Take My Pictures Down...NOW!
by Sally Anne Taylor ~ source
The myths regarding your competition photos (and having 2nd thoughts about those camera shots of you in your thong on the forums) - and what to do BEFOREHAND to prevent those images from leaking out.
I can’t tell you how many requests we get every year from panicky and irate people who want their contest photos removed from our database, from the forums, and from Google searches. It’s usually women who find out that their current employer or a prospective employer doesn’t take kindly to photos of them in a bikini on the internet. Some of them even want their names taken completely out of a contest so to seem that they never competed at all. Then what do they do? They enter another competition a few months later and then demand that those get removed, as well. We even get threatened with legal action from time to time when we’re not quick enough to act on those demands.
MYTH #1 - Any image of me is owned by me and I can take legal action of any person or organization refused to remove my pictures.
When you fill out and sign an entry form for a bodybuilding, figure, fitness, physique, or bikini competition, you are giving the rights to the NPC and approved NPC media to take videos and pictures of you. From the NPC Nationals entry form:
“...And in further consideration of permission being granted to me to participate in the 2011 NPC NATIONAL Bikini Championships and its related events, I hereby grant the NPC and/or any other NPC-approved video or entertainment organization and all of their agents, successors, licensees and assigns, the right to photograph or otherwise reproduce (whether by film, tape, still photography or otherwise) my voice, appearance and name, and to exhibit, distribute, transmit, and/or otherwise exploit any and all media, including without limitation, by means of still photography, motion pictures, radio, television, video, printing or any other medium now known or hereafter devised, including with respect also to any merchandising, advertising and/or publicity, and the right to use my name and information about me in any connection with any of the foregoing.”
This means that if you don’t want your bikini photos online, don’t compete. The moment you sign that entry form, you gave away all rights to any image and they can be used in any manner to promote the competition - which includes our contest database.
If you’ve posted images of yourself on our forums (see Hotties of RX Muscle as a prime example) and are now regretting that decision - remember that YOU posted those photos in a public forum for the whole world to see. Getting all uppity with a moderator or an admin because they’re not jumping to remove your photos will get you nowhere. Please think before you act, and remember that you will have to live with all those decisions down the road when you need to apply for a new job with an employer who Googles you.
MYTH #2 - Those lazy peons from Rx Muscle agreed to take my pictures down, but it’s taking too long. I asked them almost 6 hours ago!
Untagging your photos is not as easy as finding a folder with your name on it and deleting it. It’s actually a pretty big pain in the ass to search for your photos and get them all untagged, which is why (if we agree to do it at all) we don’t put it at the top of our priority list. Let me explain how a show is built and your photos tagged so that you can better understand the removal process.
1. A photographer sits in the press pit for hours and takes your pictures. If it’s a big show, one of us is usually there to grab the camera card from Dan Ray between classes and put them on our computers where we size, watermark, and then upload those photos to our server on the fly. We do this as fast as possible because (1) we’re in competition with other news organizations and (2) we want to bring you coverage as fast as possible because that’s what we’re known for.
After the photos are loaded on the server, they need to be processed so that they show up in a folder to be tagged - which means we match the photo to a name. The photos are in order of how the competitors come on stage, so we look for your competitor number in the photo, which is usually named something like “DC1439.jpg”. We then look at the list given to us by the promoter and match up the number with a name, then tag the photo.
Dan Ray takes thousands of photos. At NPC Nationals, he can take upwards of 30,000 - 40,000 photos which all need to be tagged. When we have to untag a photo, we must go through hundreds of pages to find the class you were in and then find your photos. (Even when we upload classes separately to our server, they’re all lumped into the same folder - so a show with 700 competitors would have thousands of pages.) If you’ve competed in several shows and want them all removed, we have to go through each show to find your photos this way.
MYTH #3 - Once you remove my photos, they’ll stop showing up in google search. (or better yet) “You LIED about removing my photos! They still show up in Google Image Search!”
Google does something nifty called ‘caching’. They store, or archive old web pages and images, even if they site no longer exists. (Google Cache was declared legal and ruled a fair use in a district court.) This means that even if we untag your photos in our database (removing an association of your name from the photo called “DC1439.jpg”) it could still show up in Google searches with your name attached to it because Google indexed our contest gallery and stored those images and pages.
Something else to consider: Fans tend to right click and save images they like, and then repost them in blogs, on Facebook, on the forums, in photo albums, and on their personal web pages. We have no control over those photos and employers, family, etc will still be able to find them via a simple search.
MYTH #4 - Those guys at Rx Muscle are big meanie heads because they won’t remove my pictures!
Yes, we’re big meanie heads - but not for the reasons you may think. We’re not out to get you or get you fired. We worked damn hard to get that show built and tagged, and we’re all very proud of the fact that we have the biggest and most complete contest database on the internet. When we remove your photos from a contest, it makes double work for us and also makes our contest coverage incomplete. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to cover shows with the rights to take your photo. Even worse, when we get requests to remove your existence from a show all together, it throws off the results and we’re not reporting the contest correctly.
Now that we’ve dispelled some myths, let’s talk about what you can do to prevent your almost naked photos from being seen by employers and family.
1. DON’T COMPETE. This seems simple enough, but most people will ignore this advice and just assume that they can easily take care of it AFTER the fact. The bottom line is that maybe you shouldn’t be on stage in your skivvies if you know the photos taken could damage your career or a family relationship.
2. USE A FAKE NAME WHEN YOU COMPETE. Wow! I can use a fictitious name?! Who’d-a-thought?? Yes, promoters are more than happy to help you out if you let them know in advance that you want to compete, but need to take precautions to protect your career. When we get the list of competitors to tag, we’ll be tagging your photos with Jane Smith instead of your real name and everyone is happy.
After that, it’s your job not to blow your cover by posting a link to photos of Jane Smith on your Facebook and then saying “Hey, Guys, this is really me!”
Take My Pictures Down...NOW! - RX Muscle Mag