Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Children's Acting Contracts in the Digital Age

Regular FOTs (Fan's Of Tony. Like it?) know that I have a son named Joe, and I put his accomplishments up here from time to time. Earlier this year, I posted a video of an elementary school dance festival where he & his classmates performed "Cotton Eyed Joe." Sad to say, this is the most popular thing I have on my YouTube account, but at 19,000+ hits (so far) it really makes him feel famous - and not in a "Star Wars Kid" way.

A guidance counselor from his school called this morning. She said a teacher found the video when Googling the school's name, and that she was concerned because a) someone could know our son's personal information from it, and b) the other parents have no idea that their children have been on YouTube. She said that they couldn't ask me to take it off, but they had concerns.

I removed all references to the school's name on my blog, Joe's blog, and the YouTube account. I told the guidance counselor that I had no idea how long it would take for the search tag to get out of Google's system. She seemed kind of half-happy with that solution (I'm pretty sure she wanted it taken off,) and again told me her worries about Joe's personal information (his name?) being on the internet. I thanked her and hung up.

Now, I am sure that this call was made out of genuine concern for my son and his classmates - though of course there's a bit of CYOA on the school's part involved. So here's a question. If you were a parent and you found out your kids were on YouTube from a school play without your permission or knowledge, would you be angry or would you shrug it off? If any parent contacted me and said they wanted it off, I'd do it. It just seems a very common thing on YouTube- people putting up their kids' school recitals, dances, plays, etc.

Anyone want a FOT t-shirt?



Anonymous said...

I've done the same with my kids but left out names and immediate location. In regards to other kids in the photos, it did cross my mind a parent might be angry but the 'no naming' makes it feel safer. Of course, if someone REALLY wanted to persue someone pictured, names and places could still be discovered. I wouldn't be angry if my kid was in your video, but it would scare me if they were personally named. The name of school wouldn't bother me.

Lou said...

If their names, addresses, phone numbers, SS#'s, birth dates, etc were on your blog, Joe's blog, or YouTube, I would have a concern. However, a school name associated with a play is not that big of a deal. No different than a graduation, football game, etc.

If someone REALLY wanted anything to do with those kids, a video of a school play is not where they would get their information. Social Engineering is how they would get it. A few phone calls to the "right" people, and your kids information has just been released.

My background knowledge comes more from computer security but the concept is the same.

Does the FOT shirts have a big ol' picture of you on it? Or at least your eye?

Knitting Painter Woman said...

Paranoia runs deep
Into your heart it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
Step outta line, the Man come and take you away

~ Steven Stills and Buffalo Springfield, 1967

That's what I thought of when I read your post. Parents need to PAY DIRECT ATTENTION to their kiddies and PROTECT them... rather than worry about virtual bogey men who can't do anything if the parents are paying sufficient attention.
(Though I agree with Lou that Identity theft info should be confidential!!

Tony LaRocca said...

Joe had his Christmas concert last night. The school gave a disclaimer before hand, that any pictures or videos parents take are for their family's enjoyment ONLY and are NOT (we repeat, NOT) to be put on YouTube! Just a bit of CYOA, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Oh blah. Australia had that copyright law in effect a year ago and said it was going to become world wide. Guess your school is on top of things which isn't so bad ... I guess.

imwithsully said...

I guess it isn't a bad idea for the school to protect themselves by addressing the issue. But, they should also pay attention to Flickr, Kodak, Shutterfly and all those other photo sharing sites too. Not to mention personal blogs with quicktime movies or cell phone clips. But, I am more concerned with the irresponsible parents who don't pay attention to the sign on the school door that says "don't hold the door open for others". They are just as much to blame for needlessly putting children in danger.

Ginger*:) said...

And yet we publish pictures of children with school names, their names, and what they have accomplished in our Newspapers. Gosh we can't wait to get them in there. Does anyone say no to the New York Times?

On the other hand, when I post children's pictures on the internet, I don't use names and I always get parental permission. This goes for some adults too.

Now, about those Tee shirts.....