Need parental permission before using their kid's photograph I took years ago?

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by lcphotography, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. Hello. My name is Lisa and my passion for photography flourished when I was a head Toddler teacher five years ago. I literally took thousands of toddler pictures and shared many of those images with their parents at that time. Upon using some new editing skills I have learned, the only edits I have really done or needed to do just recently included cropping, using borders, perhaps changing something to B&W... really not much. The power of their expressions and such leave no room for much more! I'm sure ethically it would be good to get the parents' permission before posting, using, selling these images, but is it legally necessary? My concern is that I really want to post and use these images but I may not be able to track down these parents since it's been a while. Thank you in advance for your feedback.
  2. " using, selling " Certainly could lead to problems, I believe. You might be better off finding new models and obtaining the needed releases.....Robert
  3. I am not a lawyer and my comments do not take into account any local laws about child protection or children's rights (for instance, at the age the kids probably are now, do the parents have to take the kids' opinion into account).
    I understand that getting parents' permission is not legally necessary before posting/selling but it does provide assurance if the parents later change their minds - or want a cut of the money you are earning. If you are still in the teaching profession (it seems not) you also need to consider if it may be considered a potential conflict of interest: for instance are you a teacher to teach or to earn money out of the kids.
    If these were adults, I would say 'if you fancy your chances, go ahead'. But as these are kids then to me it enters a whole new ballpark.
    I hate it when an innocent pastime becomes embroiled in legal restrictions, but that is the way of world.
  4. If you want to sell those images or use them to promote ANYTHING commercial (even your own services or something) then you NEED (a) parental consent forms (if the subjects are still below the legal age of consent) or (b) model release forms from the subjects themselves if they are of legal age. Simple as that.
    Robert is right - find new models and get current releases.
  5. It will perhaps depend on the local laws where you are.....but apart from the warnings given already I'm of the opinion that those images, if taken whilst you were in employment as head teacher, do not belong to you, but to your employer.
    You took the images of people you only had access to as a consequence of your job and in company time (I suspect?) which could make them your employer's asset. The under-age aspect (notwithstanding the parental 'delight' at receiving copies) is something to be aware of too.
    This is a legal morass you would do very well to leave well alone.
  6. You do not need the aggravtion that will be heaped upon your head if even only one parent decides that their childs privacy rights have been violated.As a Head toddler teacher you should be well aware of how protective parents are of their children,somtimes to very unreasonable levels.Emotions run high very quickly. If you sell the images you will need Model Releases from a parent or guardian.Talk to a lawyer before you decide to go ahead as their are many people who will see this as an opportuinity to sue and make a fast buck or to "punish" you financially or professionally.
  7. The best person to answer that question is yourself. Assume for a while as a parent: What will you do as a parent if someone wants to use your kids pictures for their personal benefits without your consent. What kind of gaurentee you give it yourself and to your kids that the pictures taken are not misused??
  8. What kind of gaurentee you give it yourself and to your kids that the pictures taken are not misused??​
    I think this is largely paranoia. Exactly how can you mis-use a photograph of a child?
  9. Steve heres an example,A photo of your child shows up on advertisment for the Pro or Anti abortion groups or Pro or Anti Gay adoption groups,Poster child for abused kids.I could go on forever but their are many causes,products or services you may not want your family associated with.Talk to a lawyer before selling any images.
  10. I read years ago that kids don't need permission since they change so much that they don't look the same later. But if you do it then get legal advice not forum advice.
  11. You do not need a lawyer but you do need to know the law. The law is very clear in this case. For any commercial use of a person's image, you need a model release from them if they are adults or their parents if they are still minors. The only exception is for news.
    I suggest you get a book on the legal rights and obligations of a photographer if you plan to go into any form of business. A search in the books section of under "photography legal rights" will get you a list of the many books out there on this subject. A standard part of any such book is a recommended model release form.
  12. I have to ask, what about FaceBook? I do not have a photography business, I do it for a hobby. I take pictures of my daughter's soccer team and the boys team to post them for the players' own enjoyment. What about all the kids who post pics of their friends? This could turn into a legal nightmare couldn't it?
  13. The Facebook agreement specifically states that the photos you post there in personal accounts are for non-commercial use. So in theory, posting something there is not a commercial use of the photo. OTOH Facebook has changed its policy on commercial use several times. Plus Facebook encourages businesses to establish Facebook identities for their businesses for commercial use.
    So yes, Facebook could be a nightmare. The key question you need to ask yourself is "Did I ever make money from my Facebook pictures?" If you have never made a penny then you are probably safe. If you have ever sold a photo because someone saw it on Facebook, then you are probably in trouble. Unless you sold the photo to a recognized news publisher such as a newspaper. Then the news exception applies.
  14. You do not need a lawyer but you do need to know the law. The law is very clear in this case.​
    At last, someone talking sense. In just about every thread where copyrights, model releases, etc. are being discussed someone always brings up the "talk to a lawyer" advice.
    Usually these cases are very simple and the laws are very clear. Lawyers cost money - often a lot more than anyone stands to make in a common "xxx used my image" type of case.
  15. Thank you all so much for the input and advice. While I was a teacher I was encouraged to take pictures of the children as part of documenting their development. While I fulfilled that request, I found myself simply taking pictures all the time out of the pure joy I felt from the process as well as celebrating that joy with their parents. I remembered thinking, "If I could just do this all day (photographing, not diaper changing, feeding and such), then I would be truly happy." Those pictures were some of the best pictures I've taken in my life, and I only wanted to spread their joyful images around. (I didn't even know how to fully use that new DSLR at the time; but it worked).
    With that said, I am so grateful for the feedback you all have given me. You have truly prevented me from taking what could have been a most unforgiving legal dive. I confess, it hadn't even crossed my mind that those images could, in fact, be considered as assets of my former employer as John mentioned; therefore I have decided to not use/sell, but to keep the images to myself in my own personal album and instead proceed with new faces accompanied with model release forms.
    Thanks again, Lisa

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