Legal issues of a user-pic based app?


I'm planning on creating a mobile app based upon the idea of allowing users to take self-portraits and having it shared in a dynamic public gallery (for say, dating purposes, or whatnot). Let's also say there will be application logic that would attempt to filter out any image that doesn't show one's face for more than 75% of the image area, and other potentially objectionable content contrary to my objectives (such as nudity).

Do I have any potential legal (or otherwise) challenges that I need to be aware of and be protected against?

Obviously, I would have to make it abundantly clear that I would require users to explicitly permit the pics they upload to be made public.

But besides that, for someone who is based outside of the US (I am from Manila), what other key steps should I take to ensure that I don't: a) get sued, or b) have my app banned from the Apple / Android market?

Legal Intellectual Property Privacy

asked Jan 22 '13 at 02:35
8 points
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  • Downvoter, explain why you did it? – Aldrich 11 years ago
  • While I didn't downvote you, most likely they chose to downvote because they felt that the question was not a suitable fit for OnStartups as it was more of a legal question. The question is also open and vague which could lead to conflicting answers and confusion about the focus. Perhaps editing to make a single specific question that will not require people to be giving legal advice will see more answers. – Tim Nash 11 years ago
  • Thanks for the response Tim, looking to edit the question. However, seeing as "legal" is one of the top three tags attached to questions on this site (along with "intellectual property") I thought it safe to assume that issues regarding IP resonates with many participants of OnStartups, and that the place is full of members who've undergone similar experiences. – Aldrich 11 years ago
  • +1 Seems *highly* relevant to startups in this facial photo-dominated era!! – Chelonian 11 years ago

1 Answer


"Should I be asking them in advance"?

No of course not. Most people like to have their pictures taken and made public without their knowledge of approval. They'll thank you later.

There are no legal limitations for adults as long as you ask for permission. The question is what you do with abuse? underage use? photographing someone else without his knowledge. You or your company can get into a lot of trouble if you're not protected.

What instagram did legally--- you should probably do to as they allow the same. snapping photos and making them public.

answered Jan 22 '13 at 04:06
Ron M.
4,224 points
  • Also, make sure you are registered with DMCA for take-down notices... Skipping that part can cost you some cash! Adkins 11 years ago
  • Ron, I would assume your second paragraph is tongue-in-cheek, and the third raises interesting points. I really should study Instagram. Also as I'm not well-versed in legal issues in the US, this brings me to what Brian Adkins has added. Is registering with DMCA the best kind of protection? – Aldrich 11 years ago
  • Brian, how does being based outside the US affect this requirement. Also am I as liable or less liable when issues arise? – Aldrich 11 years ago

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