Privacy and copyright in communicating with images, what you need to know

gestione copyright e licenze con il Digital Asset Management

The management of photos and videos for communication activities has very significant regulatory implications. A social media manager, a communication officer or any other professional figure who needs to publish images where recognizable people are portrayed, cannot fail to know the laws that protect image rights, privacy and copyright . There are several cases in which an explicit assent to publication is required from the subjects photographed.

As we have seen in the copyright guide, a DAM software allows companies to use the images correctly, without infringing the copyright on the photos.

In this article we will see how to use Digital Asset Management to ensure privacy compliance.

What are images rights use allowed by the privacy

Before using a photo or video for business communication, you need to ask yourself a few questions: are there any recognizable facial images? In what context was the photo or video taken? Where required by law, has the person portrayed given consent to publication?

Being a photographer or videomaker, or hiring such professionals, does not automatically imply the right to use the images or videos produced. Publication is not always possible for reasons of image rights and privacy.

Based on article 10 of the Italian Civil Code, the right to leave one’s image known exclusively to the private sphere is guaranteed (right to privacy, the right to confidentiality of a person’s private life). A right to protect one’s image is recognized, for this reason one can oppose the publication of one’s portrait.

Article 96 of Law 633/41 on copyright also intervenes to protect the subject’s interest in preventing his or her image from being disseminated or publicly displayed, which states that “the portrait of a person may not be exhibited, reproduced or marketed without the consent of this, subject to the provisions of the following article.” It follows the need to have a release signed to authorize the publication.

In which cases, therefore, is it possible to use images without a specific release?

Below is the list of contexts that do not require prior authorization for publication:

  • If it is a famous person, published within the sphere of his notoriety, and for information purposes.
  • If the publication is for scientific or educational purposes. Obviously, given that the image must not be detrimental to the dignity of the person portrayed, also in this case the person can object, or request that the face be unrecognizable.
  • If the publication is motivated by justice or police purposes.
  • If the person’s image appears within an image of public events or events of public interest, and the person’s face is not isolated from the context.

In relation to privacy issues, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) must also be kept in mind.

Article 4 in point 14 mentions the facial image as “biometric data”, thus forming part of the scope of the European privacy legislation in force since 25 May 2018 and, in the following article 6, declares the processing of the data “lawful ” if the interested party has given his consent to the processing of his personal data.

Companies therefore find themselves operating within a varied regulatory framework, which places great emphasis on privacy.

How to respect image rights and privacy with Digital Asset Management

Disentangling between image rights, privacy and releases is far from simple and requires the support of some software. How does technology help companies?

Digital Asset Management uses specific metadata to describe attributes of interest to companies. The status of privacy is a necessary data for all companies that use images where people are portrayed.

Based on the reference legislation, we report below a possible classification of images/videos in the field of privacy:

  • Privacy status to check
  • Use allowed because they are photos taken during company events or because they are portrayed exclusively by staff members
  • Permitted use because these are photos taken before 1996
  • Use allowed because there are no people photographed
  • Use permitted because these are public events or events of public interest
  • Compliance with privacy legislation has been declared (and documentation is attached)
  • Compliance with privacy legislation has been declared (but there is no documentation)
  • Privacy compliance must be verified before use
  • Confidential information, for internal use only
  • Privacy information not available

If your company also needs to put its digital assets in order and manage photos and videos in compliance with privacy legislationcontact us now.

We will be happy to put at your disposal the experience we have gained on these issues, working with major brands such as Edison, Generali, WeBuild.


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