[Foundation-l] Are model releases required for 'Free' content? (was: Sexual Content on Wikimedia)

Geoffrey Plourde geo.plrd at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 31 03:35:40 UTC 2009


I think that this is more of a Commons discussion. While I disagree with much of what you say, I agree that this class of image, by its very nature, requires more scrutiny. Serious thought should be given to a Nude Model Policy of requiring uploaders to answer about five questions under penalty of perjury. This would shift liability off of us in the event that someone uses Commons as a battleground and we get sued. 

From: Sam Johnston <samj at samj.net>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 4:18:32 AM
Subject: [Foundation-l] Are model releases required for 'Free' content? (was: Sexual Content on Wikimedia)

> Should we take no steps to protect people who have no wish to have their
photos published worldwide on a site owned by a charity devoted to

Or to put it another way, is an identifiable image of a person really free
if that person has not given a model release (irrespective of whether the
image is sexual)?

Virgin found out down under that this is not necessarily the case after
being sued for using a 'free' (CC) picture on Flickr[1] (also discussed
here[2] and here[3]).

Creative Commons simply excludes publicity rights from its scope[4], but
perhaps this is a good way for Commons (at least) to differentiate itself
from Flickr and other 'dumping grounds'. A good analogy would be having the
rights to a specific recording without the rights to the song itself.

I'm sure it's not the first time this subject has been raised, but now the
French chapter has dragged us into the world of commercial publishing it's
probably worth [re]considering. Perhaps it is enough initially to tag images
lacking releases accordingly, with a view to having them released or
replaced? I note that this would also dispense with many concerns about
minors by requiring a minor release by parents or guardians[5].


2. http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/7680
3. http://lessig.org/blog/2007/09/on_the_texas_suit_against_virg.html
4. http://wiki.creativecommons.org/FAQ#When_are_publicity_rights_relevant.3F
5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_release
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