First of all, please think of this article as a tool to help you adapt to your events based on the situations you face (requests and needs of clients, suppliers, guests, etc.) and avoid seeing it as immutable law.
Let’s start at the beginning. Before we tackle this subject, everyone needs to be on the same page. The right to one’s own image is derived from the right to privacy. Ipso facto, any person has the option of appealing to their own anonymity and privacy when it comes to the public dissemination of their image. Following this first fundamental principle, everyone agrees to respect and control the use that is made of their own image.
Yes, BUT! Every person armed with a cell phone that has photo/video capability is now a content creator. Controlling the dissemination of one’s image can sometimes become a complex affair, and here, together, we will be seeing a few exceptions that make it possible to dissect who, when, and where we can broadcast what!
When it comes to events, image rights boundaries become slightly blurred. There is a distinction to be made between private and public events.
Public event: concert, cultural event, demonstration, etc.
When a person participates in a public event, say Osheaga – a major event, every second of which is captured by drones, photographers, and videographers, that person provides tacit consent. Taking part in a public event implies that a person’s image can be disseminated locally or even internationally. Wow, information circulates so quickly now that our faces can appear on the other side of the world.
Tacit consent also applies to public places. Imagine you go on holiday in Rome – which we hope you do – and you find yourself in front of the Fontana di Trevi, where a thousand tourists are milling about with their cameras. Have you ever wondered how many tourist photos your face ends up appearing in? We all help draft the stories of people we meet, even those who only meet us by taking pictures. And vice versa! In any case, the term “public place” implies that these spaces belong to the community.
Private event: all services or gatherings that are closed to the general public.
In this circumstance, you must consider that, without permission, someone else’s image cannot be published. However, there are numerous exceptions. Events are a communication tool in their own right, so it is quite normal to want to radiate a gathering’s excellence by displaying its joys to the world.
In the context of a private event, as soon as a person is recognizable and that person is the subject of a photo, the authorization of this same person is required for dissemination of that photo to the general public.
Lulu Events’ advice?
You cannot ask all 500 attendees at your conference to sign a four-page authorization form stating that they might appear in a broadcast. No, no, no! In order to ensure that your broadcast notice is clearly seen by the entire assembly, use standing sign holders to ensure that all guests are advised of a potential likeness broadcast.
If your invitation is digital, you can also attach a form detailing your event’s broadcast and sharing settings: is it going to be broadcast? Will it be posted to social networks?
Regarding the dissemination of your visuals, favour those who do not feature anyone head on and center frame, except with express written permission.
What types of photo are not problematic?
Private events have a specific target audience. Galas, conventions, fundraisers, etc., are not necessarily meant for the general public, so they can potentially be more intimate depending on the pursued objectives.
So, to recap: your guests have the right to protect their anonymity. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to the dissemination of other people’s likenesses, especially when your goal is to feed the communications efforts of your company/brand!
Always announce that an event will be recorded and broadcast. In the meantime, keep the following quote in mind to aid you:
“It is not legal to publish, without consent, the photo of a recognizable stranger who is the main subject of that photo, if it was not taken in the context of an event of public interest.” — Francis Vachon, photographer and photojournalist from Quebec City.
Researcher : Maëlle Advocat-Courageot