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I am developing a website for my client, and the content for the site is usually provided by him. So in one particular case, my client provided me with images of "his employees". Now my question is:

  • What if he doesn't have the consent of his employees to use the image on the website?
  • Is there a possibility that I could be sued? Or will it be the client's problem to handle?
  • Also, in the future, do I add some clause into the contract that protects me from such cases?

I need to know what the general practice is.

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Your contract should have a clause that the client is responsible for ensuring all provided content is free of restrictions and the client is liable for any issues ensuing from content the client provided.

It's unlikely you would be liable, however, it's not absolutely impossible.

I am NOT a lawyer and this should not be seen as legal advice.

Note that even with such a contract clause, implementing something you know in infringement can still get you into trouble. Just ask the client, in writing, if they have permission to use the content. And get a response in writing. If the client tells you "Yes" then the onus is on them... if you are lied to, you have a written record of it.

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Agree with Scott that your contract should have a clause ensuring that any customer-suppled content is their legal responsibility.

It's possible that the client's employee contracts have a clause stating that their image may be used in their marketing - but you don't know that, and you shouldn't need to know about that. The client should also have model-release for each identifiable person in the photo, to indemnify them; again, unlikely.

Could you be sued? Yes... but unlikely. The (probably ex-) employee would sue their employer first, and you might get named in the suit (along with the hosting company), but a decent lawyer would swat it away as long as you were only doing what your client asked.

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