Who owns problematic footage of 5-year-old me?
April 28, 2012 9:58 AM   Subscribe

I just found some video footage of 5-year-old me on Youtube. It was definitely not posted by my parents. It also features nekkid hippies (I am dressed). Who owns that footage?

Something like 8 years ago, I was interviewed for a documentary about a Pagan hippie church my family belonged to when I was a kid. The documentary never really went anywhere (though it was apparently finished; I just found it on IMDB). Recently I looked myself up on Google (like you do) and there was the interview on Youtube, along with a few other clips from the movie. Mostly I was amused (Hi scrawny college Nibbly!). But there was also a clip of 5-year-old Nibbly surrounded by a bunch of dancing naked hippies. I wasn't being traumatized or anything--I remember the event and it was fine. But I had zero idea this footage existed, and it definitely wasn't shot by my parents. (I don't know who filmed it... but my best guess is a local guy who is dead now.) I signed a waiver for the interview, but not for the archival clip.

Right now the Youtube clip is the first thing that pops up if you Google my (distinctive) real name. I've worked in childcare off and on, I'm about to start a job search (in conservative Louisiana), and I'm really concerned about potential employers seeing the clip. When I track down the filmmaker's info, I plan to ask them to take my interview off Youtube. Do I have any legal rights here, or am I limited to asking nicely?
posted by Nibbly Fang to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Did your parents sign a waiver? That might matter.

Is your name embedded in the video itself or in the text of the video description?

I'd send a YouTube message to the person that posted it asking them to take it down. If your name is in the text, ask them to remove that too.

If you need phrasing say that you and your parents didn't authorize the video to be taken and you're uncomfortable with a minor being in the film without permission.

Chances are they'll be nice and take it down.

If they don't, elevate it to YouTube itself.
posted by k8t at 10:10 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Did the filmmaker post the clip? It might be better to just ask the uploader to take your name out of the description or title. If he won't then yes escalate it to Youtube itself. The uploader or filmmaker may want the clip there for promotion purposes.

Still, it could be neat to download that clip for yourself in case it disappears for any reason. There are various ways to do it, or memail me and I'll get it to you.
posted by caclwmr4 at 10:13 AM on April 28, 2012

I truly doubt that future employers will hold you accountable for anything you did when you were 5 years old. You still might want to have it taken down, but employment really shouldn't be a concern.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:13 AM on April 28, 2012

Response by poster: Yes, my full name is the title of the clip on Youtube, and appears as "Nibbly Fang, former Church member" on intertitles within the film.

I'm pretty sure my parents did not sign a waiver and are not aware of the footage.

The filmmakers put up the clip themselves. Thanks for the offer of download help, I'll memail if I can't figure it out.

The reason I think it could be an issue is because I work with kids. "Grew up in freaky Pagan naked sex church" is the kind of thing that can cause problems when you apply at a daycare.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 10:23 AM on April 28, 2012

I would assume employers might just think it's someone else and not you. It's not like they know what you looked like when you were 5. Also, the chances of them coming across the footage and digging that deep I think are slim. I agree with blaneyphoto that employers won't hold you accountable.. it's also nothing drug/alcohol/sexual related content.

If you do want to get your name removed you would need to contact the author or poster and ask that your name be changed. If they don't respond you can always contact YouTube and report the movie. It just might take awhile for google to stop phishing the video.. so consider your time frame of applying for the job as well.
posted by melizabeth at 11:46 AM on April 28, 2012

The reason I think it could be an issue is because I work with kids. "Grew up in freaky Pagan naked sex church" is the kind of thing that can cause problems when you apply at a daycare.
posted by Nibbly Fang

Even if you do work with kids (I'm an Elementary School Teacher btw) its just not reasonable to assume that something you did at 5 years old is going to prevent you from being being employed. At 5, your decisions are being made for you. So even if you did grow up in a crazy culture, there are certainly much more strange/crazy/dangerous groups out there. Heck, I think you'd pretty much have to appear in an al-Qaeda bomb building instructional video for anyone to care what you did at 5.

Is it weird and probably embarrassing, I'm sure - so yeah, see if you can get it taken down. But definitely don't lose any sleep over it.
posted by blaneyphoto at 12:35 PM on April 28, 2012

Example - here's a model I worked with who is also employed in the NYC school system. If this isn't holding him back, then there's little to be concerned about
posted by blaneyphoto at 12:39 PM on April 28, 2012

Content with nudity may be a violation of the YouTube community guidelines.
posted by iviken at 12:47 PM on April 28, 2012

Yes to the above video advice. You can download it on keepvid.com if you want to keep a copy. But really:

You need to work on your online presence. Set up a LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook (assuming they are appropriate profiles), etc, that will pop up before the weird video. Set your Facebook settings appropriately, and keep your profile pic as something employer-friendly. Keep your Twitter nice and clean and attached to your full name. Get your resume on LinkedIn and connect with people you know.

Nobody is in full control of what others post about them online but having these other items set up can help ward off future problems to.
posted by manicure12 at 10:53 PM on April 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, everybody! I've found some contact info for the filmmakers, and I'm going to ask them to take the clip down. I will also work on my online presence. Thanks for taking the time to answer this.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 10:31 AM on May 1, 2012

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