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.
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.
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(cover photo credit: snap from DIY Photography)