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  1. #1
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    Laws concerning photos.

    Hey!

    I'm wondering .. is there any "book of photography and legalities" somewhere? I'd like to know stuff like; Can I photograph people without their prior consent? Can I photograph public workers (police men, firefighters, etc.) during their work? Can I photograph celebrities without their prior consent? Can I photograph buildings without the owner's approval?

    So on and so forth.

    Thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
    KmH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    Hey!

    I'm wondering .. is there any "book of photography and legalities" somewhere? I'd like to know stuff like; Can I photograph people without their prior consent? Can I photograph public workers (police men, firefighters, etc.) during their work? Can I photograph celebrities without their prior consent? Can I photograph buildings without the owner's approval?

    So on and so forth.

    Thanks in advance!
    You need to look at this, copy it and keep at least 1 with you whenever you are out making images times.

    Question #1. Yes, you can. But only if they are in public.
    Question #2. Yes, you can. You cannot impead their work or get in the way.
    Question #3. Yes, you can if they are in public.
    Question #4. Yes, you can. What you might do with the image later could be questionable. You can make images of the Eiffel tower and sell them where ever you want whenever you want. Make those same images at night and you have to have permission from the proper french authorities to sell them.

    I recommend also reading THIS.

    You might find this court case interesting.

    A worthy subject to become well versed on.
    . . . . . . Keith . . . . . . .How Do I Use My Digital SLR?...

    * * * * * * * * * * A photograph is a roughly approximate 2-D interpretation of a 3-D reality. * * * * * * * * * *

  3. #3
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    Such a great response, thank you so much KmH.

    Just to make sure; Are you 100% sure and certain I can, according to the Canadian law, take pictures of -anyone- on the street/park/mall? Regardless of age? (Although I'm a teen myself, taking pictures of kids in the park shouldn't give out a too suspicious vibe. )

    I keep seeing people doing priceless stuff/with priceless reactions/in memorable situations but always feel awkward snapping a picture of the moment; what if they complain? What if they tell me they don't want me to take their picture? Can I sell a picture of people if the people didn't approve to it?

    Anyways, I'll read the two links you gave me, thanks a lot. :]
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  4. #4
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    Remember that laws can differ depending on where you are. If you are in France for example, the law might be different. So if on a trip, its wise to do some research about photo laws
    --Pierre

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    "If your picture isn't good enough, you're not close enough."
    - Robert Capa
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  5. #5
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    Thanks bigtwinky, that's good advice.

    As for KmH, I've printed and read all these documents and read them in the bus on my way to college. :P

    It's pretty interesting and clarifying, however now I'm worried about Queebc laws. Anyone would know where I can find more information? Apparently the laws in Quebec/Montreal may or may not be different, I can't seem to find any concrete information concerning the subject and since I intend to do some street photography soon (specifically tomorrow too), I'd appreciate any hints or tips concerning the matter. ^^;

    Thanks in advance.
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  6. #6
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    Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I think that no matter where you are, you are required to have a model release form if you plan on selling the image or using it for promotion.

    In Quebec and France (which are both under a Napoleonic code), you require permission by the subject if the picture will be seen by the public, unless its a newsworthy event or a crowd. Essentially, the law states that no matter where you are, you are the owner of your own image while the rest of the world considers the photographer the owner of the image.

    Here is an interesting write up from a local newspaper about a guy crusading against this

    So you got one of those newfangled digital cameras and you've gone snaphappy, shooting photos of friends, relatives, strangers, pedestrians, squirrels, buildings, trees and fellow party animals. Then you send them around or pop them up on a Web site.
    You might consider slowing down.

    Little known fact about life in Quebec: if you don't have official permission from the people who appear in your photos, they can sue you for making such images public. And that applies even if you were to e-mail the picture to a few friends, or put it on a little-frequented Web site.
    Quebec is the only place in North America where photographers are required to get permission from the subjects of photographs that will be presented to the public. The only situations where such a permission is not mandatory is when the photo is of a crowd, if it's considered legitimate news or considered to be in the public interest.

    The rule is being strongly criticized, especially by veteran local photographer Gilbert Duclos, who describes the legal requirement as "imbecilic." He's presently touring with his 2005 documentary, La Rue Zone Interdite (This Street Off Limits), about the harm the rule is doing. Appearing in the film are photographers, including Roger Lemoyne, Yves Beaulieu and Marc Riboud, jurists, including former Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Lamer and Duclos' lawyer Viviane de Kinder, and journalists like Robert Ménard, founder of Reporters sans frontières.

    Lens and law
    Duclos has a pretty good idea about the issue. It was his 1988 photo of Pascale-Claude Aubry, then 17, wearing a black sweater and sporting cropped bleached hair sitting at the entrance of a downtown Scotiabank that led to the law. Duclos donated the photo to a small, now-defunct literary magazine Vice-Versa, which used the image on its cover.

    Aubry - who hadn't given permission for the shot - claimed that the photo led people to "laugh" at her. She demanded $10,000 in compensation. Duclos offered an amount of "what I would have paid a model." She refused and sued, with the case going all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
    Aubry won. In 1998 the Supreme Court ordered Duclos to pay Aubry $2,000. More importantly, the court issued the edict that henceforth, publishing an unauthorized photo of somebody violates Quebec law.

    "I denounce that decision," says Duclos. "I find it so stupid. I was in shock when it was announced. I never thought I'd lose. For years after that, I stopped doing photos in Montreal. Other photographers tell me, ‘Gilbert, since your judgement, it's hell shooting here.' They all feel that they can't do anything because they have to ask permission all day."

    Duclos believes the decision violates artistic expression and damages the future historical record of our era. "The whole story of street photography is based on images taken on the street without permission," he says. "The most beautiful photos are taken on the street just like that. When you ask permission, it's no longer natural. I feel that if the photo is degrading, then I can understand people objecting, but if it's somebody walking on the street eating an ice cream on a hot day or something, then it's not defamatory, there's nothing wrong with it."

    Duclos's documentary was most recently screened in June at a photography conference in Prague. It will appear at the Ex-Centris theatre on Sept. 9 (in French).

    He tried to interview Aubry for the documentary, without luck. He blurs out the forbidden photo of her in his film.

    Watch what you shoot
    Duclos blames the limitation on shutterbugs on the French Civil Code, which prevails in Quebec over common law, practiced elsewhere in North America. "The right to [one's own] image is an invention of French law," he says. "I made the film to show the stupidity of that notion."

    But media lawyer Mark Bantey - another opponent of the photo restrictions - argues that a complaint made in another province would likely lead to the same restrictions applying there. "Right now it only applies to Quebec Civil Law, but I'm convinced that it will creep across the rest of Canada," he says. "I'm surprised it hasn't happened already, but I'm sure one day it will."
    Nowadays, he says, people whose image appears in a paper without their permission - even when it's an image of a crowd shot or news report - are calling up media outlets to complain, asking for a payoff. "It has become a cottage industry," says Bantey.

    Duclos doesn't see any immediate solution. The Supreme Court could overturn its own decision, but he doubts that will happen soon. "The danger is that it leads to self-censorship," he says. "If I can't publish my images, I'm not sure I still want to do photography. The decision goes against the whole tradition of photography."
    Acticle found here Montreal Mirror : The Front Page : Privacy
    --Pierre

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    "If your picture isn't good enough, you're not close enough."
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    Hey!

    I'm wondering .. is there any "book of photography and legalities" somewhere? I'd like to know stuff like; Can I photograph people without their prior consent? Can I photograph public workers (police men, firefighters, etc.) during their work? Can I photograph celebrities without their prior consent? Can I photograph buildings without the owner's approval?

    So on and so forth.

    Thanks in advance!
    Question 1: Yes, you can with few exceptions such as in washrooms, change rooms etc.

    Question 2: Yes, you can, as long as you are not interfering with their work.

    Question 3: With celebs, yes, but there is a move to change that. The proposed change is that celebs have a right to privacy in their daily activities removed from shows, performances, professional appearances etc.

    Question 4: Buildings: You can still take a photo of a copyrighted building since photography does not violate a building copyright. The Eiffel Tower affair is questionable from a legal point of view, since the issue is over the light display which is NOT copyrightable since it does not have permanent form and substance which is necessary for copyright to apply.

    Read my article on Photography and The Law in the articles section above.

    skieur

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigtwinky View Post
    Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I think that no matter where you are, you are required to have a model release form if you plan on selling the image or using it for promotion.

    In Quebec and France (which are both under a Napoleonic code), you require permission by the subject if the picture will be seen by the public, unless its a newsworthy event or a crowd. Essentially, the law states that no matter where you are, you are the owner of your own image while the rest of the world considers the photographer the owner of the image.

    Here is an interesting write up from a local newspaper about a guy crusading against this

    Acticle found here Montreal Mirror : The Front Page : Privacy
    Wow, I truly HOPE you are wrong, otherwise farewell street photographing in Quebec. :/
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  9. #9
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    Some of us still do it, and you are usually fine. You can still take a picture if you want, as long as you are on public grounds, you are defaming the person. You simply cannot DO anything with that picture.... no publishing, no emailing, no flickring, no posting it on your website,...

    And of course, rules are made to be broken, you jsut have to suffer the consequence if you do
    --Pierre

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    - Robert Capa
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  10. #10
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    So if someone intercepts me, I can politely explain that it's not illegal to take the picture and that I won't publish, sell or share it with anyone?
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  11. #11
    Been spending a lot of time on here!
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    The best information is on www.danheller.com
    He has TONS of resources regarding this topic along with published books regarding it.

  12. #12
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    Thanks davison, I'll check it out.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    So if someone intercepts me, I can politely explain that it's not illegal to take the picture and that I won't publish, sell or share it with anyone?
    As long as you are standing on public property, aren't impeding cops and the like, aren't taking pictures that defame / mock / ridicule someone, you are fine. Pictures of airports and the montreal subway system are not allowed

    I'm always careful about children though.

    I've been warned a few times that I was on private property as I was shooting something and kept moving around and ended up off the sidewalk and onto the business' property, so I just moved back to the sidewalk.
    --Pierre

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    "If your picture isn't good enough, you're not close enough."
    - Robert Capa
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