Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I found this to be very interesting because of the contrast with what I had learned previously about photography and privacy laws.
I've been through journalism school and we were always told that the standard was "Expectation of Privacy".
For example, if somebody is walking down the street, they are in the view of the general public. If I take a photo of that person walking down the street and post it online, I'm adhearing to the same standard that he was, I'm just showing the image to a wider slice of the public.
On the other hand, if I post the picture and say that his name is "such and such" as well as his address and phone number, that's actionable. Nothing in his appearance condoned the release of that information and he has a reasonable expectation of privacy towards that information.
This, by the way, is why the press can be more intrusive with celebrities. They're much more public figures and a lot more of thier lives are commonly known. If I post a picture of the President and say that "He lives at the White House, here's the phone number", it's not exactly a secret.
I can see why many libraries are being carefull. In dealing with the general public, it's always better to have that "Extra Mile" worth of Ettiquette. But, if the event that you're photographing took place out in the pubic, written consent forms are a bit much.
Furthermore, I don't think that privacy would be much of an issue in using photos from Flickr. Because it's been posted into the public domain, any privacy (Or copyright) issues would be targeted at the person who posted them. Any person or institution that used the photo afterwards (Such as a library for a school report) would simply be an innocent bystander.
Finally, I found that I preferred Flickr over Picasa simply because of the fact that with Picasa, you have to download a program. If I was a hardcore photographer, I might prefer the software. But, for a casual user (Like me and, I suspect, most of the rest of the public), you just want to get a picture for particular purpose, leave and be done with it. In that case, the software is just one more thing to clutter my computer.
The photo that I chose from Flickr? No special meaning. I just chose it because it looks cool.