Wedding Photography in Arkansas: An (Almost) Disaster

Earlier today, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed Senate Bill 79, the THE PERSONAL RIGHTS PROTECTION ACT.

Back on March 24, the Arkansas Senate passed SB-79, “To Enact the Personal Rights Protection Act: and to Protect the Property Rights of an Individual to the Use of the Individual’s Name, Voice, Signature, and Likeness.”

This bill expands the individual’s Right of Publicity to an unprecedented extreme.

SB-79 would have required still and motion photographers to get explicit written consent to include any individual’s likeness — not just celebrities but anyone — in a photograph that is used for virtually any purpose within the state of Arkansas except those uses specifically exempted as Fair Use within the bill.

In short, had this bill passed, this could have been a disaster for myself and just about any of my fellow wedding photographers in Arkansas.

In its simplest terms, this bill would have required me to get written permission and waivers for ANY person in ANY photo depicted on my website, blog, or social media page. As you can imagine, gaining permission from wedding guests that could easily exceed over 200+, this would have been nearly impossible. I would have spent the entire wedding day gathering signatures, not doing what my clients hired me to do: Take great photos!

Thankfully hundreds, if not thousands, of photographers (both motion and still) voiced their concerns to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and our voices were heard loud and clear.

So I'd like to thank you Governor Hutchinson for doing the right thing. I think most of the wedding photographers in Arkansas would agree with me in saying that had this bill become law with it vague and confusing language, this would have made our jobs as wedding photographers very, very difficult. And in some cases, changed the way we do business. Thank you again!

Now we can all get back to what we do best.

Photo and letter courtesy of Asa Hutchinson's Facebook Page