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Respecting portrait rights and privacy

When you intend to use portrait pictures, videos, or pictures of events, you must ensure that the portrait rights and privacy rights of the people depicted are properly respected. Most importantly, you must ask and obtain permission to take portrait photographs. And at events, you must inform visitors and participants that they may be photographed or filmed.

Their main purpose is not to impose rules but to give you tips and tools to use photography responsibly.

Tilburg University Privacy Statement

Policy on portrait rights and privacy

Dutch Copyright Act and GDPR

Publication of photographs and other visual material is subject to the EU GDPR (General Data Protection regulation) as well the Dutch Copyright Act (in Dutch: ‘Auteurswet’).

As a rule, photographs of natural persons (GDPR: ‘data subjects’) are personal data and virtually every operation performed on such photographs, such as saving them on a computer or selling them to third parties, constitutes personal data processing – and any such processing is subject to the GDPR. The GDPR does not apply if the natural person in the photograph is neither directly nor indirectly identifiable. A person is considered identifiable if their identity can be established without disproportionate effort.

Our policy

Photographs, videos, and photo-shoots commissioned by the University depicting natural persons recognizably may only be used in the University’s means of communication (such as the website or a brochure) if these persons have given the University their permission to do so. This permission is demonstrable, for instance by means of a filled out Portrait Rights Statement (see below), or an e-mail. It must be clear to the person(s) depicted in the photograph for which purpose the photo/video will be used and, in the case of a portrait photo, how it will be stored, for how long, and together with what personal data (metadata). In addition, any depicted person has the right to withdraw their permission for use of the photo/video at any time and they should be informed about how they can do this. A general statement on how to go about making an objection is published on the website.

Portrait photos, photoshoots or video interviews

Asking permission

For portrait photos and video interviews, ask any person to be depicted for their permission in advance, specifying the purpose and/or intended use as well as how the picture(s) will be archived and how the person in question can object to a published picture at a later date. You can use the Portrait Rights Statement for this purpose. It is the responsibility of the person who commissions the photograph or video to take care of this, not that of the photographer or videographer.

The completed and signed Portrait Rights Statements should be archived in a safe and accessible way, for instance on Sharepoint. Following its digital archiving, paper Portrait Rights Statement can be destroyed. After about five years photos and videos usually become too old to be used in communications both the photo and its archived data can be destroyed.

Children under sixteen

For portrait and group photographs (or videos) of under sixteens, you need to arrange for permission from parents/carers/supervisors. If you cooperate with a school, you can ask about their policy and procedures and come to an arrangement.

Children who are not allowed or do not want to be depicted could be seated separately, or given a clearly visible sticker on their clothes, or be given the option not to take part in a special photo session.

Photographs of events

Asking permission

In photographs of events people are often recognizably depicted, particularly when such photographs are shared on social media with contextual information. This type of photograph is therefore likely to be subject to the GDPR. Since obtaining individual permission is sometimes difficult, you can ask people for permission in advance whenever possible, mentioning the purpose of the photography. You can do so in the invitation for the event, or in the registration form, or on an information stand at the entrance or registration desk.

Opportunity to object

Give people the opportunity to object to being filmed of photographed, for instance by means of a providing them with sticker on their clothes, and inform them about how they can object at a later date. Instruct the photo/videographer to not take recognizable pictures of people who clearly object.

If there is any doubt about whether the persons depicted have given their permission, do not use the picture. As a rule, we do not manipulate photographs or videos to make people unrecognizable.

A general statement on how to go about making an objection is published on the website.

Archiving photographs

Only archive photographs that can be re-used and for which permission has been given, for a standard period of 5 years and a maximum period of 10 years, in a restricted (that is to say, not publicly accessible) account. Provide every photograph or folder containing photographs with information specifying the recording date, the commissioning employee, and the photographer (these data can also be found in the Portrait Rights Statement). Do not archive (i.e. destroy) photographs not suitable for re-use.

Tips and examples

Announcing photo and video recordings in advance can be done in several ways:

  • in the invitation;
  • on the webpage of an event;
  • one or more (reusable) stands with info on A4/A3 (at the registration desk, for instance)
  • on small cards to distribute
  • at the beginning of the program (for instance as part of the announcements on welcoming the audience).

Some examples of providing means to object:

  • Make clearly visible clothing stickers (/ badges / key rings on a cord) available for people who do not wish to be photographed;
  • Reserve a special section for people who do not want to be photographed or recorded on video;
  • Make sure the photographer is recognizable as a university photographer, for instance by means of a badge or key cord. In this way, people who want to object can more easily do so on the spot.

Example of an announcement:

Pictures will be taken of this event for promotion purposes of Tilburg University, for example on the Internet or on social media. If you do not want to be recognizably depicted in photographs, you can make this known by sticking an objection sticker to your clothes. These are available at the registration desk. You can also express your objection to the photographer(s). These can be identified by their Tilburg University badge. If you wish to object against publication of a photograph or video recording at a later point in time, please contact us through communication@tilburguniversity.edu. Regular press coverage of this event is not subject to this policy; Tilburg University is not responsible for press coverage by others.

Example of a stand announcement:

Pictures will be taken of this event by the university for reporting and / or promotion purposes. If you do not want to be recognizably depicted in photographs, you can make this known to the event organizers. See also our privacy statement.