I will be giving a talk in a virtual event and it will be recorded and uploaded on YouTube. I wanted to thank 2 professors who helped me during the preparation of it, I like to include photos with names in the slides, these 2 professors are going to be there at the event. It looks weird to ask them before the event, "can I use your photo in the ack. section of my talk?"

How to ask them for their consent in such a case?

The photos I used are on their public academic account.

  • 1
    Name a field? In mine people don't ask - that's what public pictures are for Jul 14 at 3:21
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    Why does it look weird to ask them? I don’t see what’s weird about it.
    – Dan Romik
    Jul 14 at 3:27
  • Maths @AzorAhai-him- Jul 14 at 3:41
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    FWIW, the professors probably do not hold the copyrights of those photos, but whoever took the photos does. So, from a legal perspective, they may not even be the right people to ask.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Jul 14 at 6:13

1 Answer 1


Usually, you are free to thank whomever you want to thank. An exception would be a passive-aggressive thank you that is not meant as a thank you but as a reprimand. Including people's pictures is quite common when mentioning people in a talk, whether you thank them or just mention them for their contribution to the field. As this is academic use and the pictures are on their respective sites to represent them to the world (and thus are approved by them), copyright issues do not need to concern you. Thus, you can go ahead without asking.

If you are asking, which is not quite as awkward as you make it out to be, you actually put them into a small bit of a quandary. If they say yes, they might feel that they are self-promoting. If they say no, they seem to be pricks. I personally would not ask, but just use the photos and stop overthinking this issue.

  • copyright issues do not need to concern you – It is not that simple: The default copyright holder of a portrait is the photographer, not the subject. The photographer probably has not completely transferred the copyright to the professors (if that is even possible in the respective legislation) – most often, there is no written agreement about this whatsoever. And even than, just that the professors post the picture on their website doesn’t mean that it’s free to use in this context (whether this is an academic use is disputable: you are not discussing their photos scientifically). […]
    – Wrzlprmft
    Jul 14 at 8:41
  • […] Mind that I am not saying, that you cannot make a good argument why copyright is not violated here or at least that one does not have to fear being successfully sued, but it’s not as simple as you depict.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Jul 14 at 8:45

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