The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The ethics of photos
I've taken several photos off my blogs because they happen to be of living celebrities. Of course, these images are plastered all over the Internet in fan sites, etc, but with Virgin Mobile being sued because they used photos from the Flickr website without obtaining model releases, I now wonder how bloggers all over the world will be affected - especially bloggers that write to basically slag celebrities and trash them to the derisive chuckles of their readership.

It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Addendum: According to this site, using celebrity photos in commentary comes under question in regards to "fair usage." If you sell ad space or a product on your website, having celebrity photos could be seen as an endorsement by that celebrity, even though there was no such intention. It could also be seen as a commercial use of that photo. Does this mean now, no posting of family photos without written permission of all family members in case someone uses it somewhere else, creatively, without your knowledge?

There's always a risk that someone will use a photo in a way you don't like. With or without the Internet. I am sure that there is an old schoolmate of mine somewhere, who has a photo of me with a moustache drawn on it and a few teeth blackened out. Duplicate that with a copier or fax machine and distribute it, and if I wanted to be nasty, I could sue that person.

For the most part, however - I have to agree with Oscar Wilde who said, "there's only one thing worse than being talked about ... and that's not being talked about." It's scary to me, though, that having photos in a blog or on a website for illustrative or creative purposes could open people up to all kinds of lawsuits.

Some days you just want to live in a cave.

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posted by Melanie O. at 11:27 PM -
  • At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Don Necessary said…

    I think that someday the word proprietary will mean a burial place for props............
    If I create a Melanie O fan site, will you sign a release for me?

    You must be over 18 years of age though!

    In Missouri

  • At 8:48 PM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    LOL Don! I sometimes wonder where all of this litigation is going to leave us bloggers - I can't imagine a blog without photos.

    If you had to pay for every photo you posted, it wouldn't be worth it for 90% of us who are just making random observations.

    Now, if I was offered a book deal....

    Where's that release again? ;)

  • At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Don Necessary said…

    Well, you my dear can use any of my photos royalty free! Any Day.

    I think I sent you my Webshots ID.
    if not, e-mail me.
    I don't have any celebs except for my son.

    I'll send you a release for your pics pronto!!! Although I'd love to take the photos.


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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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