Use of Photos in Documentation

Subject: Use of Photos in Documentation
From: Barbara Yanez <BarbaraYanez -at- cogentsystems -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 16:56:20 -0800

HI all

I checked the archives and cannot find anything on this topic.

My question is this:

Are there any legalities to using photos (of people) in documentation? The
software that I am documenting is one which facilitates the processing of
police lineups (mugshots, etc.) In order to "showcase" the software, we want
to show the photos, to show their great quality. One of our clients, a
police department, gave us some records to work with/"play" with in testing
the software.. I would like to include these photos, or some photos in the

I had originally put black boxes over the eyes, but several non-technical
communicators here told me they didn't like the way this looked.

You may ask, why can't I get photos of in-house personnel and get their
permission to use them? The reason is that in a list of lineup photos, there
are so many that by the time I did that I would never get the manual

You may ask, why don't you just ask the client (i.e., a police department)
if there are legalities to using them. The answer is (1) they may not know -
since this deals with their use in documentation, and (2) our contact person
at the client site - the one who gave us these records to work with, travels
extensively and it is hard to get a hold of her. I actually have a call in
to her but it may be several days and I cannot wait that long.

For other software which includes an occasional photo, I was told by an SME
who is no longer here that I could use photos off of FBI and other police
"wanted" sites, as those photos are "in the public domain." This was fine
for other documentation; I simply superimposed the images. However for this
software I want to use real photos - ones that the software retrieves. This
is easier than superimposing the images and in some cases having to stretch
them. This affects the quality.

So, my question is: Are there legalities to using peoples' photos? Should I
place a black box over the eyes? Or is this not a concern?

Many thanks

Barbara Yanez
Cogent Systems, Inc.
(626) 799-8090 x419
byanez -at- cogentsystems -dot- com

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