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Virgin Mobile Sued Over Youth Group Photo

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Eric Smith pointed out this fascinating controversy over a photo taken at a youth group event and Virgin Mobile Phones. Here's a clip of what happened:

A Dallas family has sued Australia's Virgin Mobile phone company, claiming it caused their teenage daughter grief and humiliation by plastering her photo on billboards and Web site advertisements without consent.

The family of Alison Chang says Virgin Mobile grabbed the picture from Flickr, Yahoo Inc.'s popular photo-sharing Web site, and failed to credit by name the photographer who took the photo.

Chang's photo was part of a Virgin Mobile Australia campaign called "Are You With Us Or What?" It features pictures downloaded from Flickr superimposed with the company's ad slogans.

The picture of 16-year-old Chang flashing a peace sign was taken at an April church car wash by Alison's youth counselor, who posted it that day on his Flickr page, according to Alison's brother, Damon. In the ad, Virgin Mobile printed one of its campaign slogans, "Dump your pen friend," over Alison's picture.

The ad also says "Free text virgin to virgin" at the bottom.

So what types of precautions do you think youth pastors should be taking when posting photo’s online. Are there ways to protect against something like this happening? Interesting, if probably isolated, incident.


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:58 PM |

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At 9/22/2007, Blogger Matthew McNutt said...

Wow ... that's awful. I actually recently switched most of my online youth stuff to the evil myspace. lol I actually decided it was the best combination of safety and ease of use ... as well as popularity. Kids can get permission slips, etc., off the page - anyone can see the upcoming events, meeting times, etc., but all of the photo albums are set to be viewed only by friends of the page ... and I'm only letting teens (or parents of teens, if they want to) from my community be on the friends list. So now I've got hundreds of events pics online, the kids can comment on them, and no one else can see them (like Virgin or predators). Maybe not the best solution, but maintaining a myspace page is soooo easy, and all of the kids in my group use it, so it's a great way to post bulliten reminders to them, etc.

At 9/22/2007, Blogger Matthew McNutt said...

Oh, btw, here's the link; www.BoothbayTeen.com if you want to see it. : )

At 9/22/2007, Blogger Big Mike Lewis said...

I know we want to show our cool activities online, but I really don't think we should EVER put pics of kids on our websites.

At 9/23/2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All photos posted to Flickr automatically receive a copyright notice unless the poster specifies differently. Therefore, beyond the youth group implications, what we have is an example of an increasing online problem: ad agencies blatantly ripping off artists just because their work is online.

Wait a minute, aren't the big companies always complaining about the little guy stealing their stuff online? I guess they figure a little turnabout is fair play.


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