The main concerns when publishing photos are respecting people’s right to privacy, their right to control their own image and likeness and, in certain instances, protecting copyright.
Don’t assume all Location activities are public. Location activities can be considered private, public, or both. Certain ceremonies are much more private than others; therefore, don’t assume that pictures of people attending every single type of event are OK to publish on the Internet. For instance, don’t publish pictures of people standing in line for confession. If in doubt, consult the person in charge of your parish or school.Before you publish pictures taken in a public setting, determine if you need to obtain permissions. You may publish pictures taken in a public setting, such as on a public street, in a public park, or in a public building that is open to everyone at any time, as long as you don’t focus on a particular person, because people have rights to their privacy.A school fiesta is likely to be considered a public event so that those in attendance probably do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, the uncontrolled posting of photos (which may have been taken by anyone using a cell phone) on a giant screen or through a web app may cause embarrassment at a minimum or may actually invade privacy. Unlike the professional scanning of crowds at a televised baseball game or rock concert, where the contents are likely to be filtered before broadcasting, no one may be checking the school fiesta photos before they show up on the giant screen or the app. Nothing would prevent someone from taking pictures in a portable toilet, for example, and sharing those with everyone at the event. People can lack good judgment, so you should be cautious and filter the pictures before you post them.
First, disclose to those attending an event if you plan to take and publish any photos. A Disclosure Notice of consent to be photographed, filmed, or recorded should state that by being present, those in attendance agree to have their pictures taken and publicized. The posted notice must be prominently displayed, perhaps by using a large poster on an easel at the venue entrance of the event.If possible, ask people in the photos to sign explicit waivers allowing photo publication. Photos of people taken in private settings, such as small faith community meetings, may not be published on parish, school, or archdiocesan websites without the express written permission of the owners of the private location as well as everyone in the photos. See the Parent/Guardian Release for Student or Minor (Noncommercial) (English version and Spanish version) and Adult Release (Noncommercial).
Don’t automatically publish professional photography. Publishing photographs of weddings and other events where there’s an official photographer may have additional contractual issues of copyright and infringement on exclusive arrangements for publicity. Publishing these photos must be decided on a case-by-case basis and only after consultation with the families and professional photographers.
Publishing video recordings, regardless of their nature, raises a number of issues depending on the content of the video. Using music, text, images, and other content in the composition of the video recording often requires permissions and licenses.
For example, a Location video recorded a parish choir singing at a Christmas concert and the words and score were projected on a screen in the sanctuary. If the choir performed music written and published by the music director or a member of the choir, the location can simply ask that person for permission to publish the video, preferably in writing.If the choir performed music composed by someone who still retains the copyright, determine what permissions were granted to the choir by the copyright holder(s), who could be the original composer or someone else who purchased the rights. With music, copyrights may be held by the composer, lyricist, arranger, and/or music publisher. The copyright holder(s) could have limited permission to one performance in church only, with or without permission to record. Or the copyright holder(s) could have granted a much broader permission, which includes the right to post the performance on the Internet. If the copyright holder(s) did not include permission to post on the Internet, the location must obtain permission in writing before publishing. It’s possible that the location will have to pay royalty fees.On the other hand, if the choir performed music by Handel or Bach that wasn’t a special musical arrangement by a current copyright holder, there is no copyright. For works created after 1978, the copyright exists for as long as the life of the creator plus 70 years. For works created in the late 19th century though 1977, the laws are complex. It’s safest to assume that songs are copyrighted and obtain permission.The Location should also determine if the choir obtained permission to display the written score on the screen in the sanctuary. Usually, the publisher of a music score is different from the composer and the publisher has its own rights, including the right to limit republication. Therefore, the Location should make sure that the right to display the score includes the right to record on video and to republish on the Internet. If not, obtain permission and pay any required fees and royalties.Locations must obtain proper licenses or permissions for all materials used in a video production. This includes materials such as graphics, background music, plays, speakers, and other performers that may be incorporated into a video recording.
For additional information, see the Music Copyright and Guides to Licensing.Locations should also ask for and obtain permission in writing from the person(s) who made the video recording. They, too, have a copyright that must be respected. If the Location decides to retain its own videographer to record the event, use the Video Production Agreement to determine who owns the rights.
If an event is being video recorded, make sure that a sign of reasonable size (minimum 8.5" x 11") is posted in a visible location, disclosing that videos may be published on the Internet; see the Disclosure Notice Sample. If a notice was not posted, do not publish video recordings that include people who are identifiable; they have a right of privacy and should give their permission before you post their faces on the Internet. Don’t publish any identifying information about any minors without the written consent of the parents/guardians; see the Parent/Guardian Release for Student or Minor (Noncommercial) (English version and Spanish version).Don’t publish any identifying information about any adult without that person’s written consent; see the Adult Release (Noncommercial).