By Anne Katz, PhD, RN, FAAN
Have you ever been at a conference and noticed audience inflatable floating water park members taking photos of the slides on the screen? Perhaps you have even done it…
Please, please, please stop!
Why is this so important? The information on the slides belongs to the presenters. They have not given you permission to photograph (i.e., copy) the information on the slide. They may be presenting findings from a study that has not yet undergone peer review. They may be presenting about a paper or a book they have written, and the information may be copyrighted to the publisher.
ONS publishes an abbreviated version of presenter slides and/or objectives online, which give attendees a “skeleton” to save or print out and bring to Congress sessions. You can make additional notes and comments for your personal use, but you can’t use them for any purpose other than your own information.
I am writing this from the perspective of a nurse author and frequent presenter. I put a lot of work into my presentations, and it is distracting to see smartphones and tablets above the heads of the audience. I know that the people are more focused on taking a good photo rather than listening to me. I am also concerned that people are going to use my slides for presentations of their own. What I include in my presentations is my intellectual property—and I have a right to decide what information I am prepared to share and what I am not.
So when you’re sitting in a session, think before you shoot. Listen instead of focusing your camera screen. And remember that if you want the slides, you can ask the presenter for a copy and let him/her decide what they are willing to share.