You’ve just stepped out of the photobooth hire at a party having taken some amusing snaps with your friends or colleagues, a few seconds later the picture drops into the photo tray and you all walk away laughing at or admiring the picture taken.
The next day you wake up to find you have been tagged in the photo which is now all over Facebook. Unfortunately the photo was a little embarrassing and you wish that it wasn’t freely available for all to see – but what are your rights, who owns the copyright of your photobooth hire photos and what can you do about it.
It is widely understood and accepted that under UK law is acceptable for anyone can take a picture of anyone else in a public place, provided there was no harassment involved. However the law is not interested in the taking of the photograph but only with the publication of the resulting image. In the case of a portable photobooth hire these are rarely used in public places, being much more commonly found in party and event venues, which would be classed as private property.
So let’s start with the copyright ownership. As from 1989 the law states that the copyright belongs to the person who has taken the photograph. Quite simple when someone is stood in front of you with a camera, but what about a photo taken in a photo booth? Most photo booths with require some form of action to “take” the photo either by the pressing of a physical or “on screen” button in the booth. The copyright of the photo therefore then belongs to the person or persons who pressed the “button”.
Unfortunately many of the Photobooth Hire companies across the UK do not understand and appreciate the issues surrounding the ownership and publication of the photos taken in the booth and after the event will proceed to publish a full album of all the photos taken to their Facebook page for all to see and share.
This action being in breach of the rights of the people in the photos. Most of the photobooth hire software used by many of these companies unfortunately does not have the protective steps in place to prevent this from happening without gaining the prior consent of those in the booth prior to the photo being posted to Facebook.
Your Photobooth Hire Photos Online…
Firstly the photo booth hire company should not post the entire events album to Facebook. Where photos are posted to Facebook they should have received the prior consent of the subject(s) in the photograph.
We currently achieve this through our bespoke photo booth software used in all our booths that will give the option of “Print Your Photo” or “Print & Post to Facebook”. If selecting this second option the screen will then show a second screen requesting confirmation that the subject(s) are happy for the photo to be both printed and a copy sent to Facebook.
If you hire a booth that does not provide this level of protection for your guests but automatically posts to Facebook, both you and the photo booth hire company could be leaving yourselves open to complaints and issues surrounding copyright infringement.
So what can you do about photos of you that have been posted to Facebook, an online album or other social media sites? The first thing to do is to contact the photobooth hire operator and ask them to remove the album or individual photos, which they would have a responsibility to do – ideally do this in writing so that you have a record of your request.
If they refuse or do not take any action you would be in your right to insist they do and to advise that you will be seeking legal assistance to enforce your rights. This should have the desired effect. If it doesn’t then you will have the protection of the UK law to enforce your request through the courts.
A photo booth hire provides great fun and long lasting memories for you and your guests. With the latest software and steps in place to protect yours and your guests privacy they enable these moments to be captured and shared amongst friends relatives and colleagues for many days, weeks and even years to come and being safe in the knowledge that nobody’s privacy or copyright has been breached.
This post has been drafted with care but in no way constitutes legal advice. Photobooth.co.uk always recommends seeking professional legal advice where there is any uncertainty or risk of infringement.