I, like many of my friend, have recently joined facebook. Unlike Flickr it has drawn in a lot of people who are not normally of the technical persuasion. They think it is great to upload pictures usually of some drunken night where the participants look a little worse for wear. I recently noted to a friend that I like the tutu she was wore out one night. The only problem was I wasn’t there and I saw the picture from a non-mutual friend that tagged the image on her facebook wall. She was a little surprised and didn’t know that people could do that, but in this case it was innocent enough.
Like the early days of e-mail, i.e. when regular punters started using it (not the techie weirdos that usually play nice when it comes to computers) there were many stories of people hitting reply all instead of reply and the embarrassment that ensued from some off colour humour reaching the wrong person or persons. Over time the netiquette of e-mail has settled down and there are now less of these reply-all stories as people have learned either the hard way or some horror story.
The new netiquette comes to taking and posting photograph of other people to the internet. The examples are beginning to rack up. Just this week Virgin mobile in Australia have found themselves sued by a Texas family after their 16 year daughter, Alison Chang, was featured in a ad campaign. Virgin used an image that was uploaded Alison’s youth counselor that was released under creative commons. As a result of her image being they are seeking damages :
Claiming it caused their teenage daughter grief and humiliation by plastering her photo on billboards and website advertisements without consent
The technical legal details are abound. They correctly used the image under creative commons however they did not have a model release for for the feature participant. In the past it was usually the photographer that took care of this, but he/she was also a professional who living was selling of said photographs.
However while Virgin might find themselves on the wrong end of this one and will hopefully learn from it. I think the blame also reside with the person who uploaded the photograph, the youth counselor, Justin Wong. Blinding uploading pictures of other people without their permission is going to cause a lot of problems. Just because you don’t mind having your life laid bare on the internet for all the world to see doesn’t mean every body else feels that way.
As a result of cases like this and other emergent problems, I have been trying to educate friends and show them when and how they are leaking information that probably wouldn’t prefer. Also as a Flickr pro user I have marked all pictures containing people as visible to family and friend only, it is a shame that only flickr users can only be marked as family or friend.
It is a shame that Alison picture was used in that way by Virgin, I don’t think it was with malice just as a bit of a laugh and I hope that when she matures a bit she’ll find out that there are plenty of worse things in life. She may even be able to ride out the noterity, maybe she should take some notes from Britney Spears defender Chris Crocker, who went from been slagged off one day for his over the top YouTube video to been given his own MTV reality TV show.