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Smile! Your image is fair game at Orlando-area theme parksl

Orlando Sentinel

Original Article »

January 03, 2011

Every day, Orlando theme-park guests snap thousands of photographs, capturing friends and family in front of countless landmarks, such as Epcot's Spaceship Earth or Hogwarts Castle at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

In the digital age, those images zip around the globe, landing on websites or in other nontraditional formats. Magic Kingdom guests will see their faces projected onto the spires of Cinderella Castle during new nightly presentations this year.

Camera-shy visitors should assume their likenesses are up for grabs, whether at the hands of theme-park operators or fellow guests using social media.

It's part of being in a "public crowd scene" not unlike attending a football game, said Frederick Lane, an attorney and author of "American Privacy," a book that chronicles the history of personal privacy in the United States.

"Think of these guys who strip down to their chests in Buffalo and paint themselves," he said. "They're buying into this idea that they might end up not only on the Jumbotron but on EPSN."

Lane said he has no problem with a theme park saying if you buy a ticket, it can use your image within the park.

"That's just the tradeoff," he said.

Disney's "Let the Memories Begin" campaign will feature the castle promotion with images taken each day by PhotoPass photographers in the theme park. Folks who don't want fellow guests to see them way-larger-than-life will be able to opt out.

"Participation in 'Let the Memories Begin' campaign is voluntary," said Disney spokesperson Andrea Finger. Personal information submitted will be used only with the consent of the guest, she said.

If commerce becomes involved, responsibility shifts, Lane said.

"I think that there is probably a difference, or it would be perceived to be a difference legally, between a use of an image within the confines of the event that led to the image being taken and the use of the image in a much broader spectrum — for some kind of external advertising or imagine, as you easily could, a web page where there's just a slide show of happy faces," Lane said.

Disney has invited guests to submit vacation videos to a website, which indicates that all submissions become company property.SeaWorld Orlando also has solicited home videos, and Universal has encouraged its Facebook fans to submit photos from itsHalloween and Christmas events.

It's the responsibility of the consumer to read the terms and conditions, said Chad Emerson, a Faulkner University law professor who specializes in amusement law.

"If you're going to click 'I agree' on terms and conditions and then you don't want to, then bad on you — you clicked 'I agree,'" Emerson said.

If you have concerns about a submission being used in future attractions, merchandise or websites, ask questions, he said.

"You need to make sure that before you send it, you limit how they use it," he said.

On an individual level, if a theme-park picture of you is posted on another person's Facebook page, there's not much to be done.

"If it's someone who has posted a general crowd shot, and they're not doing anything else with it, then you're probably out of luck," Lane said. "That's just part of being in a public place, it could be taken anywhere."


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