But many of us who publish websites that cover the Disney theme parks are noticing rule (f) under "Prohibited Activities" — "Photography, videotaping, or recording of any kind except for personal use."
This is a change from past rules, which barred commercial photography without permission from the company. Now anything that is not "personal use" is prohibited. Which, plain language suggests would include posting photos on any social media platform. After all "social" is not "personal." If you're putting a photo online, where millions of people might have access to it, that's not "personal use."
So much for "Show Your #DisneySide." Now, if you post a photo that you've taken inside a Disney theme park to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or even Theme Park Insider, you have violated Disney's park rules. Disney doesn't say on its rules page what the sanction for violating its rules might be, but let's just say I am not holding my breath waiting for Disney to cancel the tickets of people who post their Disney photos to Facebook.
In which case, why have a rule if you know you won't enforce it? Why have a rule that your own publicity department has been openly encouraging your guests to violate? (Just a reminder that there's still time to vote in Disney's contest for the best photos taken by guests inside Disneyland!)
For what it's worth, Universal Orlando's posted Policies and Restrictions say nothing about photography. Nor does SeaWorld Orlando's policies page. (Tickets and signs at the park entrance might include restrictions, but I am not in Orlando and can't check that today. Anyone on site with a report?)
It's understandable that theme parks would not want to allow commercial film and photo crews to work in their parks without permission. When I was part of a commercial shoot for Google at Knott's Berry Farm last year, Google had to secure permission from the park to bring in its film crew. When I cover press events at various parks, I have to agree to abide by parks' restrictions on where I can and cannot shoot and film. (Here's an example: I've seen some great close-up views of the construction on Universal Studios Hollywood's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is being built within a few yards of the park's employee entrance. But I couldn't take photos from there because I have agreed with Universal, and at every park I've ever covered, not to take photos when I am in backstage areas.)
But banning all photography by everyone that is not for "personal" use? In a social media era, that's just lazy legalese. It ain't gonna happen. Disney's not going to stop encouraging people to use social media to build buzz for its theme parks, nor should it.
For more than a decade, we've campaigned here at Theme Park Insider to promote theme park safety. We've encouraged people to take responsibility to keep themselves and their families safe while visiting parks. As part of that campaign, we've encouraged visitors to abide by all posted park rules.
We would like to be able to continue to do that. But theme parks make it hard for us to encourage people to follow their rules when those parks publish "rules" that the parks themselves openly encourage their visitors to break.Tweet
Same goes with any other social media service.
BTW, I consider e-cigs to be far less offensive than regular ones. I can handle the smell of flavored steam. Let em live.
Also, in the interests of disclosure, I have gotten permission from Disney to use here on TPI and in our guidebooks photos that I have taken in the parks as well as ones have been submitted to the site from TPI readers in the parks. So the old "no commercial use without permission" standard wasn't an issue for us because we had that permission.
But the new policy makes no exception for such permission. The next media event should be interesting!
However, I was told that I would need permission from the park to interview park guests about the ride on camera and there was no-one on a Sunday to give me permission. How does this different from posting photographs? OK, I understand that the park is private property but don't understand the prohibition about interviewing riders. I would have thought that if people raved about the ride in a video, this would be very much to the park's advantage. What am I missing?
I suspect most courts of law could easily distinguish between 'personal' and 'commercial'. If I post pictures to my Facebook page as a happy record of my time at the most magical place on earth that's 'personal' irrespective of how many adverts are being carried on the site around me. If I post the pictures to my online clothing store to show how the fantastic range of clothes I make are ideal for walking round the most magical place on earth that's 'commercial'.
And as for e-cigarettes I no more want people blowing vapour into my face than I do smoke - it's still anti-social. And as a hotelier myself I should also point out that e-cigarette vapour can activate the fire alarms just as effectively as real smoke, hence why we ban them inside the building.
If you're going to smoke anything, do it in the privacy of your own home.
Disney is more likely to go after Facebook and Youtube than the individual unlike the cases where individuals are sued for using music that belong to the publising company. Disney is well positioned to take many people to court, but they haven't.
Is Disney inaction means an individual is flouting the rules? Not necessarily. It just means most people are not breaking the rules.
If you are breaking the rules, I am sure Disney will send a warning letter from their lawyers. I think Disney is more tactful in how it resolves its intellectual property concerns than other companies. That's why you don't see that unofficial Disney movie anywhere. It completely disappeared.
I don't like that many communities and companies discriminate against e-cigarettes when they are helpful to break the smoking habit. Perhaps they deserve a special spot where e-cigarettes can be used away from other smokers. It's sort of like a drinker tries to stop drinking alcohol by drinking non-alcoholic beverages (O'Douls for example), but told they can only do this at the bar. How long before they are tempted to drink again?
On a side note, is Disney now allowing adult guests to wear costumes outside of the Halloween Party? Check rule C under "Prohibited activities".
However, a complete ride video is something else because it's a spoiler.
So this will be the last try.
The reason for this rule has to do with copy write.
When you post a photo on Facebook you give up the copy right to it and Facebook owns the photo. It's hidden in the terms of service. Facebook uses your photos for marketing and advertising. Disney does not want Facebook using photos of the Park and making money. With this rule it makes those photos " illegal" photos and non of the Big social media company's can claim ownership of park photos.
Thats the short of it.
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Whoever wrote that rule needs to understand why we share photos of our trips to Disney Parks on the internet.
I wouldn't be surprised if some of my Instagram photos will be taken down if they start enforcing this crappy rule.