Legal question on Pictures??

  Madpad_001 20:53 25 Aug 2004


I am in the process of doing a web page for my work and One question I have is in regards to pictures of Kids. I want to put a family page on to the site which will contain pictures of familys with there kids, but I am worried about the legal aspect.(as well as other things) DO I need permission off the parents to upload the pictures or because no pictures of children will be without there parents in the shot, will verbal concent do?? I have no intention of putting any pictures up with out the parents concent but I am unsure where I stand on this.

I hope this makes sence to you all!!


  Taran 23:28 25 Aug 2004

You cannot, to my knowledge, publish images of a minor without prior consent. Unless things have changed recently, you need written permission from their parent or guardian. Make sure you protect the children and yourself from any possible backlash.

  Forum Editor 01:18 26 Aug 2004

A photographer automatically owns the copyright in an image he/she has created, and may publish it at will - even if the person in the photograph hasn't consented. This is the rule that enables newspapers to publish pictures of Film and TV personalities emerging from nightclubs a little tired and emotional. It's also the rule that means wedding photographers own the copyright of your wedding pictures - you don't unless you have arranged otherwise.

Images of children are no different - you may legally publish them without anyone's consent, provided you own the copyright, or have obtained a copyright licence from the original photographer or his/her agents or assignees.


Common sense dictates that you should proceed with caution. There's often a fine line these days between an inncocent image of a child and one which might appeal to paedophiles - and you should err on the side of caution. No decent person wants to risk offending a child or its parents by publishing images on the internet without consent, and it makes sense to ask first. A verbal consent is quite sufficient.

  Taran 07:39 26 Aug 2004

I was under the impression that written consent had to be obtained to publish images of children. Frankly, it's a relief to find that I'm wrong. Having gone out of my way in the past to obtain said publishing permission I'm rather happy to find that I don't really need to go to such lengths.

Thanks to Forum Editor for the clarification and my apologies to Madpad_001 for my misinformation above which, while well intentioned, was incorrect.

Best regards


  Madpad_001 08:02 26 Aug 2004

At least now I know where I stand but just to play safe I will still get permission off the parents before publishing any pictures.

But once more thanks you have been a great help.

  Micklemass 18:55 26 Aug 2004

Hello Madpad

Had a similar thought about a junior chess site I administer. Had the following from the Data Protection website after long discussions with parents and friends. Was going to trim it a bit but might have missed something important. Our main question was about childrens names being given. Even just a first name.

Reply -

"Thank you for your email of 20 May in relation to publishing children’s names on your website.

I visited your website at LPSCA as it was unclear what data you were publishing or in fact what LPSCA represented.

There are some data protection issues in this area. I think these are fairly covered in our published guidance, Disclosure of Examination Results by Schools to the Media. I enclose a link to this guidance click here, which I hope will assist. Further background on the Act is available from our website at click here .

'While this may seem, at first, not to be related to a dedicated chess site, I can assure you from feedback that there are a number of parents to whom any mention of Internet and their children conjure up frightening prospects. This is doubly so, where their photograph is placed on a website. I note this is the case with your own website.

In this context, I think the points made in the guidance would cover your situation. The key area here is in consultation. Although the Data Protection Act 1998 does not restrict individual rights by age, it is reasonably safe to assume that consultation would be preferable with parents as well as young people. It is really a case of explaining to individuals what is likely to happen to their data and allowing them to make representations.

The Act covers personal at which might identify a living individual. While an unattributed photograph may be argued does not identify a child, I would advise again, that those parents previously mentioned would be unhappy with any inclusion at all. Consultation again would be preferable. The act does not set out to prohibit valid uses of data – it merely regulates them so that individual's personal data is protected.

Compliance Officer


  Taran 21:52 26 Aug 2004

My own assumption that parental permission was a must for images of children is (or was) based on my college and its approach to this very topic.

We are not allowed to publish images of young children on our intranet or the public facing site at all without the full consent of both parent and student.

Like all education establishments we run a tight policy that all staff adhere to and this includes seeking the written permission outlined above, as well as going through the obvious steps of not including names with pictures or contact details and so on.

I had assumed that we did this not only for our students benefit but also because it was required of us by law for children, which probably goes a long way to explaining my first reply to this thread.

Whether it is required or not though, it certainly seems prudent.

  Forum Editor 23:02 26 Aug 2004

there's no legal requirement to seek parental consent before publishing an image of a child on a website, or indeed anywhere else.

Micklemass's letter from the compliance officer was in response to a question about putting childrens' names on a site - names form part of your personal data, and when linked to a photograph they can obviously be used to identify you personally.

Madpad's question was about images, and I repeat - you require no consent from anyone to publish an image of a person (whether a child or not), provided you either own the copyright, or have a licence to publish from the copyright owner.

The final paragraph of my original post should guide you however......use common sense, and you will be fine. Taran's college obviously takes the commonsense approach - the one that says if you ask permission to publish you can't go wrong. If tabloid newspapers did this they would never get an issue to press of course - they know that you don't need any permission to publish images of people.

Pause for thought and you'll realise how nonsensical the world would become if media companies had to obtain consent from every person in say a football crowd before they published the image in a magazine or on a web site. Suppose a press photographer took a picture of the Queen visiting a primary school and put it on a web site - could he/she possibly get the consent of the parents of every child before publishing the image? Of course not - and the law recognises that fact.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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