Arkansas Governor Vetoes SB-79, the Personal Rights Protection Act

by Hugh Brownstone8 Comments

In this week’s installment of our just-created series entitled “How Many Abodiginals Do You See Modeling?” we share with you the successful efforts of the American Society of Media Photographers, the Movie Picture Association of America and the Digital Media Licensing Association to enlist Gov. Hutchinson’s support to defeat Arkansas Senate Bill 79.   This bill would have required a signed release by every single person captured in an image — which Hutchinson, reading the bill's language closely, said would lead to “an unprecedented extreme.” So Hutchinson vetoed the bill.  This is a good thing.

Depending on who’s saying it, either “God is in the details” or “the Devil’s in the details.”

And if you’ve seen ZOOLANDER, you know that our series is named after dim-witted male model Derek Zoolander:

Matilda: Derek, I don't know if you're familiar with the belief that some aboriginal tribes hold. It's the concept that a photo might steal a part of your soul. What are your thoughts on that if someone gets his picture taken for a living?

Zoolander: Well I guess I would have to answer your question with another question. How many abo-diginals do you see modeling?

Which begs the question: why was this bill written in the first place? How many Arkansasans care about this – and why? Are they worried about losing a part of their souls?

In any event, the details of SB 79 – which was ostensibly intended to protect individuals’ privacy and absolutely a critically important freedom — is where things got a bit out of hand. The bill’s language was so broad that it would have created a potential lawsuit nightmare for photographers and filmmakers — and a windfall for Arkansas lawyers.

Oh! I geddit.

Arkansas Wants Every Person In Your Photos to Sign a Model Release. Every. Single. Person.

Arkansas bill Via DIY Photography:

The next case in a seemingly never ending list of bills aimed at limiting photographers’ rights is SB-79 which was passed by the Arkansas Senate on Tuesday.

The bill aims to “Enact the Personal Rights Protection Act: and to Protect the Property Rights of an Individual to the Use of the Individual’s Name, Voice, Signature, and Likeness”, and according to the American Society of Media Photographers it “expands the individual’s Right of Publicity to an unprecedented extreme”.

The bill would require explicit written consent for photographers or videographers to include an individual’s likeness in a photograph that is used for practically any purpose within the state of Arkansas. Several Fair Use exemptions have been made, but they’re far from being ideal.

“SB-79 places an unprecedented burden on all photographers whose work could be viewed within the state of Arkansas to either get explicit consent from every individual whose likeness appears in all of their photographs or risk defending themselves in a lawsuit where they will have to shoulder the burden of proving the use of their photographs qualifies as an exempted use”, stated the ASMP, adding that the bill’s implications are “staggering”.

It also explained that a photo posted online for a use that would not require written consent anywhere else in the world could lead to the photographer being sued, if people can be recognized in the photo and it can be viewed in Arkansas.

Read full article at DIY Photography “Arkansas Wants Every Person In Your Photos to Sign a Model Release. Every. Single. Person.”


Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before


(cover photo credit: snap from DIY Photography)


  1. This bill only served to promote the notion that people in Arknsas are stupid hicks.

  2. This is absolutely insane.
    If this law is obeyed, this will effectively eliminate any photography in the state of Arkansas.
    Do they have any idea what this will do to their Chambers of Commerce or their Film Commission or their…?
    There is no way to enforce this. Everyone who has a camera or a smartphone will eventually wind up being a criminal.
    Stupid is as stupid does.

  3. Here is the real reason it was put into place:
    “The bill was authored by Sen. Jon Woods (R-Springdale) and Rep. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville). Leding said that it was prompted by the family of Frank Broyles, concerned about the potential use of his likeness for commercial purposes.”

  4. prestopaul2001 Really? A football coach’s family had that kind of political power?  What’s up with that?

  5. Does anyone know what the real background is? Was there some clearly irresponsible commercial use of the coach’s image that triggered this? Neither the DIY photo nor the Arkansas Times stories address it specifically, but it seems important to understand how this came about and what the actual issue was that led photographers and videographers to be thrown under the bus.

  6. eclux
    Supposedly some company created a grill/boiler product and used the word “Broyler” in it’s naming thus using the old ADs last name (Broyles). This triggered the action and bill. Not sure why the old rule of copyright wasnt good enough that they had to try and pass an insane bill.
    It was an insane and chaotic few days down here when it was going on. The whole wedding photography and videography industry was in edge.

  7. HughBrownstone prestopaul2001
    Unfortunately yes. He is good friends with Sen Woods so he used that friendship to get this started. I believe it was created to protect HIS legacy, name and likeness but the way the bill was wrote was so broad that it would have forced many to break the law, shut down, or more to other states.

  8. @photogoofer or state legislatures generally. Interesting to note that the bill went back to the committee for redrafting six weeks ago and hasn’t been heard from since, so common sense may prevail in the end.

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