” says Brander.

Children are also protected under U.S. privacy laws and a parent or legal guardian should grant permission prior to using a child’s likeness or information in a publication or online.

An example of a release form crafted by Full Sail University members is found here: Photo/Audio/Video Release Form.


4 comments »

  1. #1 Fan says:

    That’s right, privacy is about us all. Excellent title, BTW

  2. csukach says:

    Funny how the individual affects the collective and vice versa…

  3. kmiller says:

    Good info!

  4. csukach says:

    Glad it was helpful!

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