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Lesson Plans

Internet, Images, and Legal Stuff

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mark Larson (mlarson)
Tue, 2 Apr 1996 22:23:20 -0600

Our high school is currently developing policies for creating Web pages and
are grappling with several issues because of the vast audience potential
with the Web. We are looking at journalistic standards as stated in
Associated Press guidelines regarding libel and fair use. The confusion
arises in the electronic publishing of artwork and photographs. Does anyone
have some suggestions or guidelines on getting consent from people
appearing in images?

Example: We are in the process of putting an art and literary magazine
created by students on our high school's Web site. Poetry and prose are
fairly well covered in legal terms --- a permission slip signed by parents
and the student allowing the school to post the piece should cover the
school from liability, providing the written piece is not libelous, and
should cover any potential copyright issues as well.

It gets trickier with my photo students. A student takes a photo on a field
trip to a large city after studying the "decisive moment" concept of Henri
Cartier-Bresson. She photographs people on the street going about their
daily lives. She photographs a homeless person begging for money. It is
artistically done, well printed. It is posted in a digital photo gallery on
a Web site. Is a signed consent form required in order to legally post the
image? Is the photo "news" or "art"? Is it fair use, first amendment
rights, or invasion of privacy?

Obviously, when my students use themselves as models, we have no problem
getting consent, but in shooting "candids" in public (carnivals, parades,
sporting events, concerts, etc.) is consent required? In talking to other
photographers, I have gotten conflicting advice. The Scholastic Art &
Writing Awards, for example requires signed consent, but none of the other
competitions we enter do. A gallery show has a limited audience, but the
internet is another creature altogether.

Any lawyers out there? Any artists or photgraphers with first hand
experience with this? If anyone does have a definitive answer or a written
policy in place, I'd really appreciate a copy to help us with our district
policy. We'd like to make this a simple procedure so that good work can be
shared, yet we want to do it right so that we are in compliance with
applicable laws, not to mention good ethical practices.


* Mark Larson, Art Teacher *
* Lincoln High School *
* 1801 16th Street So. *
* Wisconsin Rapids, WiI 54494 *
* School: 715.423.1520 *
* e-mail: mlarson *

See you soon on the World Wide Web!