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Standards & Guidelines for Internet Publishing

National Council Standards
Privacy and Youth Protection
Collecting Personal Information 
Providing Personal Information 
Photographs and Names
Web Site Content 
Content Sources 
Links to Other Web Sites 
Content and Links to Avoid 

Appendix A. Talent Release
Appendix B. Copyright Permission Examples


The VikingBSA Website (, hereafter referred to as "VikingBSA" will follow the BSA National guidelines for local council websites.  Much of the material contained within the VikingBSA guidelines are directly from the BSA National Standards.

VikingBSA is one of several "primary means" of delivering the Scouting program and information,  and is a major point of contact between the organization and the volunteers.  VikingBSA has developed its own applications of Internet and Web technology, and observes the rules and regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, as required by their charters.  The Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, No. 57-492, and the Charter and Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America, No. 57-491, provide the primary resources for these guidelines.  There are other guidelines issued by the National Council to provide more specific and detailed guidance. While the web is considered a primary means of disseminating information,  the VikingBSA website is designated to supplement existing correspondance, publishing and advertising by the Viking Council B.S.A. 


Representation:  While the National Council provides guidelines by which it will acknowledge local councils' sites and refer others to them, each of these sites is the product and representation of the local council, and as such is representative only of the council that maintains it.

National Council Standards: While local councils may establish their own policies concerning their use of the Internet, the term "approved council Web site" used in this document refers to any local council Web site the National Council determines to have followed the numbered guidelines below. The National Council will not acknowledge or provide links to any council site that does not meet these eight guidelines. The guidelines may be altered or amended to provide updated information, and councils will be notified when that happens.  VikingBSA conforms to these eight approval guidelines and was granted official approval on December 4, 2000.

  1. The council must have direct control over the content of its official Web site.

  2. The content of the council site must be appropriate to the Scouting movement. 

  3. The council site cannot contain links to any sites that contain material that is not appropriate to the Scouting movement.

  4. The council site cannot contain any advertisements or commercial endorsements. 

  5. The council site cannot engage in the electronic sale of BSA Supply Division merchandise or competing products. 

  6. The council site cannot replicate any BSA publication currently for sale through the Supply Division. 

  7. Council sites must abide by all laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property, and by those pertaining to the Internet. 

  8. Council sites must consider the safety and privacy of their members and participants by obtaining the necessary permissions to release information about or images of any individual. 

The information that follows supports these guidelines by providing more specific information on practices and procedures that may be implemented for producing and maintaining a site that successfully meets the guidelines. Additional information is presented that extends into areas that the guidelines do not address to cover topics and procedures that are advisable, but are not strictly required.

When considering whether to acknowledge or link to a local council Web site, the National Council does assess the council's Web site in comparison to the guidelines themselves (those given above) rather than any ancillary advice or recommendations (such as that which follows). 

Site Ownership: The council's membership and the general public regard a council's official Web site as an authorized publication of that council.   Because the council will be held accountable for the content of its site, the site should be wholly owned and controlled by the council.

Viking Council BSA has legal ownership of the domain name and site content, and the server space is provided by a commercial agreement between the Viking Council and the Internet service provider (ISP) that is currently hosting the site.  As of November 2002, ISP service is provided by Omnera Interactive.

Domain name: Viking Council BSA is the legal holder of the of the following proprietary domain names:

are registered, and the "registrant" on file with the InterNIC ( is the Viking Council. The "administrative contact" designated is the webmaster of the site as designated by Viking Council and the "technical contact" is designated as the technical support department of the current ISP.

Content: The content of the site is owned by VikingBSA and has a copyright statement on the site. In some situations, the VikingBSA has reproduced (with permission) material from other sources, but the site itself is owned by the Viking Council. The copyright statement "(c) 2002 Viking Council BSA" must appear at the bottom of each web page.

Site Administration: The administrative components of a Web site, namely its ownership and the process by which the content decisions are made, are not necessarily visually evident in the Web site itself.  The Viking Council retains final authority over all content decisions. 

Site Hosting: Viking Council has made commercial arrangements for Web site hosting. The Web site host has a written service agreement that guarantees the council complete control over the content of its site. These clauses are essential to maintaining reliable control over the council's Web presence.

It's worth noting that there are a number of services that offer "free" Web site hosting, but require sites they host to display banners and/or contain links to other member sites, whether within a page or in a separate window that pops open when the site is visited. These services are not appropriate for Council use and will not be allowed on VikingBSA.  Wherever possible, they should be avoided by all units within the council in favor of inexpensive alternatives that provide "no-banner" hosting.

Domain Registration: Viking Council BSA has registered its own domain names for the Web site, as this level of ownership is customary among organizations similar in size and prestige to a BSA council.  The registered domain name includes a top-level (.org & .com) preceded by a second-level domain name ( & 

The council may, at its own discretion, issue third-level splits on the domain (, to its own districts and/or facilities, or establish them for its own use, understanding that the Viking Council may be held accountable for the content of any site housed on a third-level split as if it were part of the council's own Web site, even though the content may not be hosted at the same location. The Viking Council is the only one authorized to issue these splits.

Control of Server Access: While it is common practice for volunteers to develop files and programs for VikingBSA, a professional employee of the council or their designee is in control the content of the Web site by maintaining administrative access (FTP, etc.) to the files on the Web server as well as to the programming  interface that provides the ability to add or edit content on the Web site and its services.

Control of Content: The Viking Council Web site is governed by the Viking Council Executive Board which includes both volunteer and professional Scouters, and this board or its appointed committee shall define the goals of the Web site and determine the content and resources that will be published in pursuit of those goals.

All materials destined for the council Web site are subject to review and approval by designated council professional staff before they are published.   At the very least, the council's Scout executive or public relations director,  should sign off on all overall content decisions before it is presented to the public as part of the VikingBSA site.  Reproduction of Viking Council printed program materials shall be deemed to be an acceptable source of pre-approved content.

District and Unit Web Sites: Guidelines for district and unit sites, and the decision as to whether districts and/or units may maintain officially representative sites at all, are completely at the discretion of the Viking Council. These sites are permitted, and if the Viking Council site provides links to them, they must be pre-screened prior to linking. The Viking Council will provide space for district to have web pages containing information applicable to supporting the district calendars, contact information, district-level marketing and service initiatives. The district will be subject to the same guidelines as the council. Guidelines and advice provided in this document is appropriate for districts and units as well. 

District Sites: The degree of a district's identity to membership and to the public is a the primary factor in deciding  to have provide separate areas/sites for each district.  The council will support its districts on VikingBSA, accommodating unique information for the districts (such as calendars, contact information, etc.) in the district pages.

The council will provide districts with "directory-level" Web sites (, so that districts may have a self-contained module of information that suits the needs and goals of the district, but the council will review and monitor the information published by its districts just as closely as any other information on the council site.  District sites are free to develop appropriate District-related content, but are expected to maintain the same "look and feel" as the overall site.

Unit Sites: Many units lack adequate resources to develop respectable and safe Web sites which can result in unit sites with safety and liability issues. The Viking Council will not endorse unit sites as officially representative of the council. The council will provide links to sites that provide content that is appropriate to the Scouting movement and will carry the following disclaimer on the link page. 

Disclaimer:  "Units as well as youth and adult members do not represent or serve as agents of the Boy Scouts of America or the Viking  Council BSA when disseminating information over the Internet."

Interactivity: In these guidelines, interactivity means direct communication via the Web site among Viking Council's personnel, its membership, and the public.

National Council Perspective: The National Council has chosen not to provide contact information on its Web site because usually it is more appropriate for people to contact their local council rather than the National Council.  Exceptions are made very rarely, on individual pages where under normal circumstances the content makes it appropriate for individuals to contact the National Council directly.

In contrast, local councils communicate directly and bilaterally with program participants, volunteers, and the general public through other media, and it would be is just as appropriate for the council to extend this practice to the Internet. The lack of interactivity on the National Council site should not be construed to imply a policy that applies to councils.

Audience Location and Council Boundaries: Due to the world-wide reach of the Internet, a local council can interact with the members of other councils and with the public outside its geographic domain. Communication across those boundaries could create or worsen problems between councils. Councils are advised to avoid Web site content and Internet communication that might affect another council adversely, such as taking resources (sales, financial or volunteer support) from other councils or "seeding" volunteer/professional disagreements over interpretation of council policies or practices that differ. There will be a disclaimer posted where the policies or practices are applicable to the Viking Council and may differ slightly from other councils due to size and/or resources available. 

To prevent such incidents from occurring, the Viking Council will determine the physical location of the other party and when appropriate, we will refer individuals to the appropriate local council.

Though a site visitor's location is not immediately evident, and technology provides no definite way to determine it, there are a few techniques that may be used to assist in determining the geographic locations of the Internet correspondents:

  • Any on-line form that enables the user to communicate back to the council can ask (even require) the visitor to give their city and state. 

  • A password may be provided to council members to ensure resources in one or more "restricted" areas are viewed and used only by the council's own members. 

  • In any dialogue (such as an e-mail exchange), it may be necessary to ask.

On-Line "Conversation": Chat and bulletin boards are forms of interactivity that will be prohibited from VikingBSA because they require dedicated resources to monitor and control them sufficiently.  These resources, while useful, represent a significant legal and public relations risk.

Chat Rooms: These are on-line forums in which users "converse" by typing messages to one another in real time. Recent advances have also made it possible to audio- or videoconference on the Internet. The first concern of the Viking Council is youth protection issues; also "chat" makes it impossible for the Viking Council to control the text content of the sites. Because conversations take place in real time, messages are immediately posted to the site for others to view. Also, because chat participants are anonymous, often there is much less discretion exercised than in most forms of conversation.

The public area of VikingBSA prohibit "live conversation" technology altogether. 

If it becomes appropriate to use VikingBSA capabilities for a special non-public or secure purpose, protective measures will be taken, such as:

  • the "chat" forum will be open only during a designated time period

  • the forum will be held in a secure area only.  Access to the forum will be restricted so that only those who have been given a password may participate 

  • an authorized moderator will stay online and eject participants that are not authorized 

  • software counter measures will censor speakers on-the-fly.

Guest Books: Guest book programs allow site visitors to leave a message, and are generally not a problem unless the log file (which contains all the comments visitors enter) is visible to the public. In that case, anyone can add text, graphics, and even programmatic components to the council's Web pages that will immediately be viewable to other visitors. If a guest book is used, the log file will be kept in a location that is not visible to other visitors, but which must be administratively downloaded using administrative tools. The council will then review the material before posting it to a publicly accessible interface.

Bulletin Boards and News Groups: These are a form of chat in slow motion: Users post messages and others may read and respond at a later time. Bulletin boards have the same inherent risks as chat, but since conversations do not occur in real time, there is opportunity for better moderation. Users may be allowed to send their remarks to a private section of the Web site, but the remarks will not be posted to the site for others to read until the Viking Council has approved the content for publication on the site.

Electronic Commerce: "Councils are prohibited from engaging in the sale of BSA Supply Division merchandise or competing products via the Internet."  This does not prevent the Viking Council from promoting their Scout shops or the merchandise they sell.

Electronic sales of items other than Supply Division merchandise or competing products is not prohibited. Viking Council reserves the right to engage in electronic commerce via a secure site within VikingBSA or a commercially available webstore front.


The Internet is perceived as a threat by some individuals, and they are vehemently opposed to having their images or personal information available to others. This perception is not unjustifiable, as demonstrated by periodic media coverage of predators who exploit the Internet to select, locate, and contact their victims.  See our Privacy Statement

Collecting Personal Information: The Viking Council will be discreet when collecting personal information via the Web sites. Privacy is a delicate issue on the Internet, and many people are reluctant to use sites or interfaces that require them to provide personal information such as their name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, etc. The Viking Council will avoid using the Internet to gather this information about users unless it is necessary to accomplish the user's goals. For example, we would have to request a telephone number and contact name from an organization that wishes to be contacted about starting a unit, but it is not be necessary that they provide this information merely in order to read information about starting a unit.

It is especially important to treat contact information carefully: contact information will be used only for the purpose for which it was provided. It is unethical and in some cases illegal to use this data for any solicitation or communication outside the context in which it was provided. The issue is particularly serious regarding contact information for children under 13.

Data may also be collected electronically via a practice called "cookies", which are web files that allow the host server and client to exchange bits of data to personalize a web visit.  At the current time, VikingBSA does not utilize this technology.

FTC Guidelines: The Federal Trade Commission recommends that charities and companies that collect personal information from online visitors use the following set of four standards-known as "fair information practices" in creating privacy policies to post on their Web sites:

  1. Notification. Visitors to the Web site should be notified as to what personal information is being gathered, how that information is used by the organization, and with what third parties, if any, the organization will share it. 

  2. Choice. Visitors should be provided with a means by which to contact the organization or take other actions to ensure that their personal information is not shared, if they so choose. 

  3. Security. Users of the site should be notified of the means by which the organization protects personal information, including protection from any misuse, alteration, or access by unauthorized users. Organizations should strive to ensure that the same level of privacy protection is extended by any third parties with whom they share individuals' personal information. 

  4. Access. Web site users should have reasonable access to any personal information about themselves that the organization holds, as well as a means of correcting or amending the information if it is inaccurate

Providing Personal Information: Regarding e-mail specifically, there remains the potential for a flood of correspondence to overwhelm the council staff if e-mail addresses are published on the Web site. The presence of e-mail addresses on a majority of council sites would seem to suggest that this potential has not become an actual problem, but the Viking Council will evaluate and publish this information in accordance to the demand and/or resulting utilzation of the resource.  There are current internal office limitations that do not justify publishing an entire directory of email and staff data.

Visitors using e-mail as the means of communication must recognize that they will not receive an immediate response. Incoming e-mail is not reviewed as frequently as voice-mail. Therefore visitors should use the most appropriate form of communication for the message and response. Contact information will only be published for a reason-specifically, whether there is a valid need for the members and/or the public to speak directly with a given individual because of that person's role in the organization. The council's policy addresses these three groups separately, for these reasons: 

Youth Participants and Parents: Contact information for youth participants will not be provided on the Internet. If the Viking Council maintains contact information for youth participants, these lists are kept entirely off-line.

The Viking Council recognizes that there are computer programs that crawl the Internet compiling lists of e-mail addresses that appear on Web pages. These lists are often sold to e-mail marketers who regularly send unsolicited advertisements, primarily for pornography and pyramid schemes. 

Adult Volunteers: Contact information for adult volunteers will be treated with caution, as it is likely this information will be personal in nature (home addresses, residential telephone numbers).  It is not the intent to provide this information on the VikingBSA web site.  If it becomes advisable to maintain this information, it will be provided in a password-protected area of the Web site to which the general public has no access. Exceptions may be made for those volunteers whom it would be necessary for third parties to contact in order to obtain information about joining, starting, or supporting individual units. 

This information will be published only after obtaining written authorization, and that the individuals can request the prompt removal of their information at any time by contacting the Webmaster.  Any adult volunteer that agrees to allow their email ID to be used on VikingBSA acknowledges that Viking Council is not responsible for the harvesting of such data from the VikingBSA site by outside parties.

Council Employees: Potential liability issues arise for the council as an employer if a third-party exploits information such as individual telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to harass or threaten employees.  For that reason,  the Viking Council provides only its main telephone number and generic e-mail addresses ("", "", "", etc.) on the site.

Personal contact information-home telephone numbers, addresses, and private e-mail accounts-for council employees will be treated with the same discretion as that of adult volunteers.

**** E-mail address links will be provided only with prior authorization and only for currently registered adult volunteers and professionals. It is recommended that a "free" e-mail account be established for scouting related correspondence.


**** Photographs and Names: While the Viking Council will publish photographs that they own or have received permission to reproduce, they will still obtain specific permission before using anyone's photograph on the Web site. (Permission of the adult subject or of a parent/guardian in the case of youth participants) .

This concern is separate from copyright ownership issues; the council may have the right to use the photograph on the Internet, but the person who is the subject of the photograph may be opposed to having their likeness on the Internet. And so, while obtaining specific permission for using an image on the Internet is not necessary to have the "right"" to do so, it is certainly a worthwhile consideration in order to maintain good relations with members.

In the case of a photograph where the person(s) in the image are not the specific subject of the photo or if the person is among a larger group of people, only a group or event would be named.  It would be impractical to attempt to identify all incidental people that may appear and VikingBSA will be responsive to any requests received to remove or crop someone from the photograph.

When using photographs of members, especially youth, it is also important to consider their safety and privacy when choosing captions or ancillary text. The VikingBSA policy is that there will only be the "first name, last initial" for youth under the age of 18. 


The content of council Web sites generally falls into two categories: marketing material presented to generate and direct public interest in joining or supporting programs, and service material presented for existing members. Both are valid and useful applications of Internet technology.

Non-Exclusivity: Though the Internet is a popular medium, and though its popularity continues to increase at an astounding rate, it's important to remember that it is not yet a universal medium. While the Viking Council's Web presence may support traditional channels of distributing information, it is not intended to replace them, and is treated as a secondary (rather than preferred or exclusive) channel of communication with members and volunteers.  As materials become more universally for posting on a Council level, the VikingBSA site may become a main distribution point.  VikingBSA will always note other means to obtain the same information, wherever possible.

Content Sources: It is important to know the original source of all council Web site content and to be sure the council has permission to use it. The only content the council owns outright are the text, photos, illustrations, design, and programming developed by the council's employees in the course of their jobs. Materials developed or programmed by volunteers that have been appointed to provide such material will also be considered property of Viking Council unless specifically agreed to otherwise, prior to delivery to Viking Council.  Permission must be given by the owner for using all other material.

National Council Publications: The National Boy Scouts of America has authorized local councils to reproduce the content of any BSA "bin resources" publication it feels is appropriate for the Web sites' audiences. However, councils may not replicate any part of any publication currently for sale through the Supply Division. The difference between "bin" and "supply" items may seem unclear for those items the council purchases but then redistributes without charge to its members. Item numbers provide a reliable method of differentiation: bin items have five-digit numbers separated with a hyphen (00-000) whereas Supply Division items have four or five digits (the first is typically a 3 or 4) that are not separated by a hyphen (0000 or 00000). (The item number is generally printed on the back cover or at the bottom of the contents page.)

Specific exceptions to this rule have been made so that approved council Web sites can link to certain Supply Division forms (medical forms, tour permits, certain applications, etc.) that are posted on the National Council site. Likewise, the Guide to Safe Scouting, a Supply Division item, has been approved for approved council Web site links. Such exceptions are rare, and generally focus on service to members through the local council.

Content of Boys' Life and Scouting magazines is not to be reproduced on the council Web site without first obtaining permission from the Magazine Division. Many articles and images are included in the magazines under limited license and copying them could violate copyright law. Councils may employ "frames" technology to include either magazine's pages from the National Council site into the council site, but should never copy any magazine files or text excerpts or images without explicit permission. 

VikingBSA employs a combination of links and "frames" to other sources, inclucing National BSA, and is in compliance with the standards described here.

Third-Party Material: If a council wishes to include any content (whether text, photographs, illustrations, design, or programming), that is not developed by council employees or by third parties under the terms of a contract or agreement with the council, it is important to obtain written permission from the owner of that material. Even if the material is owned by a volunteer or donor and is provided with the understanding it will be used in the council's site, written permission remains important.

In its simplest form, this written permission can be provided in a letter that explicitly states that the owner will permit the council (or the Boy Scouts of America) to use the material. It is also common to indicate the duration (dates) for which the permission is granted, the medium (media) in which the reproduction may occur, and any restrictions that may apply.

Materials from Other Web Sites: Reusing material found on the Internet is especially dangerous. It is all too common for amateur Web publishers to take copyrighted material and reproduce it on their own Web sites and say that it is "free" or "public domain." A written agreement is prudent, regardless of any explicit disclaimer on a Web site, before using any material downloaded from the Web. It is especially important to obtain permission in advance for materials used on the Internet. Unlike newsletters, which are distributed only to members, the Internet is available to the public, and it is inevitable that the owner will discover the use of their material on the Web site.

Photographs: For photographs taken by council personnel or by photographers hired by the council, a "talent release" should be obtained for every person shown in the photos. Appendix A is a talent release form similar to that used by the National Council. This particular release obtains permission for the Boy Scouts of America (the National Council, any local council, district, or unit) to use the image in any medium. It is especially important to obtain this release, with the signature of a guardian, for youth.

While obtaining the permission of the owner (photographer) of an image or obtaining talent releases for photographs taken by the council is adequate to satisfy ownership issues, it is also prudent to obtain the permission of the subject(s) specifically to use their likeness on the Internet. See "Photographs and Names" on page "Privacy and Youth Protection" for more detailed information.

Links to Other Web Sites: In general, VikingBSA is cautious about linking to other Web sites. A user may follow a link from the council's site to another, which links to another, and another ... and the chain of links may lead to a site that contains unacceptable content. Though experienced users recognize the ownership of Web pages, inexperienced ones may feel the council is culpable for content they are exposed to after clicking links that lead them several sites removed from the council's site.

The safest course of action would be not to link at all. At the very least, the Viking Council will review any site to which it provides a link to ensure its content is appropriate to the Scouting movement, and is prepared to delete links in a timely manner in the event the content of these sites changes.

Another significant implication about links is that a link to a third-party site implies an endorsement. It will be assumed that the council endorses the content for use by its audience, which is primarily composed of its membership. For this reason, the VikingBSA will be especially cautious about making links to any outside site.

National Council Web site: The Viking Council will provide a link to the National Council site but the VikingBSA site is the primary source of information, in every medium, to individuals in this geographic area.

Unit Sites: The link to a unit site could imply that the council has authorized that unit site and that it is officially representative. Obviously, this is not the case and we will post disclaimer on any page that contains a link.  While these links may be made, the VikingBSA will review these sites before providing a link and will monitor the sites periodically.

Third-Party "Scouting" Sites: There are numerous Scouting-oriented sites on the Internet that are not maintained or authorized by the BSA. These sites provide a wealth of general-interest information on topics of interest to members and program participants (camping, games, songs and skits, crafts, etc.). Some of these sites also provide information such as program helps, advice for leaders, requirements, procedures, forms, publications, ceremonies, and other resources that would seem to be of an official nature, but which are not authorized by the BSA. In some cases, this information is misleading or incorrect, and could cause conflict with members who refer to unofficial sources the council "endorsed."

Worse, these sites may suggest activities that are unacceptable or unsafe by BSA standards, causing potential liabilities for a council that "authorized" (by linking to) the site for use by its members. The following disclaimer will be made anytime that there is a link to a third-party "scouting" site: "The following link(s) are provided for information purposes and are not endorsed by the Viking Council or VikingBSA. In some cases, the information provided may be out of date, misleading or incorrect."

Third-Party Commercial Sites: While many commercial sites provide valuable information of a non-commercial nature, the VikingBSA  should show extreme caution when linking to these sites to avoid the impression that the council is endorsing commercial products or services. Annotation often makes the difference, as in this example: A link to (the XYZ Boot Company's home page) appears to be a commercial endorsement. If the sentence "The XYZ Boot Company provides excellent advice for avoiding hiking injuries," and then linked directly to the page about avoiding hiking injuries, you clarify that the council endorses the information the company is providing rather than the product it is selling. The following disclaimer will be made when linking to a third-party commercial site: "The following link(s) are provided for information purposes and are not endorsed by the Viking Council."

Current VikingBSA policy is that we will not ink to any third party commercial sites.  This is presently the safest way to manage the exposure and there is no overwheming need to do so.  The exception to this is where a program component that is essential to the software operation of VikingBSA launches such a connection to enable the page to operate.

Content and Links to Avoid

Advertisements and Banners: Councils are prohibited from endorsing commercial products or services in any medium, including the Internet. Banner advertisements for commercial products and services are thus inappropriate for council Web sites. (NOTE: any use of the Internet for fund-raising is subject to the same policies and procedures as other fund-raising activities.)

Another popular type of banner on the Internet provides site owners with free promotion on other Web sites in exchange for promoting other sites on theirs. Though not strictly a commercial endorsement, these banners remain unacceptable because they provide a highly visible link from the council site to others, and the council does not control either the graphic that is displayed or the site to which it links - one or both may be patently inappropriate.

Web Site Awards and Certification: There are a number of Web sites that offer "awards" or "certification" for other sites. These awards/certifications often require the honoree to display an URL or provide a click-through link that promotes the grantor's site. In many cases, such "honors" are ploys to draw traffic to other sections of the grantor's site, with a commercial or political motive. VikingBSA does not allow this type of posting on its site.

Appendix A - Talent Release

I hereby assign and grant to the Boy Scouts of America the right and permission to use and publish the photographs/film/video tapes/electronic representations and/or sound recordings made of me this date by the Boy Scouts of America, and I hereby release the Boy Scouts of America from any and all liability from such use and publication.

I hereby authorize the reproduction, sale, copyright, exhibit, broadcast, electronic storage and/or distribution of said photographs/film/video tapes/electronic representations and/or sound recordings without limitation at the discretion of the Boy Scouts of America and I specifically waive any right to any compensation I may have for any of the foregoing.

Top of Form



City, State ZIP:

Phone number:

Photo session date:

BSA Council/Unit Number:




(if subject is younger than 18)

Appendix B - Copyright Permission Examples

Obtaining the right to republish material (illustrations, photographs, multimedia, text, etc.) from other original sources is usually fairly easy: Send a letter to the owner of that material requesting permission. The letter's tone may be formal or informal, but it should contain these elements:

  • A specific description of the material 

  • A print-out or photocopy if applicable 

  • The specific purpose(s) for which it will be used 

  • When or how many times you plan to use it, if that might be an issue

If the request is not on council letterhead, it would also be important to indicate that permission is being sought for the council to use the material, rather than for the individual author of the letter to use the material.

It is important to understand that you do not have the right to use these materials until you receive a reply from the owner that grants permission. Also, if the owner sets any conditions or limitations, you must abide by them. For example: if the owner granted permission for the request in Example B below, but asked to be notified by e-mail of the URL of any unit site that also used the images, you would be required, as a condition of having the right to use the material, to send those notifications. Or permission might be granted only for a limited time, after which you could not use the material.

Finally, keep a copy of your request, along with the reply, on file just in case there is ever a dispute.

Example A. Simple Request
I am seeking your approval for the XYZ Council of the Boy Scouts of America to use three photographs of mountains and a lake from your Web site at I would also like to use the descriptive text that accompanies them. I've attached print-outs from the site to indicate the precise images and text to which I'm referring.

I would like to use these images on the "outdoor skills" page of the VikingBSA Web site (

Example B. Request for Multiple and Unlimited Uses

I am seeking your approval for the Viking Council of the Boy Scouts of America to use an illustration from page 34 of Teaching Archery (Doe, John. Teaching Archery, XYZ Press, 2000). The illustration depicts a young man stringing a bow. I've attached a photocopy to show the image to which I'm referring.

If you can grant the council permission for unlimited use of the illustration, we would use it in several ways: (1) I'd like to place it on the "outdoor skills" page of the Viking Council's Web site ( (2) Since some of our packs and troops use images from the VikingBSA site, I hope it would also be acceptable for them to use this image as well. (3) We would like permission to use the photograph in a booklet on the outdoor skills areas of our council camp. The booklet will be given free of charge to our members. We will include an acknowledgement in the form you prefer with each use of the illustration and we will be happy to pay postage costs and reproduction costs, if any, for a print-quality copy of the drawing.

These Viking Council/VikingBSA standards are originally adapted from the Boy Scouts of America National Council Web site,   and are used as reference for developing the VikingBSA standards.   Materials from numerous other councils were also used to compile this total document.

Viking Council Web Information and Resources


The web site is a legacy site of the Viking Council BSA, now Northern Star Council.  
This site was the original council site and was active from 1996 to 2002 and run by volunteers.  As the web became more important to Scouting, the council took over with paid staff.  This site is no longer maintained but is an interesting snapshot of an early Scouting web site.    You can share your comments
using our on-line form or send a message to the Webmaster.   Thank you for visiting!


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Last Update May 15, 2023