Q: Can we publish students’ names and photos online without parental permission, even when the students are minors? A: Yes. Many people mistakenly believe that parental consent is needed in order to identify students in a publication– be it print or online– but no federal privacy law requires such consent. If your school tells you there… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Parental permissions for photos of minors?
Q: We compiled a collage of screenshots from student’s instagram photos. The accounts are public. Is it legal for us to publish that collage? A: Assuming the photos are individually recognizable — that is, the subjects can be seen, for example, and you’ve used enough of the original photo that people would recognize it as the individual work… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can we use screenshots from a public Instagram account?
Q: Is my student newspaper legally responsible for online comments that someone outside of our organization may post? A: If the comments are made by outsiders and not your own staff, the Communications Decency Act provides legal shield to you and your website. These protections apply even if you are aware of objectionable content or voluntarily… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Is my newspaper responsible for comments on our posts?
Q: Is my newspaper legally responsible for online comments that someone outside of our organization may post? A: If the comments are made by outsiders and not your own staff, the Communications Decency Act provides legal shield to you and your website. These protections apply even if you are aware of objectionable content or voluntarily screen… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Do we have the right to reject advertisements?
Q: If a source provides me with an illegally recorded conversation or other piece of documentation illegally obtained, can I use the information in my article? A: It depends. If you and your media outlet did not ask your source to obtain the material illegally or otherwise take part in its acquisition, and if you received the… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can I use an illegally recorded conversation?
Q. We want to use soap opera titles, such as “Days of our Lives,” to head our yearbook sections. Any problems? A. This question has many popular variants. For example, can we use book titles (Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” is a perennial favorite) as our yearbook theme? Can we use movie titles… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can we use the title of a show as a headline or yearbook theme?
A: It depends. First of all, it is a good idea for your publication to have a policy on takedown demands or retractions. Many publications have a policy that is some variation of stating that there will be no takedowns or retractions unless something in the article is false. It is important to keep in mind… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Am I obligated to take down an embarrassing story if the subject of it asks?
Q: A minor at your school has been arrested of a crime you think is important enough to report on because it involves the student council president and has implications to your school and community. You have obtained the police report. A parent of that student tells you over the phone that they intend to… Continue reading Ask SPLC: A student was arrested, can I use their name in my story?
Q:We are putting together a highlight reel of our football team’s season that we’ll show on our school’s cable student TV station. Can we use Queen’s song “We Will Rock You” as background music? A: Unfortunately no. The general rule is that if you’ve not created a copyrighted work yourself you must either obtain prior explicit… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can I use a popular song for a video?
Q. Can I use copyrighted material (online or otherwise) as long as I properly credit the source? A. Simply giving credit (for example, “Photo courtesy of The New York Times”) usually isn’t enough. Unless you can make a fair use argument or unless you’re certain that material is not protected by copyright (for example, works… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can I use copyrighted material as long as I credit the source?