At last, common sense has triumphed with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issuing a press release confirming that the Data Protection Act 1998 does not prevent family and friends from taking photographs at school concerts or plays this Christmas, but that doesn’t mean little Johnny can appear in the next sweetie ad!

The ICO emphasised that photographs simply taken for the family album were exempt from data protection laws. The revised guidance for schools and local authorities gives advice on taking photographs in educational institutions, and explains that the Act is unlikely to apply in most situations where photographs are taken by parents in schools. What advertisers need to realise is that while the UK does not have image rights as such, therefore allowing the use of people’s image in advertising without consent in certain circumstances, the use of children’s images in a commercial context is extremely risky and unwise. This advice may seem like common sense too but image rights and ‘rights to publicity’ are a complex legal area.

For information on the use of celebrities and ordinary folk as well, please see our Guide.