Protect Independent Third Party Contractors in Rhode Island from Liability and Lawsuits.

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Toni Mills started this petition to The Rhode Island State House, The Rhode Island State Senate, and Governor McKee

DID YOU KNOW IN RHODE ISLAND independent contractors can be sued if they use a person’s name, portrait, or picture that their client provided to them, for use in the client's company promotional material?

UNDER CURRENT RHODE ISLAND LAW, when a client provides an independent third-party contractor with a “person’s name, portrait, or picture” (e.g. photographs of employees that are company owned assets) for use in the company’s media for commercial use (e.g., print, website, social media, video), without that person’s permission – the contractor becomes liable and can be sued! 

AS A FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGNER and website administrator I was added as a defendant to a lawsuit and sued because a client's ex-employee was in group employee photographs on the client's company website. I had created the website using photographs provided to me by the client. The client did not have written permission or a signed release from the ex-employee.

ANOTHER INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR was also added as a defendant to the lawsuit as the social media manager. The ex-employee was in a group employee photo on the company Facebook page. The social media manager did not post the photograph, in fact she was not hired until 3 years after it was posted. Regardless she was sued, and had to hire an attorney and defend herself.

THE EX-EMPLOYEE’S LAWYER claimed the current statute allowed him to seek damages from all parties who worked with the unauthorized material or managed the platform they were on.

AS INDEPENDENT THIRD PARTY CONTRACTORS hired to work on a company’s website and social media accounts, we should not have been held liable for actions (or omissions) that were out of our control. In this case the responsibility was on SHS Pest Control, the employer, to have signed releases and permission from all employees for photograph usage both during and after employment. It was not our responsibility as hired contractors to ensure SHS Pest Control had those releases.

To put the responsibility, and liability, on hired contractors to ensure there are written releases from every person, in every photograph, used in all client media, would be impossible! The responsibility and liability should STOP with the client to have signed releases and permissions for materials they supply to a hired contractor to work with.

AT MY REQUEST, Bills have been introduced in the Rhode Island House (H5877) and Senate (S0535) to add amendments to the current RI Law. The amendments will exempt independent third party contractors from such liability and lawsuits when using materials supplied to them by a client who hired them.

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION requesting the Rhode Island State House and Rhode Island State Senate approve the passage of these Bills, and for Governor McKee to approve and sign the Bills so they pass into law this year. THANK YOU.

PLEASE SHARE and spread the word with your social media networks. If we all add our voices, together we will be heard!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!